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Ex-soldier Matt Farmer and his 'strong pipes,' shocking Micah Johnson star on 'American Idol'

Shubha Vedula kicks off the Long Beach, Calif. audtions of  "American Idol" -- which are being held on the Queen Mary -- with "Something's Got A Hold On Me."

She can sing; strong start to the show, gets Randy Jackson and Keith Urban to send her though. With Mariah Carey stuck in traffic and Nicki Minaj honoring a prior committment, two votes are all she needs.

Brian Martinez next, as Carey shows up, with "You'll Be In My Heart." Kid's earnest but he can't sing; is speaking the words more than anything, and the judges just start laughing. They pan him; "nice guy, man" says Urban aferwards.

Matt Farmer next, shows up with his young daughter; he says he served in Iraq and was injured -- had a traumatic brain injury, the medication was supposed to have the side effect of making him sterile but a few months later his wife became pregnant. 

Singing Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." Great tone from the start; can see this guy winning it all, high likeablity, good story, sincere and can flat out sing.

"Like your voice, you have strong pipes," says Jackson. "Loved the thick tone," says Urban. He's through easily.

Purple-haired Stephanie Sandson, who's in a band with her sister; literally screams, "I Set Fire to the Rain." It's bizarre; winds up jumping out of there. After she leaves, the judges do a mock critique to nobody. 

Minaj is back from her prior committment; 16-year-old Jesaiah Baer doing "Settle Down." Halfway through the emergency lights and sirens start going off; Ryan Seacrest thinks it's a fire alarm, they have to evacuate.

Turns out just to be smoke from the restaurant. Baer resumes; lot of color to her voice, even if she seems a bit cheesy.

Throws in some scatting at the end, "love it" says Urban and Jackson. "You had a very mature confidence" says Minaj, "very shocking for me." Is through easily.

Then Micah Johnson, who has a speech impediment that developed after a doctor taking out his tonsils accidentally hit some nerves. Jackson asks him straight out if he can still sing, he says he just wants to be an inspiration for others out there.

Singing "Chicken Fried," and shockingly there's no speech impediment -- he has a smooth, fantastic voice, big applause from the judges. "It was beautiful," says Urban. They vote him through easily. 

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