After the auditions last week, I was looking forward to seeing a preview of Hollywood Week potential in the third city of American Idol auditions. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
San Francisco only produced 12 golden tickets – that’s less than half of what either Phoenix or Kansas City yielded last week.
And judging by what we saw in the hour-long Idol show tonight, the judges really had to push it to get that dozen.
The first candidate to get the green light for Hollywood was Tatiana Del Toro who couldn’t wait for the auditions in her home Puerto Rico. Despite her “guaranteed” success — her psychic told her she’d be in the Top12 – she felt the need to bring her own press kit. I think the judges let her through because she was colorful. It definitely wasn’t because of her vocal talent. Kara was the only one to say no.
The next golden ticket was issued because the judges – well all of them but Simon – couldn’t say no to Jesus Valenzula’s kids. This guy didn’t have a bad voice, but he was definitely trying too hard. But at 29, isn’t Jesus over the age limit?
The next three were so borderline that they had to show them to us in a montage. Music teacher John Twiford sang “Overjoyed.” His voice wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t anything to write home about.
And high school student Allison Iraheta’s voice actually cracked during “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” I can’t even imagine what possessed the judges to put her through.
Raquel Houghton, the waitress/bartender from Los Angeles, just didn’t have the chops to pull off “Son of a Preacher Man” with any believability.
At this point, I was really wondering if there was anyone with potential in the Bay City, especially considering the amount of time devoted to Dean-Anthony Bradford’s plaid coat and Akilah Askew-Gholston’s anatomy lesson.
But in the final moments, San Francisco pulled through with two contenders.
Stage actor Adam Lambert, who has been a member of the cast of “Wicked” for the last year and half, pulled off a theatrical “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He had a nice voice, but those in the past with theatrical tendencies haven’t done well in the long run. It’ll be interesting to see how long he lasts.
And the final golden ticket went to Kai Kalama, caretaker by day/musician by night. Kai did a nice rendition of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by the Platters, but I have to agree with Simon who told him he had the personality of a ship singer. Kai will need to work on his stage presence if he wants a chance at the title.
Tomorrow, Idol heads to Louisville.