Steven Tyler Loses His Cool on 'Idol,' the Judges Find 'The One' at San Fran Auditions
"Just because somebody farts, you let them finish singing."
And so began "American Idol" auditions in San Francisco last night (Feb. 9), as a disgruntled Southern blonde stormed away from the judges in tears, disparaging their apparent intolerance of flatulating-tone-deaf-"Idol" wannabes. But she would not be the only one upset in San Fran, as judge Steven Tyler's patience for talentless contestants wore thin at times -- and at one point in the episode, he totally lost his cool.
However, the City by the Bay didn't disappoint ultimately. If anything, last night's round of contestants had some of the most moving back stories ever seen -- -- ending the season 10 auditions on a high note.
After a slew of other forgettables, Stefano Langone, 21, almost single-handedly restored the judges' faith in humanity. The Kent, Wash. native was not only adorable -- think: a cleaner cut "Jersey Shore"-type -- but he survived a near-fatal car wreck in May 2009 and had all the scars to prove it. Between his inspiring recovery and sweet demeanor -- not to mention killer take on "Heard it Through the Grapevine -- he sailed through to Hollywood.
Karaoke DJ Clint Jun Gamboa of Long Beach kicked off Day 2 in San Fran with a not-so-subtle take on Bruno Mars' "Billionaire," and the judges were feeling lenient so he made it along.
Then there was Transformer Guy, aka Drew Beaumeier, whose elaborate Transformer costume and rendition of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" earned him laughs and the best exit line of the night (second best to gassy girl): "I don't want to be a car for the rest of my life."
And, we had oh-so-sweet Julie Zorrilla, who turned 20 the day she wowed the judges with the most stirring version of "Summertime" since Fantasia brought down the "Idol" house. Her incredible story of fleeing Colombia amidst guerilla rule was the cherry on top of a memorable performance that left the judges mostly speechless, but in a good way.
Oh, and she had on pretty gold shoes that had J-Lo swooning and Steven gushing. "You have a fabulous, beautiful star quality." Zorrilla skipped out of the room screaming, "This is the best birthday present ever!" Meanwhile, J.Lo contemplated whether she was destined to be the season's big winner.
Soon walked in Emily Anne Reese, 26, of Arlington, Virgina, and wowed the judges with her survivor past (she lost everything in a house fire) and sweet, airy, almost nymph-like tone. "She has the most interesting voice from all eight cities," said Jennifer Lopez. On to Hollywood she went.
The final contestant, James Durbin, 21, of Santa Cruz, Calif. pulled any as-yet-untagged heart-strings with his touching past (his father O.D.'d when he was nine, he has Tourette's Syndrome) and brave move to sing Tyler's own "Dream On." The singer, who is already drawing Adam Lambert comparisons with his incredible range, will no doubt be a favorite during Hollywood Week -- which kicks off tonight on "Idol."
(Editing by Jillian Mapes, Billboard)