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American Idol: All Night Long in the Big Apple

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NYC did not disappoint us in last night's American Idol. The cup runneth over with the number of contestants to fly their freak flags high, which made for an entertaining two hours. While the other audition cities had their share of weirdos, the Big Apple had plenty of FWAs - freaks with attitude - East Coast style.

The show opened with Ryan Adams' "New York, New York" being used under Ryan Seacrest's opening travelogue (and we wonder how the eccentric artiste really felt about that). Then we were introduced to guest judge Joan Collins Carole Bayer Sager, singer/songwriter who partnered with Burt Bacharach to create many a hit in their day.

The theme for the night's show was melodrama. With a capital M. It started with the first contestant Ian Benardo, whose friends, family and two therapists think he's a superstar. He wore a chinchilla stole and was an absolute pill -- but he'll be staying in NYC. Thank god. Next up was Sarah Burgess, a small town Ohio girl whose parents didn't know she was there. Plenty of tears flowed as she explained to Ryan, the judges and, well, America, how she's always disappointed her father, and how he didn't really understand her. The judges helped stick it to her father and gave her the golden ticket to Hollywood.

The drama came fast and furious in New York. Ashanti Johnson, who made it to Hollywood twice with AI, was trying out a third time. When the judges said no, she launched into a monologue worthy of an off-broadway production - or at least Days of Our Lives. We kid you not when we say she used the phrases: "depths of my soul" and "If America would see me, they would love me."

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Hot Jersey girls and BFFs Amanda and Antonella both made it through to Hollywood, and we're sure that they will, like, fit in so well here. But really, we're not sure how long they'll be BFFs once they hit town. Antoinella the untrained singer was so much better than her pal.

Then, of course, was the usual Do-dah parade/montage done to Lionel Richie's "All Night Long..."

And all this happened on Day 1...