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IDOL WATCH: The San Francisco Auditions


Tonight's episode of American Idol marked a turning point in the competition, as judges Randy, JLo and Mr. Tyler made the trek to San Francisco for the final stop in their nation-wide search for America's most promising singers. That's right, starting tomorrow night, Idol will reach it's final destination, where the best auditionees from around the country will duke it out to survive the brutal first cut of the Hollywood round.

But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. There were plenty of Idol hopefuls from the City by the Bay who gathered at AT&T Park for a final shot at stardom. Auditions tonight brought the judges to the very city where my personal favorite Idol alum was discovered- Adam Lambert.  How did 2011 San Francisco hold up to the talent of seasons past? Let's review.

The evening opened as wacky as ever with a monologue from a heartbroken girl who had clearly just been turned down. When the camera man asked her is she had anything to say to the judges, she answered, "Just because someone farts, let em finish singing!' What a way to start it off.


Inessa Lee, a 22 year old Ukrainian diva, kicked off the musical portion of the evening. The star of many music videos on Youtube, Lee was far from humble about her many "talents." Too bad her version of "I'm All Out of Love" didn't live up to her own opinion of herself.

Lee was followed up by showstoppers Stefano Langone and Clint Jun Gamboa. Langone, a resident of Kent, Washington, busted out a very soulful "Heard It Through the Grapevine" that quickly earned the judges' favor.  Karaoke host Gamboa showed off a rich tone and an impressive range when he sang "Billionaire." Watch out Bruno Mars!

The token crazies of the night were led by Kenneth Berba, who sang Seussical the Musical, appropriately dressed as a Wickersham brother. Also thrown into the mix were a boy dressed as a fully functioning transformer and a girl dressed up as a cop whose performance caused Steven to wittily exclaim, "You should be arrested for that outfit."  All three were followed by a  'California Gurls' montage that featured the best ladies of San Francisco,  but of course we only got to see seconds of their performances. Rude.

Julia Zorrilla and Emily Anne Reed also gave standout performances, though they were entirely different.  20 year-old Zorrilla delivered a revamped version of "Summertime" that left all three judges very impressed.  Reed's "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me" showed off her unique style and artsy personality and quickly earned her a golden ticket. I'm sure the tragic story about her house recently burning down didn't hurt her chances either.


The final auditionee of the evening happened to be my favorite as well. Santa Cruz native James Durbin told a heartbreaking story about his musician father who died of a drug overdose when he was only 9 years old. Durbin rocked "You Shook Me All Night Long" complete with super-belty high notes that left Steven drooling. He followed up that stellar performance with an ode to Mr. Tyler, "Dream On." He was no Adam Lambert, but you certainly still need to watch out for James Durbin.

Don't forget to check in with BroadwayWorld's IDOL WATCH tomorrow for the beginning of the much anticipated Hollywood round! American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on Fox.

Miss last American Idol auditions in Los Angeles last week? Click here for a full recap!

Emmy Award-winning AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive produced by Simon Fuller, Founder, 19 Entertainment , a division of CKX, Inc.; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; and Nigel Lythgoe, President, Big Red 2 Entertainment.

Among the many American Idol finalists and winners to appeared on the Broadway stage are Fantasia, Justin Guarini, Jordin Sparks, Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, Tamyra Gray, Constantine Maroulis, Frenchie Davis, Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks.

Visit for exclusive videos, interviews and photos, as well as special behind-the-scenes information and all of your AMERICAN IDOL news.

Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX

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