'Idol' Wannabes Reach for the Stars

James Pequignot battled heat and humidity, camped out all night at a football stadium and waited hours in line just to be told he wasn't good enough for "American Idol." (search) But the 19-year-old from Cleveland isn't bitter. Pequignot was cut Wednesday in auditions for the television show that produces instant music stars.

The aspiring singer, songwriter and actor said trying out was good experience, and he plans to watch the fourth season of "American Idol" that begins in January.

"I'm really interested to see exactly what they were looking for," he said.

Pequignot was one of thousands of would-be "Idols" who spent all day and night Tuesday at Cleveland Browns Stadium (search) for a chance to audition Wednesday for the popular Fox television show.

Cleveland was the first city in the country to host auditions for the new season. The show also plans to have auditions in Orlando, Fla.; St. Louis; Washington; New Orleans; Anchorage, Alaska; San Francisco, and Las Vegas.

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said the Cleveland crowd of an estimated 15,000 was the biggest he's seen in the show's four years. By comparison, between 12,000 and 13,000 people auditioned last year in New York.

Lauren Lynn, 17, of Brooklyn, Mich., auditioned early Wednesday morning. Despite going more than 24 hours without sleep, Lynn won a callback to audition again for the show.

"Adrenaline definitely takes over," she said of her performance.

"There's no hard-and-fast 'what we're looking for,'" executive producer Ken Warwick said. But generally, in auditions producers are looking for "a genuine talent we think will be around in 10 years."

Lythgoe said the talent in Cleveland was mixed. He estimated about 750 performers would move on to the second round of auditions.

Some voices were so bad, he said, they qualified as "weapons of mass destruction."

"We've found them!" he joked.