February 20, 2006 12:00 PM

It’s like a crash course in everything you could want to know in the music industry,” American Idol judge Randy Jackson says about the 20th annual Grammy Career Day, a Feb. 6 workshop on the USC campus that enabled talented teens to pose questions to artists and executives. They included Jackson himself, 49, a record producer when he’s not sparring with Simon and Paula; ’04 Idol champ Fantasia Barrino; rap star Kanye West; and industry heavyweight Jimmy Jam. The highlight was a mock Idol audition. “You nervous, dear?” Jackson asked the first of 15 contestants, giving her a bear hug after her number. “No way, dude. You were great.” As the session ended, Jackson and Barrino led the performers in “Lean on Me,” then signed autographs. So was Career Day worth it? “Yes,” says 17-year-old Kemaunie Selico. “[Singing] is what I want to do with my life. To meet these people is a one-in-a-million chance in a lifetime.”

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