Hammonton resident Sarah Restuccio’s time on “American Idol” came to an end Wednesday during a particularly cutthroat night of competition.
The Hollywood round for the female contestants was brutal as 162 singers needed to be cut down to 20 by the end of this week. The women took the stage in groups of 10. They had to sing a song a cappella, which determined whether they would move onto the next round of group singing. The episode that aired Wednesday was not live.
Early in the show, announcer Ryan Seacrest made mention of Restuccio because she received her own segment during the season premiere last month.
“I was upset, of course, but amazing people got cut that day,” said Restuccio, 18, who sang Linda Ronstadt’s 1975 hit “You’re No Good.” It was not shown. “You can’t change it. I could have done better. I let my nerves get to me. I guess it’s understandable singing in front of those people. In Hollywood, when I was singing, they were all smiling at me. I felt a good vibe from all of them.”
“Idol” judges are Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson.
Restuccio had been to California once previously. She said it was awesome to return and see places that have been featured on reality TV shows such as the Saddle Ranch Chop House restaurant and High Voltage Tattoo. She flew out with her mother, who was the biggest help to her while she was there for a little more than a week.
The hardest thing about Hollywood was the whole thought of the competition, Restuccio said.
“Going against other people and seeing how many people were there, and all the amazing talent that was there with you,” said Restuccio, who added her mother helped her with her song.
Restuccio said she flew out in December to Hollywood with no expectations about how well she would do. She just hoped for the best.
“Every person was amazing in their own way in the genre of music that they did. Everyone was just so good and had a really, really good chance,” said Restuccio, who added she doesn’t know why she received so much attention during the show’s premiere episode.
Restuccio has already used her time on “Idol” to land more entertainment gigs.
The teenager currently sings Friday nights at the Pic-A-Lilli Inn in Shamong Township. She also started performing at the Watering Hole Cafe in Mays Landing and will be back there next month.
Restuccio is scheduled to graduate this June from Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City.
The teen plans to attend college, but she is not sure which one or her course of study. She wants to keep pursuing a music career and is supposed to head this summer to Nashville with her mother.
Restuccio has been studying with vocal coach Sal Dupree of Linwood for the past two years. Previous southern New Jersey Dupree students who have received national exposure through televised singing competitions include Tiffany Evans, of Egg Harbor Township, who won “Star Search” as a preteen in 2003 and Louis Gazzara, of Folsom, who made it into the “American Idol” top 32 as a teenager, also in 2003.
Restuccio is glad she tried out for “Idol” even though her stint on the show is over.
“I’m really happy that I did this. I’m happy that my mom wanted me to do this. It was a great experience, and it really gave me a lot of exposure,” said Restuccio, who added there is a clip on YouTube of her singing her country-rap-R&B mix version of “You’re No Good.”
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