Well, we made it. The second part of the San Francisco saga was billed as having "the best for last." And American Idol wasn't joking. Jennfier Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. were handing out golden tickets a lot. It was a nice end to what we'll call a solid audition run. San Francisco certainly tied, if not exceeded, New York's talent pool.
As we get ready to make our way to Hollywood, there was one metaphor for the audition round that was too perfect to pass up. Urban likened the initial talent finding to Christmas shopping around the country. As much as he may have been trying to joke about it, that's the auditions in a nutshell. Hollywood is Christmas Day, and the judges will either be giddy with joy or disappointed with their "gifts."
Singing is a big part of these every contestant's life. Many of them make that known in the pre-interview. That's also why it's OK that someone like Christopher Michael, that guy who almost punched a hole in his guitar, truly believes he's a rock star. At least the guy had passion and gave it his all.
Here are the five best from the last audition:
5. Daniel Seavey doesn't like being compared to Justin Bieber, but the 15-year-old, who looked 12, had some serious chops like the Biebs. His choice of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was a gamble, but it was a warm performance. It sounded like he was working through puberty though. The judges pointed out that his voice is just breaking. He's young. He's a project. They used him as a commercial cliffhanger, but there was never any doubt that Idol was going to pass on this guy. Seavey's guaranteed to bring in viewers who want to root for the underdog youngster. It was still a nice celebration moment afterward.
4. The popular vote went to Rocky Peter. He grew up homeless in Nigeria, struggling to find something to eat. "Music is one thing that does not have to be given to you, you can get it," he said, fully realizing the point of the show. There was a lot of genuine emotion coming through his original tune "Wrong Places." You could tell he was nervous, but those high notes were impressive. There was a moment when both Urban and Lopez were locked on him, having already made up their minds. "That's a soulful cat," Connick said. Definitely.
3. Adanna Duru had a little bit of a Fantasia Barrio vibe. Her big, diva voice matched that bubbly personality. "The full package," as J.Lo put it. Connick gave some decent advice about knowing what the lyrics are about, which is a great suggestion for all the young singers. It adds emotion. She almost smashed Ryan Seacrest with the door, which would have been awesome. A Google search of her name revealed she was on Season Three of The Voice. Looks like she matured and got better since then. Now she's looking to conquer the Idol realm.
2. Tyanna Jones flew in from Florida for the San Fran audition. She was one of those people who you could tell just sang in the mirror to herself. She's extremely talented with a long way to go, which was a solid assessment from Connick. She'll get better and iron out her pitch problems in Hollywood.
1. Hunter Larsen had a shine about her walking into the room. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she's from Malibu. Or maybe it came from her undeniable star quality. Lopez was drawn to the "gritty tone" in her voice. "It was immediate," Urban added. "You're an original." She's going to go far in this competition as long as she makes smart song choices. The Frank Sinatra number didn't do her justice.