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'American Idol' sends 5 Long Islanders to Hollywood

Long Islander Sal Valentinetti performed during the taping

Long Islander Sal Valentinetti performed during the taping of the Nassau Coliseum auditions for "American Idol" airing Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Photo Credit: Fox

Five Long Islanders are heading to the Hollywood rounds after the area “American Idol” auditions at Nassau Coliseum and the Brooklyn Marriott which aired on the show Thursday night.

Bethpage’s Sal Valentinetti, 19, opened the episode with his version of “Fly Me to the Moon,” winning a $100 bet with judge Harry Connick Jr., when he correctly named the song’s original title.

Jax, 18, who grew up on Long Island and now lives in New Jersey, impressed all the judges with her piano-driven interpretation of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” slowed-down and emotional. It was an audition that suggests a long run on the show.

Eric Lopez, 19, of Wading River, landed a ticket to Hollywood with his version of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” made even more difficult since one of the judges was Queen’s current singer Adam Lambert, who was filling in for regular judge Keith Urban.

Wantagh’s Adam Ezegalian, 20, landed his spot in Hollywood with a mix of a raucous version of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” and then a tender version of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” -- a combination that could take him deep into the competition. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” Connick told the toy design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I think you’re great.”

Baldwin’s Travis Finlay, 20, also showed plenty of potential with his version of Rihanna’s “Stay.” “You’re a star,” Lopez said. “You shine … You have something real.”

Lambert added, “I think you could do very well on the show.”

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