Del. dude forgets lyrics, still makes 'American Idol' Top 40

Chris Watson, a Dover, Del.-raised singer-songwriter who lives in New Jersey, performing animatedly during 2013 group auditions for "American Idol," with inset showing his sedater side during 2007 tryout.
Chris Watson, a Dover, Del.-raised singer-songwriter who lives in New Jersey, performing animatedly during 2013 group auditions for "American Idol," with inset showing his sedater side during 2007 tryout.
Posted: February 16, 2013

American Idol announced its Top 40 Thursday night, and, alas, none is from the immediate Philadelphia area.

The most local performer left is Chris Watson, a head-scarf-sporting dude who grew up in Dover, Del., and lives in Central Jersey, near the nexus of the turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

No one else remains from Pennsylvania or those adjacent states.

Gone are Taylor Ivy Rand, the Chickie's & Pete's hostess who graduated from Girls High; Courtney Calle, a student at Council Rock North; and Zach Birnbaum, a student at Cherry Hill High School West.

All three made it as far as group night in Hollywood, getting a little on-air singing time, before getting the heave-ho - along with more than 220 other warbling wannabes.

Other dismissed Hollywood invitees from the region were Sarah Restuccio, a Hammonton, Camden County, high school student; Emily Fritz of Lancaster; Nick Rodriguez of Bordentown, Burlington County; Christian Foti, of Galloway, N.J., north of Atlantic City.

Restuccio even got the mini bio treatment, with cameras capturing her on the family farm, then impressing the judges in her initial audition by rapping "Super Bass" after doing a Carrie Underwood song during her audition.

When Watson first tried out in 2007, he had a smooth vibe and dreadlocks and brazenly declared on air, "I want to be a legend ... I want to sell more records after I'm dead and gone than when I'm alive." Simon Cowell told him after his audition he looked like a star and "may have quite an interesting recording voice."

Afterward, Watson said, "I'm think I'm going to go really far with this, really far."

Not so fast. Watson didn't make the Top 24, as Jordin Sparks went on to be the last female to win American Idol.

Cut to 2013.

Now Watson has an Afro, seems to joke and smile more, and lives in Fords, Middlesex County, N.J.

In an interview at, he said his style makes him unique, that he likes to stand out, and he was indeed a bit of a ham, strutting across the stage, as his group B Side messed up Maroon 5's "Pay Phone" in Hollywood. The lyrics were so botched, the show ran captions with the likes of "Daaa daaaa everything gone wrong."

Judge Jackson called the group's performance a "train wreck" and Watson admitted, "I forgot my lyrics, but I'm still going to come out here and have a good time."

Amazingly, Watson and the turbaned Gurpreet Sarin, who hails from outside Washington, D.C., were put through - and both went on to make the Top 40.

Here's who made it, divided by gender. The list, by the way, matches one leaked weeks ago, after the Hollywood rounds were taped in mid-December.

Top 20 males

Bryant Tadeo, 23, Hilo, Hawaii.

Burnell Taylor, 19, New Orleans, La.

Charlie Askew, 17, Little Rock, Ark.

Chris Watson 25 years, Fords, N.J.

Cortez Shaw, 21, Dallas, Texas.

Curtis Finch, Jr., 24, St. Louis, Mo.

David Willis, 21, Mount Dora, Fla.

Devin Velez, 18, Chicago, Ill.

Elijah Liu, 18, Rowland Heights, Calif.

Gupreet Singh Sarin, 22, North Potomac, Md.

Jimmy Smith, 25, Waynesboro, Tenn.

Johnny Keyser, 24, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Joshua "Josh" Holiday, 24, Celeste, Texas

Joshua "JDA" Davila, 27, Chicago, Ill.

Kevin Harris, 28, Montgomery, Ala.

Lazaro Arbos, 21, Naples, Fla.

Mathenee Treco, 26, Aurora, Colo.

Nick Boddington, 27, Memphis, Tenn.

Paul Jolley, 22, Palmersville, Tenn.

Vincent "Vince" Powell, 29, Austin, Texas.

Top 20 girls

Adriana Latonio, 17, Anchorage, Alaska.

Amber Holcomb, 18, Houston, Texas.

Angela Miller, 18, Beverly, Mass.

Aubrey Cleland, 19, West Linn, Ore.

Brandy Hotard, 26, Port Allen, La.

Breanna Steer, 18, Laplace, La.

Bridget "Jett" Hermano, 25, Seattle, Wash.

Candice Glover, 23, St. Helena Island, S.C.

Christina Isabelle Pasqualone, Boston, Mass.

Cristabel Clack, 29, San Antonio, Texas

Janelle Arthur, 23, Oliver Springs, Tenn.

Jenny Beth Willis, 17, Owensboro, N.Y.

Juliana Chahayed, 15, Woodland Hills, Calif.

Kamaria Ousley, 29, Oakland, Calif.

Kree Harrison, 22, Nashville, Tenn.

Melinda Ademi, 19, Yonkers, N.Y.

Rachel Hale, 21, Prescott, Ariz.

Shubha Vedula, 17, Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Tenna Torres, 28, Queens, N.Y.

Zoanette Johnson, 20, Tulsa, Okla.

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Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or

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