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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2003

'Idol 3' auditions plan September stop in state

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Tune up the vocal pipes and brace for the hysteria:

'American Idol 3'

• Who's eligible: U.S. residents, ages 16 to 24 (as of Aug. 3); ineligible if you have talent representation (agent or manager), a recording contract, a merchandising agreement or any other previous contractual arrangement.

• Audition dates and sites: Sept. 28-30 at Aloha Stadium, Oct. 1-5 at the Sheraton Waikiki. Details on lineups Sept. 28-29 will be announced; Sept. 30 call only for those selected the previous two days. Hanohano Room will be the site of final judging Oct. 4-5.

• What to bring: Two forms of ID that show proof of age and a photograph (birth certificate, passport, school ID card); if under 18, parent or guardian must be present.

• Attire: Do not wear clothing that reveals tattoos, or clothing bearing designer, sports or other brand-name logos, or name or likeness of celebrities living or dead.

• Audition song: Be prepared to sing a cappella (without music); those called back may be asked to sing two tunes a cappella, with one tune selected from a list that will be provided by producers.

• Rules: Contestants must be in line by 8 a.m. on first audition day, but there is no guarantee that you will be seen for an audition; because of anticipated crowd, do not bring more than two people with you to the auditions. Overnight camping not allowed; those who cut in line will be disqualified.

• Wristbands: Identifying wristbands will be issued; they cannot be transferred to another person; misuse will result in disqualification.

• Paperwork: Contractual forms will be required; they will be available on site or at the Web site, www.idolonfox.com.

— Source: idolonfox.com

"American Idol 3" is coming to Hawai'i for auditions Sept. 28-30 at Aloha Stadium, with the elimination process Oct. 1-5 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

"We are hugely happy to be coming to Hawai'i," said David Goffin, supervising producer for the FOX TV show, who was here two weeks ago to finalize plans. "We have a huge fan base in Hawai'i, and high vote tallies. It's about time we came."

Goffin, who said the formal announcement of the Hawai'i auditions was made to a national TV audience last night on the spin-off "American Juniors" talent show, said he expected huge throngs not only from the Islands, but from abroad.

"This will be our last auditions for the new season, starting up in January 2004," he said. "Because the show is a dream for most people, who see it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing, they traditionally drive from one city to the next just to try and try again. For Hawai'i, I suspect they'll get on the plane and make it to Honolulu. I'm truly amazed by the rapid fan, and audition, base."

Goffin said Honolulu won out over Miami, because of cooperation from the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau. "They all worked hard to make it work out for us," he said. "They did the legwork; they helped with scouting. We might have been in Miami Beach, but we'd rather be in Hawai'i."

Honolulu will be the final audition destination. Talent searches also will be held Aug. 3 in Los Angeles, Aug. 13 in Houston, Aug. 20 in Atlanta and Aug. 25 in New York.

" 'American Idol' has become a cultural icon and we felt that having Hawai'i involved in a prime-time network television show as exciting as this would help focus national attention to the Islands," said Les Enderton, HVCB interim president and CEO, in a written statement. The HVCB is not paying production or licensing fees in this venture.

"They helped us see the value of being in Hawai'i and they've really made it happen," Goffin said.

The show averaged more than 21 million viewers per episode in its second season earlier this year and has drawn emphatic and loyal supporters in the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographics. In May, 38 million viewers watched the final episode, when Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken to become the reigning "American Idol."

Hawai'i's Jordan Segundo, who was one of 32 finalists before the elimination process, has emerged as a hometown star, reflecting the appeal and popularity of "Idol." He works for KHON-2, doing on-camera reports, for the FOX affiliate.

Details are being worked out to facilitate the lineups at Aloha Stadium. The expected timetable will include two days of preliminary lineups, Sept. 28 and 29, when producers work the line and handpick likely candidates in the parking lot. Those selected will appear in another tier of auditions, on the stadium field, on Sept. 30.

"I work the show, from auditions to the finals," Goffin said. Traditionally, candidates are often selected based on personality and charisma, with talent becoming a factor when they face judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, in closed-to-the-public sing-outs Oct. 4 and 5 at the Hanohano Room of the Sheraton Waikiki. A preliminary round also will be held Oct. 1-3 at the Sheraton, site to be announced.

The three judges will be situated at the left window of the penthouse restaurant, with the panorama of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach in the background.

"Oh, we're gonna sure let people know that we're in Hawai'i, not Detroit," Goffin said.

He said that "Idol" will have a crew of "at least 40 people coming over, plus the VIPs and judges. And we expect to hire between 50 and 60 locals to work the week."

The show's third season is expected to be launched the week of Jan. 19, Goffin said. "The audition shows this year are not part of the ratings period," he said, referring to the February Nielsen sweeps, when "Idol" will be in the midst of its weekly runoffs.

Hawaiian Airlines and the Sheraton Hotels are partnering in the "Idol" shoots. Keith Vieira, senior vice president and director of operations for Starwood Hotels (which operates the Sheraton for owners Kyo-ya Company Ltd.), said Kyo-ya was committed to supporting the visit "as they realize the importance to our community in promoting our destination."

Said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, "It's good fun for the state to be involved in something like this that has clearly resonated with people all over the country and in Hawai'i."

Besides being an audience favorite, "American Idol" also has been named Program of the Year by the Television Critics Association.

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, 525-8067 or fax 525-8055.