Jordan Le, 22, came from San Diego for her fourth time auditioning for the show. This time, she credits the motivation from her 3-year-old daughter to getting her through. "I kind of took a personal because I had never made it so I was really determined," she says. "And then there you go, I did it."
Dominic Geges' performance of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" went over well with the judges. "Then they told me to sing another song, and I did not do good on it," says the 16-year-old from Idyllwild. "I knew right after I sang it, because it was high and I cracked. I knew. It was done after that."
American Idol auditions are back in Los Angeles, and this time they're taking place at Dodger Stadium. It's this year's first set of auditions, kicking off the 2013 edition of the long-running series, which debuted in 2002.
About 2,500 Idol hopefuls started lining up at 5 a.m. Thursday morning after registering earlier in the week. They eventually began being led into the stadium around 8 a.m. as they attempted to get onto American Idol Season 12.
Once inside, the singers (and other Idol oddities) were led in a series of cheers for the camera, and out came Ryan Seacrest to address the eager crowd.
Contestant Devyn Prynce, 25, made it past the first round to a second audition. He made it four rounds deep in Season 10, and has been working on recording and playing music since.
"I don't really have a hometown at the moment," Prynce said. "I graduated college in New Jersey and I drove out here a couple of weeks ago to chase my dream, and I am currently homeless and I live in my car. You only get this chance sometimes once in a lifetime. Now it's up to me. I have to prepare for that next round."
He moved to L.A. from New Jersey to pursue music, acting and modeling. He played football all his life, but he discovered that he had a singing voice two years ago.
"This is a huge turnaround," Prynce said. "This is a dream come true. I mean, I can't ask for anything more."
The Idol auditions are an open call, taking place at various locations around the country each year as young singers (there's an upper age limit of 28) try to grab their dreams — or at least a little TV time.
Jordan Le, 22, came to audition from San Diego. Jordan sang "If I Ain't Got You," made famous by Alicia Keys. It's Jordan's fourth time auditioning and first time making it past the first round.
"It was nerve wracking, but it was all worth it," Le said. "They tried to build up my confidence for the next round, so they gave me a lot of pointers, so it was helpful."
Le has a 3-year-old daughter. "I had my daughter's motivation," Le said. "I kind of took it personal, because I had never made it, so I was really determined. And then there you go — I did it."
Harrison Tinsley, 20, also made it; unlike the others, it was his first time auditioning.
"I just went all out, and kind of pretended that no one was there, and it worked out."
He sang "Yellow" by Coldplay.
"I'm going to practice singing, do that every day, and just sing my heart out when I get the chance and hope that I make it."
One of Idol's dirty little secrets: While you see the crowds on TV, you don't see the singing from this round. The best — and worst — move on to another round auditioning in front of executive producers, before the third round where they can potentially sing for the show's official TV judges, which is where they start on the TV show.
It wasn't all success stories. Hailey Hill, 16 years old from L.A., didn't make it. It was her first time auditioning for the show, or for anything big. She doesn't actually watch "American Idol," but she was encouraged by her family to give it a shot.
Hill left with her head still held high. "It didn't disappoint me," Hill said. "I kind of expected a little bit more chaos."
Dominic Geges, another 16-year-old, also didn't make it. He started out singing "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash.
"It was going good in the beginning," said Geges. "I felt good on that song. They liked it a lot. Then they told me to sing another song, and I did not do good on it. I knew right after I sang it, because it was high and I cracked. I knew. It was done after that."
It was Dominic's second time auditioning, after doing it last year in San Diego; Geges lives in Idyllwild. No need to fear though — he's got another 12 chances to come back before hitting his Idol age limit.
It's the seventh time auditions have been held in Los Angeles. The last time was in September 2010 at the Forum in Inglewood, though there were also auditions last year in San Diego.
"Hollywood Week," where the contestants who make it through audition again in front of the celebrity judges, usually occurs at the Pasadena Civic Center in the fall, before the regular season episodes move on to CBS Television City. The finals take place at the building formerly known as the Kodak Theatre.
Los Angeles is also the home of past Idol contestants like Katharine McPhee (of "Smash" fame), Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta and Andrew Garcia.
The show returns to the Fox airwaves in January 2013.