American Idol auditions begin at AT&T Park


Spontaneous outbursts of singing and guitar strumming filled the plaza in front of AT&T Park's Lefty O'Doul gate this morning as the "Idol" hopefuls waited for their chances to sing inside.

To stand out among the candidates, Jessica Bryant, who auditioned for "American Idol" last year, used memorable attire at this year's audition.

"You go in there and be yourself," said 17-year-old Jessica Bryant, of Diamond Park, California.

For the occasion, Bryant donned a white floppy hat, a white T-shirt, and carried a poster crammed with well wishes from her friends back home scrawled into every inch of white space.

The sleep-deprived Bryant said she caught her "third or fourth wind" in time for her audition.

She performed the 1975 hit, "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain and Tennille, drawing inspiration from her mother's music collection.

"I was more nerve wracked than she was," said her mother, who was with Bryant at the auditions.

Despite not making the cut this year, Bryant said she was "pumped" from her experience and is already looking forward to next season's auditions.

"You go in with high hopes and do your best," Bryant said. "It's no big deal."

Singing could be heard echoing off the concrete beneath the bleachers as one hopeful warmed up before her second audition of the day.

There were three rounds of auditions today designed to whittle down the crowd to a fortunate few.

Candidates filled entire sections of the ballpark's lower level and funneled into the audition area in groups of four to be critiqued by one or two judges sitting at one of 10 tables.

Those who made the cut were given a piece of yellow paper, the so-called "golden ticket," and then huddled together in the dugout to await round two.

Many made a graceful exit after being rejected, even though to walk along a barricaded corridor was dubbed the "Walk of Shame." There were also a few choked sobs.

Rejected candidates seemed certain their talent would not go unnoticed despite not being the right fit for the show's 10th season.

Some said the eliminations were based purely on image and style.

"Only if you were a big weirdo, a spectacle for the show, or really young did you have a shot," said Frank Seijas, 25, of Whittier, who sang, "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke.

"It was charisma based, all the kind of people who would be good for TV," added Seijas' friend, Cory Livings, 18, of Lake Forest, who also provided moral support for his auditioning sister.

"There was just a lot of talent that was passed up," his sister Jaime said.

She sang "Speechless" by Lady Gaga but remained out in the sun near the Third Street Bridge while those advancing to the second round of auditions stood on the ballpark's second level.

One of the first to sing -- and also one of the first to get the boot -- was Alexandria Mazerolle, 19, of Marysville in Yuba County. Mazerolle auditioned at Cow Palace two years ago and had to stand before the same judge at this year's audition.

"Honestly, I do not know what they are looking for," she said. "I just wish I hadn't gotten the same judge because he obviously didn't like my singing the first time."

Mazerolle said she planned to linger outside the ballpark to find out how others fared. She stood sipping a Diet Pepsi for a much-needed caffeine jolt after pulling an all-nighter.

"You build relationships and friendships here," she said. "Either way, if they make it or not, it's comforting to know you're not alone."

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