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Meet American Idol Guest Judge, Olivia Newton-John

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Olivia Newton-John sat in as a guest judge during American Idol tryouts in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and had nothing but kind words for the hopefuls.

"Some of them are very young and they're green, but you can see their potential," she told People Magazine. "They have a different voice or a different way of presenting themselves."

Meet American Idol Guest Judge, Olivia Newton-John
The Grease star, who turned 58 on Tuesday, says she understood how the contestants must be feeling, having jump-started her own career on the Australian TV talent show Sing, Sing, Sing in the '60s.

Her advice for American Idol aspirants? Roll with what comes your way. The sting of rejection can be "terrible," she says, but sometimes it's for the best.

The Great Recession had devastating effects across the U.S. and few places were as hard hit as Arizona. The state was booming on the strength of its tourism and real estate markets during the 2000s. Median home prices jumped 70% between 2003 and 2006—only Nevada had bigger gains—fueling more building and construction jobs. Monthly unemployment was at 3.5% through much of 2007. But then the bottom fell out. Home prices plummeted more than 50% from their peak and 6% Arizona properties received foreclosure filings in 2009. Unemployment stubbornly remained in double-figures for most of 2009 and 2010 and only Nevada lost a higher percentage of jobs over the last five years. Household incomes declined at the fastest rate in the country since 2008.

Newton-John joined the show's regular judging trio and host -- Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Ryan Seacrest -- at the third-round auditions, where she was presented with a cake for her birthday.

The FOX talent show returns for its sixth season in January. Other celebrity guest judges for the current round of auditions include Jewel in Minneapolis and songwriter Carole Bayer Sager in New York City.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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