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The fifth season of American Idol began on January 17, 2006 and will end on May 24, 2006. Returning this season to judge are Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson. Returning to host is Ryan Seacrest.
- Chicago, Illinois
- Denver, Colorado
- Greensboro, North Carolina
- San Francisco, California
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Austin, Texas (later stages of auditions were held in San Francisco because of Hurricane Katrina and the number of evacuees in Texas) 
- Boston, Massachusetts
Unlike Season Four, no guest judges were involved during the auditions.
- Holly Corrente worked at a rehabilitation facility. Auditioned in Boston and eliminated there.
- Rhonetta Johnson had a diva attitude, a potty mouth, and no underwear. Made negative comments, mostly about and directed to Paula Abdul after being rejected by the judges. Eliminated in Greensboro auditions.
- Chonna Clepper auditioned in Greensboro dressed in almost nothing.
- Zachary Travis auditioned in Denver dressed in a woman's crop top, tight blue jeans with a studded belt and high heeled boots and sang the Whitney Houston song "Queen of the Night" which Simon described as atrocious and Travis as being confused.
Hollywood Round OneEdit
The first round of Hollywood consisted of two days of solo performances of one of 12 pre-selected songs, to a piano and background vocal accompaniment, with each singer singing on one day and touring Los Angeles on the other day.
Of the 175 hopefuls who made it to Hollywood, 99 were selected to move on to the next round. Among those cut from at this time were:
- Jeffrey "Ryan" Baysden auditioned in Greensboro. He was told by Simon, "finally, a Ryan with talent!"
- Steven David, Jr. auditioned in his Air National Guard uniform in Greensboro, danced with Paula, and turned out to be married.
- David Hoover aka "Crazy Dave", sent through by Randy and Paula in Chicago. He is the first "bad" singer ever to be sent on to Hollywood.
- Ronnie "R.J." Norman was profiled as the "Cocky Guy" in Austin. He cried when he was eliminated in Hollywood.
- Jayne Santayana auditioned in San Francisco, sang "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker.
- Joshua and Jarrett Simmons are the younger set of male twins that auditioned together in Chicago.
- Zachary Smits was a 17-year-old, auditioned in Chicago.
- Jordan Southerland auditioned dressed as a firefighter in Greensboro.
- Heather Ward was the African American woman who surprised the judges by singing Gretchen Wilson's country anthem "Redneck Woman" in Las Vegas.
- Kendra Winston was the mother of three children, grew up in 42 different foster care situations, auditioned in Greensboro.
Hollywood Rounds Two and ThreeEdit
The remaining 99 hopefuls competed in Round Two, which was three- or four-person groups singing one of six or so pre-selected songs. Cuts were made (of individuals, not whole groups) after this round.
Approximately 60 contestants went on to Round Three, which was a solo a capella performance of one of 95 possible songs. After this, cuts were made by segregating performers into different rooms, with everyone in a given room either moving on or being cut.
Across both rounds, 55 were cut, including:
- Meredith Bandas
- Leah Barrettsmith, one of the two sisters who auditioned together in Chicago and were profiled as "small town" girls.
- Matthew Buckstein
- Rochelle-Elaine Dye came to her Denver audition with several friends and family who had her name spelled out in t-shirts. She said she was about to be evicted.
- Sarah Enouen
- Michael Evans
- Hannah Freeman
- Gina Glocksen was profiled as a dental assistant and the lead singer in an all-girl band, auditioned in Chicago.
- Anthony Hansen
- Rickey Hayes was a music major, auditioned in Austin
- Jason Horn, Funeral director, auditioned in Austin with "You Raise Me Up".
- Ashley Jackson, "fit model", sang with her mouth closed, auditioned in Austin.
- Josh Jordan, sang during the group performance together with semi-finalists, David Radford and Will Makar, and finalist, Kevin Covais
- Garet Layne Johnson, profiled as the "Wyoming Cowboy," auditioned in Denver, was advised to get voice lessons before going to Hollywood. He was featured as part of a Brokeback Mountain parody called "Brokenote Mountain".
- Mecca Madison was the 18-year-old high-school senior and belly-dancer. Auditioned in Las Vegas.
- Celeste Scalone was a former contestant on Making the Band.
- Tyra Juliette Schwartz came from New York and was dumped by her boyfriend shortly before auditioning in Greensboro. She was a former contestant on Making the Band.
- Jennifer Sieminski later gave a very detailed interview describing behind-the-scenes practices of American Idol 
- Jordan Southerland auditioned in Greensboro NC and was the first person ever to wear a Fireman outfit on the show. He got pretty good reviews in that round of audition, and wore the firesuit in honor of all the firemen who assisted in Hurricane Katrina and in honor of his father who is very sick and has been a fireman for 20 years. In Hollywood he performed the song "Bless the Broken Road".
- Halicia Thompson sang the theme from A Different World and kissed Simon. She auditioned in Greensboro.
- Nicole Turk
- Tatiana Ward auditoned in Boston. Simon compared her to his pet poodle, and complained that her singing was too "old fashioned." Randy and Paula let her through.
- Lauren Weckerly
- Shawna White was 16 years old, wore pigtails that inspired yodeling from the judges, auditioned in San Francisco.
- John Williams sang a Michael Jackson song and did a dance in San Francisco, Simon wasn't impressed with his "routine", but Randy and Paula put him through.
- Laura Wright auditioned in Greensboro. It showed her singing a little bit.
- Megan Zieger was first seen in Hollywood, where she had a bad case of laryngitis, but managed to sustain her voice.
On January 23, 2006, after a considerable time lapse from Hollywood Week, and after the audition shows began to air on January 17, the judges reviewed tapes and considered early audience reaction to the contestants. Without any additional performances from the contestants, the judges then reduced the the remaining 44 contestants to 24 semi-finalists in a Pasadena, California hotel. Among those eliminated at this point were:
- David Avram #4929
- Brooke Barrettsmith #9719, one of the two sisters who auditioned together in Chicago and were profiled as "small town" girls.
- Megan Bobo #37340, one of the last two girls to be told if they were in the final 24 or not, lost the place to Kinnik Sky.
- Jessica Jo Santos #78151
- Antonio Bridges #75320
- Derrell and Terrell Brittenum #7958, #7959, older set of twins that auditioned together in Chicago. In Hollywood, Derrell quit after mistakenly thinking his brother had been cut. After an apology, the judges allowed both brothers to stay in the competition. They made it to the final 44, but they were disqualified in January 2006 after being arrested.
- Murcelia "Marcy" Smith #35871 was in the same group as Brenna Gethers and was visibly irritated by Brenna's obnoxious nature and unreliability in turning up for practice. Brenna, however, made a great show of being friendly with her on stage when Simon remarked on this after the group performance.
- Bobby Bullard #35990
- Bobby Dillard #31701
- Syd James Harcourt #10300 and Will Makar were the final two men to be called into the room where the final selection for the top 24 was to take place.
- Eugenia Littlejohn #35660 cried and said her dreams of ever making it as a singer were destroyed when she wasn't selected for the final 24, provoking surprised reactions from all three judges.
- Mark Adam Locklear #63995
- William McCoy #60242
- Nicole Ortiz #13677
- Crystal Stark #1140
- Brianna Taylor #11142, sang the song If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys in Boston.
- April Walsh #37870, sang the song It's Oh So Quiet by Bjork in Denver.
- Stephanie White #11425
- Nick Whitten #61919
There were no format changes from season 4; it will feature 12 male singers and 12 female singers (24 total), with two of each being eliminated each week.
The 24 semi-finalists, announced February 15, 2006, along with their songs performed on the show, were:
|Ayla Brown (14336) is from Wrentham, Massachusetts. Her father is a Massachusetts state senator, and her mother is a local television personality at WCVB-TV. She has a college basketball scholarship at Boston College. She originally auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts, singing Ain't No Mountain High Enough.|
|Kinnik Sky (63995) is from Duluth, Georgia. She auditioned in Greensboro.|
|Heather Cox (36338) is from Jonesville, North Carolina. She auditioned in Denver.|
|Brenna Gethers (14289) is from Mount Vernon, New York. She auditioned in Boston.|
|Stevie Scott (36600) is from Fair Oaks, California. She auditioned in Denver.|
|Becky O'Donohue (11588) is from Dobbs Ferry, New York. Her original audition was in Boston with her twin sister (who didn't sing due to recent throat surgery). Simon praised her looks, but said no to her voice. She was let through to Hollywood by Randy and Paula.|
|Gedeon McKinney (4460) is from Memphis, Tennessee. He auditioned in Chicago.|
|Will Makar (58581) is from The Woodlands, Texas. 17 years old, originally auditioned in Austin with "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations.|
|José "Sway" Penala (32613) is from South San Francisco, and he auditioned San Francisco.|
|David Radford (2436) is a high schooler from Crystal Lake, Illinois. He originally auditioned in Chicago.|
|Patrick Hall (79857) is from Gravette, Arkansas and was seen for the first time in Hollywood.|
|Bobby Bennett (36477) is from Denver and also auditioned there.|
Top 12 FinalistsEdit
|Chris Daughtry (36483) is from McLeansville, North Carolina. During the audition round, he was profiled as a "Rocker Dad." He originally auditioned in Denver.|
|Taylor Hicks (74094) is from Birmingham, Alabama. He is gray-haired, performed "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke at his original audition in Las Vegas.|
|Elliott Yamin (19991) (pronounced Yah-MEEN) was born in 1978 in Los Angeles, California and grew up in suburban Richmond, Virginia. He started singing at the age of 5 and did not have any formal training. He auditioned for American Idol in Boston. After his first semi-final performance, Simon said that he is potentially the best male vocalist in American Idol history.
|Kellie Pickler (61615) is from Albemarle, North Carolina, but was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was profiled as a skating waitress. Her mother left when she was two and her father has had numerous legal problems; he is currently incarcerated in a Florida prison. Pickler lives with her grandfather and originally auditioned in Greensboro.
|Katharine McPhee's (32342) mother is a vocal coach. At the time she auditioned in San Francisco, Randy said her audition was the best he'd heard yet this season. At the end of the first semi-final round, Simon Cowell said that he had heard four very good singers that evening and that Katharine was the best among them. She is from Sherman Oaks, California.
|Paris Bennett (60377), the granddaughter of Ann Nesby, sang "Cowboy Take Me Away" by The Dixie Chicks at her original audition in Greensboro. She is from Fayetteville, Georgia.
|Ace Young (36456) is from Boulder and auditioned in Denver. At that time, Randy called him one of the best he'd seen so far this season. After he sang 'Father Figure', Simon Cowell said that Ace had the 'X-Factor'.
|Bucky Covington (60460) is from Rockingham, North Carolina. He auditioned in Greensboro.|
|Mandisa (6369) is from Antioch, Tennessee. She had a successful original audition in Chicago, after which Simon made jokes about her size. He later apologized after being confronted by Mandisa.|
|Lisa Tucker (36047) is from Anaheim, California, and she auditioned in Denver. Simon called her the "best 16-year-old" ever to audition on the show at the time of her original Denver audition. She was also a contestant on Star Search but lost to Tiffany Evans.
|Kevin Covais (10182), 16 years old, is from Levittown, New York. For his audition in Boston, he sang "You Raise Me Up".|
|Melissa McGhee (35673) is from Tampa, Florida. She auditioned in Denver. She hadn't sung on camera until her first week in the top 24.|
- March 14 ~ Stevie Wonder Songs
- March 21 ~ Songs of the '50s
- March 28 ~ Songs of the 21st Century
- April 4 ~ Country Songs
- April 11 ~ Queen Songs
- April 18 ~ Songs from The Great American Songbook
- April 25 ~ The Greatest Love Songs of All Time
Performers on Results showsEdit
- March 15 ~ Stevie Wonder
- March 22 ~ Barry Manilow
- March 29 ~ Shakira and Wyclef Jean
- April 5 ~ Kenny Rogers
- April 12 ~ Final 8 sing a medley of Queen
- April 19 ~ Rod Stewart
- April 26 ~ Andrea Boccelli
Elimination History Edit
As of April 19th, Taylor Hicks and Kellie Pickler are the only ones never placed in the Bottom 3.
DialIdol is computer program for Microsoft Windows that was introduced in Season 5. The program allows users to automatically vote for the American Idol candidates of their choice using their PC's modem. The program then reports back to the main website, which keeps track of the results based on which contestant has the most busy signals.
Users can choose to vote equally for their chosen contestants, choose to keep certain candidates "safe" (by voting for their chosen contestant who is lowest ranked), or choose to keep certain contestants "unsafe" (by voting for the lowest rank candidate who is not on their list).
In March 2006, they received a "cease and desist" order from Fox because they view the software as a potential spoiler, and the site was taken down temporarily. After consulting with lawyers and determining that what they were doing was legal, the website was put back up. 
The program's developers estimate that using it to predict the results has about 83% accuracy. The website received national attention when it correctly predicted the bottom three contestants, in order, before the April 6, 2006 results show.
- In January 2006, twins Derrell and Terrell Brittenum were charged with forgery and theft after allegedly using a false identity to purchase a car.  This occurred after the "Hollywood" portion of the show was filmed, and the twins were subsequently disqualified. 
- In January 2006, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) expressed concern about the show's portrayal of some contestants: "The real offense here was in the producer's decision to add insult to injury by turning a contestant's gender expression into the butt of a joke." Damon Romine, Entertainment Media Director, on January 20. 
- In January 2006 The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, NAAFA accused the show of being discriminatory towards its plus sized contestants
- In February 2006, it was discovered that José "Sway" Penala was reportedly signed to E-Deal Records with his band 6th Day, at the time of his audition.
- On the March 21st show, Chris Daughtry sang a version of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" using the same arrangements as the band Live when they covered the song for the album Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records. During the show, the source of the arrangement was never mentioned. On the March 28th episode, in a discussion with Ryan Seacrest, Daughtry confirmed that it was in fact Live's version of the song.
- During the March 28th show while Mandisa was singing her name and phone number came up, but then for a few seconds it changed and showed Taylor Hicks' name and phone number. At the end of the show the numbers were right. 
- Mandisa was voted out after country week, whereby her rendition of 'Any Man of Mine' was not well received as a good song choice. The reason behind her elimination was speculated to be due to her statement of 'This song goes out to everybody that wants to be free, your addiction, lifestyle and situation may be big, but God is bigger' before singing her rendition of 'Wanna Praise You (Shackles)' by Mary, Mary. Many Americans speculated that the lifestlye stated was regarding the gay lifestyle, which Mandisa denied, clarifying that the lifestyle she was refering to was her lifestyle of addiction to food. Though Mandisa is a fervent follower of Beth Moore, she claims that she does not discriminate against gays, but will not advocate homosexuality either. 
- In the top 24, 1 contestant is from Texas, 1 is from Alabama, 1 is from Florida, 1 is from Illinois, 1 is from Massachusetts, 2 are from Tennessee, 2 are from Georgia, 3 are from New York, 4 are from North Carolina, 4 are from California, 2 are from Colorado, and 2 are from Virginia (one of them now lives in North Carolina). One state, Arkansas, was represented for the first time in the semi-finals.
- In the top 12, 1 contestant is from New York, 1 is from Alabama, 1 is from Florida, 1 is from Georgia, 1 is from Colorado, 1 is from Tennessee, 1 is from Virginia, 2 are from California, and 3 are from North Carolina.
- One day after Chris Daughtry performed Hemorrhage (In My Hands) on American Idol, the single shot up to the Top 10 download list on iTunes and stayed there for a number of days.
- When Fuel heard Daughtry sing Hemorrhage (In My Hands), they offered him the role of lead singer of their group should he be eliminated from the competition.