"American Idol" wrapped up its season nine audition phase Wednesday night with a one-hour show filled with singing and sob stories.
At times, it seemed like the goal was to cram as many potential semifinalists into the episode as possible. A total of 181 singers advanced to Hollywood this year, host Ryan Seacrest said.
We saw at least 13 of those singers Wednesday night -- which is impressive, considering that some audition episodes this season spotlighted just about five success tales.
Don't worry: There was no shortage of sob stories in the final audition episode. Didi Benami auditioned in honor of a best friend who passed away. Aaron Kelly described living with relatives after social services wanted to remove him from his biological parents' home.
And the night closed with Hope Johnson, who grew up poor. "I thought a lot of kids didn't eat dinner," she said of her childhood.
Keep your Kleenex on hand. Tuesday, "American Idol" starts Hollywood Week and the tears are bound to continue.
Hey, if Ellen DeGeneres bombs her debut as judge No. 4, you might be crying in Paula Abdul's honor.
Get a full recap of Wednesday's show on our "American Idol" blog.