The 'American Idol' Honor Roll: Los Angeles Got Soul
The 'American Idol' Honor Roll: Los Angeles Got Soul
California's had its share of Idol big names, but as I pointed out yesterday, none of them auditioned in Los Angeles. Maybe San Francisco, yes, but not Los Angeles. I have a good feeling this year is going to be the exception. I'm calling out (and digging through) three singers from last night's auditions, proving that the backyard of the stars got soul--and that's where we kick off this edition of the American Idol honor roll.

The obligatory shoutout: Chris Golightly. I'm mentioning him only because his name is on the Top 24 spoilers. He's got a good enough voice, but it didn't catch my attention much like my two Los Angeles standouts. Was it the back story? Unfortunately, yes, especially with Kara literally confirming that it helped her "big Y" decision.

Honoree number one: Tasha Layton. When I first heard that she's singing a Joss Stone song, I was afraid. Surely you know this--Joss has a very distinct voice, and you can't remove it regardless of who sings it. That almost got in the way of me assessing Tasha's performance, but thankfully it's just an almost. She sings pretty well. (Also helps that she's cute. I mean, look at the photo on her Twitter page? That screams "album cover".)

The 26-year-old South Carolina native said she's a personal assistant by day and a minister by night--to be exact, at the Fountain Foursquare Church in Los Angeles, although I can't really find what exactly she does there. I spotted her Facebook profile, and turns out she's a big Jack Bauer fan.

There's this little exit interview she had with blogger Richard Rushfield after her audition, and she admitted this is her first time falling in line for Idol. (Her bit's around eight minutes in.)

It's unfortunate that I haven't seen her name on the spoilers list, but fingers crossed there's divine intervention. She's got it.

Honoree number two: Andrew Garcia. After last week's episodes, a couple of my friends from Los Angeles got pretty giddy. "Go watch Andrew Garcia next week!" they said, also surprised that I haven't heard of him, ever. Well, until now, at least.

He so did not need his back story. His voice grabs your attention just like that--soulful with some growl, the sort that sounds authentic (as opposed to Chris). He's also packaged quite nicely. I see him making the Top 12, and I see him making an album regardless of when he gets eliminated.

He's been performing for a while now--his MySpace page has this poster of a benefit show where he recently performed. While none of his songs are available for streaming on his MySpace page--which pretty much confirms that he's in the Top 24--some of his YouTube videos are still up:

And so is his Twitter page, just in case you found someone to follow throughout the next few months or so.

(Image courtesy of Andrew Garcia's MySpace page/Kris Lumague)