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Round 1: Auditions in San Francisco, part two

(Read the first part of this article here!

Strong presence
Just when the singers were looking bad, in walked Nadia Turner. She sang “Until You Come Back to Me.” Simon said, “I like you. You look good. Good voice. Nice choice of song.” Brandy said “I love your style and I love your voice.” Randy and Paula also gave a thumbs up.

Big bet
Victor Mercado auditioned in Hawaii last year and thought he had a better shot this time around. He sang “Build Me Up Buttercup,” and in unison, the judges said no. When Mercado argued, Simon said “Americans would hate you. If you can get a number one record in the next six months, I’ll pay you $50,000.” Randy chimed in, “I’ll pay $100,000.” Victor and Simon shake on the bet.

High notes prove to be downfall
Sweet sixteen Jessica Murphy came with her own fan club — three members of her family wearing shirts with her picture on them. She sings “I Have Nothing.” Simon says “When you first sing, you’re good. But when you hit the upper notes it all falls apart.” Randy told her, “If you work hard for the next couple of years with a good teacher, I think you could be good.”

Out to sea
The judges probably had high hopes when Chris Ciompi told them he had studied opera and sang on cruise ships. But his version of “Chain of Fools,” left them with painful looks on their faces. “What I’m puzzled about is you managed to get employment singing on a ship.” It’s a unanimous no.

Next Freddy Mercury?
Paula thinks Ivan Ganchev sounded just like Freddy Mercury of Queen when he sang “We are the Champions.” Brandy and Randy also like him. Simon said “You are a professional karaoke singer.” But his no vote is overruled by the other three.

Return of the Molfetta brother
You may remember that Rich and J.P. Molfetta auditioned together — were given nos despite an argument from Paula, and then Rich returned in New Orleans where he made it through to Hollywood. So it’s no surprise that J.P. showed up for his second chance in San Francisco. He sang Babyface’s “Never Keeping Secrets.” Paula said “I feel like your stage presence is lacking.” Simon said “I think there’s a hint of desperation.” It’s the end of the road — the vote was no.

The San Francisco audition yielded 32 singers who made it past the judges. Next week, American Idol begins the elimination rounds in Hollywood to see which of the 193 hopefuls make it.

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