Highlight of the San Francisco program was the contestant with the back story of Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome and an absent musician father who died of an overdose when James Durbin was nine. He’s now 21 (Santa Cruz, CA), has a small son and, as his girlfriend; said, “He wants it so bad.” James made it through to Hollywood, with the comment from J-Lo that “you sing from a really different place’ and from Randy, “My God, what a range!” Steven Tyler said, “Wow, man, that was so, so good,” and, later commented of this last contestant, “Killer! That was crazy!”
To make an even happier ending, James would make it through one more round in Hollywood on Thursday night’s program, too.
EMILY ANN REED
Emily Ann Reed, the 26-year-old contestant whose voice was pronounced, by Jennifer Lopez, to be “the most interesting voice we’ve heard in 8 cities so far” sang ‘˜You’re Getting’ to be A Habit With Me.” She also had the sad back-story of being homeless because her house burned down. Randy, at first, said no to the girl whose vocal tone reminded me a bit of the young Diana Ross’ bird-like quality. When Emily Ann
sang while playing her guitar, Randy, too, became a believer.
Stefano Langone, 21, of Camp Washington, came in with a sad back-story regarding a car accident that left him crippled and in a wheelchair. He was not given much chance of recovery, but he was back on his feet in 4 months. Said Stefano, all this simply fed “the flame that is in you that says you want this.”
Clint Jun Gamboa, 26, the host of a Karaoke bar in Long Beach, California, came in attired in round black glasses frames that made him look like a bug and the judges pronounced him “the best in San Francisco, so far.” He passed muster.
Julie Zorrilla, 20, earned accolades like “Fabulous, beautiful, great star quality.” Jennifer Lopez noted that Julie was not just a singer but also a performer. She earned a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Teresa Riela, the 20-year-old from Columbia, fled the country with her family when she was eight. Her father said, in halting English, “I remember too much horror in my hear
The most bizarre audition of the night in San Francisco had to be 24-year-old Drew Beaumier who came dressed as a car. From Fountain Valley, California, the singer almost didn’t fit through the revolving door in his modified Power Wheels costume and sang a slightly off-tune rendition of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.” When he was not passed through to Hollywood, he said, “I don’t want to be a car for the rest of my life.”
Others who earned lines like “What happened? I thought you were gonna’ represent?” were Dave Combs, 25, of San Francisco, CA but, alas, Steven Tyler had to tell him, “You were so off the melody it was like you were on another planet.” Of Rick Deschamp, 23, Tyler asked, “Dude, did you hit your head on the way in?” and David Johnston’s “Stand By Me” and Sabrina Corbett’s cop outfit did not earn approval, but only the comment, “You oughta’ be arrested for that voice.” Also rejected were Inessa Lee of Los Angeles, who originally came from the Ukraine, and Kenneth Berba of El Paso, TX, who came to the audition wearing earmuffs and a tail. Weston lee Smith: similarly bad.
But Matthew Nuss, 25, a musical director was good and Brittany Mazur, 21, of Tucson, who sang “Mercy” did well.
There were 2 times as many contestants as last year, but they only got one chance in Hollywood, which broke up the young lovers when Nick Fink was cut. He begged for a second chance (denied) and even tried singing on his way out, but all to no avail.
Brett Lowenstein, 16, of Boca Raton, Florida, however, who sang “Let It Be” did well again and Paris Tassin of New Orleans, Louisiana did well, as did the amazing 15-year-old Alaina from Georgia mentioned in another article. (She sang with Steven Tyler.) Also good were Booby Rosen of New Jersey, Jacee Bodeaux, 15 (the youngest contestant)—the chubby choirboy with the angelic voice—and deep baritone Scotty McReery of Raleigh, North Carolina. It was surprising that Tiffany Rios, 21, of Morris Plains, NJ (the girl who put stars on her boobs during her first try-out) made it through. I don’t think she will go far. Also surprising was that Travis Orlando, with the hard luck story of living in a group home shelter, was cut, as was the accountant Steve Beghun and the cute belly dancer. Stormi Henley, 20, who had the smallest voice ever, according to Jennifer Lopez, was cut, but the young blonde who almost broke down in tears at her first audition turned in a surprisingly strong showing. Also cut was Victoria, the 17-year-old Southern belle from North Carolina who showed up with 11 pieces of luggage!
Chris Medina, 27, who had the biggest hard luck story of all with the brain-injured fiancée, was passed through, but, honestly, his audition was not that great. Jacqueline Dunford, the other half of the star-crossed lovers, was also passed through with an “okay” but not great performance. I don’t look for either of these to make it that far. Hollie Cavanagh, of McKenna, TX: still singing. And, in glimpses of the next program, the brothers who sang harmony (math teacher and younger brother) were shown still singing.
Now, things get interesting.