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Wednesday January 21, 2009 12:35 am

American Idol 8: San Francisco Auditions

An winner, thus far, has never come out of the San Fransisco auditions, though runner-up Katharine McPhee (season 5) first auditioned here.

Will this be the year that an Idol is found in the city by the bay? Some of the auditions were promising…others were barely tolerable.

The evening kicked off with Tatiana Del Toro of the beautiful accent - which, evidently, she can turn on and off at will. She was a lovely girl in a terrible dress with a super-annoying giggle, but she showed up to her audition already predestined to succeed. Her psychic friend predicted that Del Toro would make it all the way to the Top 12. I also, once had a psychic friend, but had to give her up on account of the phone bills. At any rate, Del Toro pleaded with the judges and eventually won her way to Hollywood. Cowell found her “so dramatic,” but was a little more positive in his remarks, saying he voted yes “because you are wild, and I like it.” She’s also a little too savvy for Idol viewers - the girl showed up with her press kit.

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Dean Anthony Bradford

Nick Reed, Jiayi Yu and Dean Anthony Bradford of the plaid coat were all pretty bad, and all were refused entrance into Hollywood Week. Alas, even bad fashion choices won’t avail you with the judges - who, let’s remember, are interested in singing.

Jesus Valenzuela, family man, presents a very clean cut, well-dressed, nice-looking image. I found his voice to be pretty nice, but the judges seemed to balk a little. Jesus quickly brought his two adorable boys into the audition room. From that second, there was no way would tell him no. Valenzuela will be going on to Hollywood Week thanks to cute kids - and really, his singing wasn’t so bad.

Dalton Powell showed off amazing skill with a Rubik’s cube, but not so much with his vocals. Despite his love of Simon and knowledge of all things puzzling, Powell will not be going to Hollywood due to the terrible sound of his extremely high-pitched falsetto.

James Smith and Akilah Askew-Gholston were both pretty awful, but the former took it much more smoothly than the latter. Akilah, who studied a great deal before facing the judges, had to be talked into the leaving the room after failing to impress with her voice.

John Twifold, Allison Iraheta and Raquel Houghton, though they barely got a minute of air time between them, are all going to Hollywood.

Very skinny but adorably cute Annie Murdoch by herself got much more time on air than any of these three Hollywood-bound singers, and she was summarily rejected by the entire panel after her wobbly warbling. bashed her with “it was like you were drunk.” And, he made it plain he wasn’t just talking about a couple of bottles.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert had hair but a somewhat different voice. Hairstyles aside, he was fairly good-looking and sang fairly well. I didn’t initially approve of his choice to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” (who does this guy think he is - Michael Johns?), but he did the ditty justice and managed to sweep the panel to win a ticket to Hollywood.

Kia Kalama, the main story of the episode (featured in the video), was naturally featured last. He’s a very cute guy with very curly hair who currently takes care of his ailing mother. This is a very noble and respectable thing, and Kalama is an immediately likable guy. That being said, his feature was a bit of a drag, what with the sad background music and all. But Kalama soon blew me away not with his story but his beautiful singing voice. During his judging, Cowell found that Kalama has a “very, very good voice,” Paula announced “I like you,” and Idol viewers got to see that new judge isn’t going to give up one inch to Simon Cowell. I like her more and more all the time. After getting 4 yeses, Kalama is now headed off to Hollywood. As he walked back out of the room, everyone still remaining at the auditions treated him to applause.

All told, a dozen of those who auditioned in San Francisco will make their way to Hollywood Week for more judgment. Tomorrow’s Idol will feature the lovely southern city of Louisville, Kentucky, home to the Kentucky Derby and at least one Gear Live writer.

(You can find all the American Idol 8 posts here.)


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