Last night was Episode 7 of this season’s “American Idol” on FOX. That means it was the last night of initial audition footage, and tonight we get into Hollywood week. But first, a recap from last night’s San Francisco auditions:

The first few that they showed going to Hollywood were 21 year old Brittany Mazur; Lara Johnston; and Matthew Nuss. I wrote down next to Lara that she was all technique and I wrote “eh” next to Matthew. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what the judges are smoking, or that they are a bit too lenient…but Stefano Langone, who went next, was quite a story. He was in a life-threatening car accident two years ago, but pulled through. He talked about the desire to win “American Idol” burning in him, and when someone goes through something like that and to top it off, has the talent AND the burning drive, look out. I’m just saying, keep an eye on this kid. He did an awesome version of “Heard it Through the Grapevine” and J-Lo even suggested the word “star” to Stefano….Clint Jun Gamboa, a karaoke host from Los Angeles, was pretty damn good…after a medley of good auditions, some with women in short dresses that caught the eyes of Randy and Steven, the next Hollywood-bound contestant was Julie Zorrilla, a 20 year old beauty originally from Colombia. Her family was rich but constantly extorted by the army, so they left and came to LA for a better life. Good for us, because she was awesome and did a super cool version of the classic, “Summertime”….Emily Anne Reed, whose house burned down like last week, sang “You’re Getting To Bet a Habit,” and she was really good, kind of old-timey but very unique. Steven said no, but Randy and Jennifer said yes resoundingly…..and finally, 21 year old James Durbin from Santa Cruz, whose dad always played in bands and toured but died when James was 9 of a drug overdose, was quite a story. He and his girlfriend Heidi have a little daughter and though he has no job, they make ends meet somehow, and now he wants a better life for his family. Thankfully, he didn’t suck. Dude did a super cool version of Led Zeppelin’s “You Shook Me” and then even did Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” with Steven’s permission of course. This dude was really good and worth keeping an eye on.

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