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'Idol' Returns With Fun-Filled Lowlights

A unique version of "YMCA," pleas for spanking and national anthems galore were the excruciating highlights of the "American Idol" (search) season debut on Tuesday night.

Simon, Paula and Randy all returned as judges to weed out the best voices in Washington D.C., their first stop in a seven-city tour.

Joining the critical trio was guest judge Mark McGrath (search), the frontman for once-hot band "Sugar Ray." McGrath is the first in a line of celebrity judges to include Gene Simmons, LL Cool J., Brandy and Kenny Loggins.

The FOX show has also raised the contestant age threshold to 28 — but don't expect a noticeable rise in maturity.

One contestant, Mary Roach, 18, said she would change her last name to "Guilbeaux" if she was picked for Hollywood. Unfortunately, she'll keep her name.

It was also discovered that singing talent doesn't always run in the family. A pitch-fluctuating rendition of "How Can an Angel Break My Heart" by Derek Braxton, a 19-year-old cousin of R&B singer Toni Braxton, prompted Simon to say, "I think that's probably the weirdest voice I've ever heard."

One of the sadder stories of dashed dreams was Brian Bagley, a 26-year-old janitor/dancer from Baltimore. After being dismissed, he went directly outside to beg for money.

But plenty of dreams came true in the nation's capital, as well.

Regina Brooks, 28, traveled from Ohio with her husband and 4-year-old daughter. To fund the trip, Brooks pawned her wedding ring (but not her karaoke machine) for a chance to sing Johnny Mathis' "Misty."

After her husband convinced the judges of his support for his wife, Brooks was told those magic words: "You're going to Hollywood!"

"Idol" continues on to St. Louis next Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST.

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