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It's Cleveland, latest gateway to 'Idol' fame

August 04, 2004|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND, Ohio — In the line wrapped around Cleveland Browns Stadium on Tuesday, there were thousands of pop-star dreams.

There was Antonio Crane, 27, who drove eight hours from Wisconsin for a chance to audition for the reality television show "American Idol." And Lindsay Creaney, 21, who traveled from New Jersey for her shot at instant fame.

An estimated 15,000 hopefuls began arriving at 6 a.m. and planned to sleep out all night for a shot at tryouts Wednesday morning. Cleveland is the first city in the country to host auditions for the Fox show's fourth season.

As the day wore on, and as temperatures climbed into the high 80s, "Idol" hopefuls shaded themselves with umbrellas and waved fans while sitting on the heat-baked concrete outside the stadium. They were armed with playing cards, bottled water and sleeping bags.

Auditions were set to begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"It's worth every minute of it," said Crane, who arrived in Cleveland on Monday.

The first person in line was Levi Morse, 17, of Gladwin, Mich. He managed his feat by knowing the correct place to stand; others had lined up at the wrong gate.

His mother, Shelley Morse, said she had to get time off from each of her three jobs to accompany her son to the auditions. Participants younger than 18 must have a legal guardian with them.

"He's going to be the next American Idol," she said.

"Idol" producers will decide who in the crowd will report to a second round of tryouts Thursday. Then executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick will pick who auditions for judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on Aug. 14-15 at a city hotel.

The celebrity trio will decide who gets to go to the Hollywood phase of the auditions, where a dozen finalists are subjected to audience telephone votes.

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