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Jul 26, 2010 2:05 PM by Letitia Walker

American Idol in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Ashley Taylor knows the drill. In her third

shot at TV stardom, the 27-year-old LaRose, La., resident stood

serenely amid the nervous twitter of thousands of American Idol

hopefuls lined up for auditions Monday.

"I'm not nervous at all this time," the petit blond said. "I

am just concentrated on what I have to do to stand out. I know the

drill now."

Taylor made it to the fourth round in her last audition.

Taylor's husband, Joshua, a commercial fisherman who has been

out of work because of the BP oil spill, stood beside her holding a

sign saying the oil spill had killed their way of life, "please

don't kill Ashley's dream."

For many of the thousands lined up around the Superdome, their

only touch of fame came early as television crews and American Idol

cameras worked the crowd.

Courtney Jovan, 22, who had been standing where the line formed

since midnight, traveled from Ft. Walton, Fla., to audition. Before

she got inside a television crew had her belt out several verses of

Chrisette Michele's "Blame it on Me" for their morning show.

"I have been singing all my life," Jovan said. "It's just in

me."

Mardi Gras masks were popular with the would-be stars.

Autumn Jones, 18, who drove 10 hours from Boiling Springs, S.C.

for the auditions, wore purple and silver mask and beads.

"Purple is my favorite color," said Jones, who planned to sing

"Purple Rain."

More than 6,000 people had registered to audition by 6 a.m.,

said supervising producer Patrick Lynn.

"We don't have a quota," Lynn said. "But probably about 100

people will move on from here."

The last time American Idol held auditions in New Orleans was

just before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Lynn said.

All contestants would get a chance to audition, Lynn said.

Producers would decide who returned for a second round of auditions

later, which is judged by executive producers.

The show's main judges - including Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi

and Ellen DeGeneres - visit during a third round, which is expected

in late August or September.

Talent was everywhere, Cody Joe Tillman, of Dallas said.

Tillman, who made it to the third round of "America's Got

Talent," said the song is not as important as people think.

"The main thing you need to know is how to play the game,"

Tillman said. "You gotta given them all the stuff they want

besides the song."

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