The Long Island music scene rejoiced Wednesday as two of their own advanced to the Hollywood round on "American Idol" Tuesday night.
Medford's Leah Laurenti wowed the judges with her jazzy take on "Blue Skies," prompting judge Randy Jackson to call her "one of the best I've heard today." In a segment before her performance, Laurenti, 22, said she "grew up in church and didn't listen to mainstream music."
Stealing Jane singer Bryce Larsen of Greenvale was shown briefly getting a golden ticket to the next round, prompting a lot of double takes. Wednesday, the graduate of C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville was fielding congrats from his alma mater and from the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, where his band opened in 2009 for Idina Menzel.
Larsen and Laurenti sang at "Idol's" Boston auditions.
Meanwhile, despite losing judge Paula Abdul, "Idol" started its ninth season on a high note with an estimated audience of nearly 30 million people. Tuesday night's viewership nearly matched last year's season debut audience of 30.4 million, according to preliminary Nielsen Co. figures released yesterday, The Associated Press reported.
It was the first test of how viewers would respond to "American Idol" without Abdul, who left over a salary dispute.