The final audition episode of American Idol's tenth season returned to San Francisco, where judges discovered Adam Lambert in season eight. While there were a good number of backstories that tugged at the heartstrings, the vocal talent revealed in the seventh audition of the season was a mixed bag. Here are some of the songs featured in the San Francisco auditions for American Idol.
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" has become an American Idol standard for male vocalists, so it was no surprise that Stefano Langone chose the song to audition with. Although his vocal was very affected, it was clear to the judges that Stefano had more going for him than just his story of coming back from an accident that originally left him in a wheelchair. Originally recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles in 1966, the version released by Marvin Gaye in 1968 remains the most iconic version. Among American Idol contestants to perform the song are Kevin Covais in season 5, Danny Gokey in season 8, and Andrew Garcia in season 9.
While Travie McCoy is going to get the main credit for "Billionaire" being used on American Idol's San Francisco auditions, it was Bruno Mars's vocal that helped karaoke DJ Clint Jun Gamboa proceed to Hollywood week. "Billionaire" was one of two featured billings on top 10 singles that Bruno Mars racked up prior to releasing his first solo single "Just the Way You Are," which went to #1 in 2010. Although the song came out too late to be used in season 9, "Billionaire" was performed by group FYD on series 7 of X Factor.
Julie Zorrilla continued the trend of bringing an emotional past story to the audition with tales of her family's escape from Columbia to the United States, but her vocals would have gotten her through to the next round either way. Choosing "Summertime" was a bold decision, but it won praise from judge Randy Jackson, who commented that he has not liked any versions of the song since season three winner Fantasia put her own spin on the song which is widely acknowledged as one of American Idol's top 10 performances. "Summertime" was originally written for the opera Porgy and Bess, but the first artist who charted on the pop chart with the composition was Billie Holiday, who recorded the song in 1936.
If viewers thought that selecting a Gershwin composition for an American Idol audition was a bit unorthodox, they were probably stunned by the next song featured in the San Francisco audition episode. Emily Anne Reed performed "You're Getting To Be a Habit With Me," which was originally written and recorded for the movie 42nd Street back in 1932. The combination of Emily Anne's tale of her home burning down days before the audition and her unique vocal delivery make her one to watch once the Hollywood week portion of the show commences. Among the artists who have recorded "You're Getting To Be a Habit With Me" are Diana Krall, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and Peggy Lee.
James Durbin's performance was hyped throughout the show as "the one," and his delivery of "You Shook Me" did not disappoint, although it was very reminiscent of Adam Lambert's vocal style. Making the performance even more compelling was the revelation prior to James Durbin singing was that James suffers from both Tourette syndrome and Asbergers syndrome. Selecting a Muddy Waters song might sound obscure, but "You Shook Me" has also been recorded by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck and B.B. King.