August 18, 2004 08:00 AM

The Porta-Potties were out in force in the nation’s capital to handle the crowd of thousands – mostly teenagers – pouring into the Washington, D.C., Convention Center this week for their shot at fame and fortune on FOX’s American Idol.

“I’m going to win ’cause I didn’t come here to lose,” Tricia Hannah, 25, tells The Washington Post, which notes a sense of youthful bravado among the aspirants, some of whom arrived with their camping gear two days early to wait for the chance to audition.

Everyone who shows up will be offered a chance to be heard, say Idol producers. Auditions already have been held in Cleveland and St. Louis. The show also is planning auditions in Anchorage, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando and San Francisco.

And since nobody who showed up in Washington was going to go until they strutted their stuff, police ordered the audition’s organizers to allow the hopefuls to sleep inside the convention center because of the heat and sheer size of the crowd, the Associated Press reports.

Already made up with purple eye shadow and glitter, Lavita Warren, 22, of Kalamazoo, Mich., drove 12 hours to get there. She brought along snacks, a sleeping bag, folding chairs, lip gloss, outfits, makeup, and her hair needs.

Warren’s pal, Danielle Jones, 28, made the trip despite her calculating the odds of her making the cut to be “like a million to one.” Still, she’s ready to belt a few bars of Whitney Houston’s “All at Once” for this “chance of a lifetime. … I say if the door is open, walk through it, and if it’s your chance, you’ll get through.”

In the first round of tryouts, contestants will sing a chorus and verse from their song of choice for a producer. Those who make the cut will graduate to Thursday’s tryouts before Idol executive producers.

By the weekend, second-round survivors get to sing for Idol judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul – who will choose the contestants who will actually compete on the air when season four starts in January.

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