‘American Idol’ recap: San Francisco treats?

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We’re with Steven Tyler, Hollywooooo can’t come soon enough for our tastes. Which is good, because that’s where “American Idol” is headed Thursday night.

The show made its final stop on the way there Wednesday night, pulling into San Francisco in search of a few more talented singers. That city is where the show discovered fan favorite Adam Lambert a couple of years back, Ryan Seacrest reminds us. “Can the Bay area bring it back again?”

Here’s what the Bay area brought us: A woman complaining about being rejected by the judges for passing gas, untold throngs complaining about being pooped on by seagulls as they awaited their auditions, another belly dancer, a guy dressed like a car, a guy dressed like a monkey, a glimpse of some streakers, and a few people who can really sing.

Oh, and an occasionally crabby Steven Tyler.

“Who’s gonna be the mean one?” Jennifer Lopez asks as she takes her seat at the judges’ table.


“Steven Tyler. Steven Tyler’s gonna be the mean one,” Randy predicts.

Tyler wasn’t mean, actually, but he and the rest of the judges were perhaps more no-nonsense than usual.

They were unmoved, for instance, by self-described “unique creature” Inessa Lee’s baby-voiced banter and bodacious belly dancing, denying her a trip to Hollywood but probably not a stint in the spotlight. On her way out, a teary, angry Inessa tells us we haven’t seen the last of her. She’s right -- here’s the steamy music-video “Idol” showed glimpses of during the show: We also haven’t heard the last of …

Stefano Langone, who survived a nearly fatal accident less than two years ago and wowed the judges with his rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Lopez says he has “real star quality,” “movie star good looks,” and a voice with a good tone. He gets a “big, big yes” and survives his audition to head to Hollywood.

Clint “Jun” Gamboa, who has honed his skills singing gospel in churches and karaoke as a host at a dive bar. The judges praise the “beautiful tone” in his take on “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars and send him through.

Julie Zorrilla, dressed in desirably sparkly shoes and celebrating her 20th birthday, tells the story of her family’s escape from guerrilla-plagued Colombia. The judges love her version of “Summertime” –- “fabulous,” “great range,” “great star quality” –- and give her the “best birthday present ever”: a golden ticket.

Emily Anne Reed, whose house burned down and has what Lopez dubs “probably the most interesting voice we’ve heard in eight cities.” Steven, who has ripped into a series of not-good performers before Emily enters to sing, in an undeniably distinct voice, “Getting to be a Habit With Me,” initially declares her unready. But Jennifer and Randy disagree. She sings again and sails through. ‘I was right,’ Jennifer says.

James Durbin, a contestant with a memorable backstory and what we’re told is “the voice we’ve been waiting for.” Durbin’s musician father died of a drug overdose when he was just 9, and shortly afterward, Durbin was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and Asperger’s syndrome. Now living with his girlfriend and their child, struggling to get by and barely able to afford diapers, Durbin’s music is his refuge -- “When I sing, it just all goes away. I don’t have a care in the world,” he says -- and possibly his ticket out. After he slays Led Zeppelin’s “You Shook Me” and, with permission from Tyler, Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” it’s at least his ticket to the next round.

And -- hooray! -- it’s off to Hollywood.

-- Amy Reiter