The Seventh Season of 'American Idol' Premieres on Fox
For Season 7, auditions were held in the following cities:
San Diego, California: Qualcomm Stadium - July 30 & July 31
Dallas, Texas: Texas Stadium - August 6 & August 7
Omaha, Nebraska: Qwest Center Omaha - August 10 & August 11
Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia Dome - August 14 & August 15
Charleston, South Carolina: North Charleston Coliseum - August 18 & August 19
Miami, Florida: American Airlines Arena - August 22 & August 23
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Wachovia Center - August 27 & August 28
Contestants were required to be between the ages of 16 and 28 on July 28, 2007, and eligible to work in the United States. Those ineligible include former contestants who reached the top 40 of past seasons, those holding recording or management contracts, or those who are not US citizens or landed immigrants (i.e. permanent residents).
As in years past, the Hollywood round took place at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, California, over a period of four days. A total of 164 contestants were invited from the seven audition cities. This year the process was altered slightly to ensure that no talent would be prematurely dismissed.
On the first day, all of the contestants took the stage individually and sang for the judges. For the first time ever, contestants had the option of either being accompanied by the band or playing an instrument themselves. Some were shown playing the keyboard, guitar, or even the drums. If the judges approved of the contestant's performance, they received a "free pass" to the third day of auditions. Unlike previous seasons, contestants whose performances were not considered good enough were given a second chance on day two. They were required to line up on stage in small groups and sing a short segment of a song "a cappella." After each group had finished, the judges cut those they felt were not talented enough. Those who were not cut joined the recipients of the free passes on day three of the Hollywood round. Each of these remaining contestants sang with the band, as well as three backup singers, a setup similar to the one used in the semifinals and finals. This replaced the group performances required in past seasons. After each performance, the judges decided whether or not to cut the contestant. By the end of the day, only 50 contestants were remaining. The judges then deliberated on who would be in the Top 24, and their decision was revealed at the end of the process.