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LI 'American Idol' hopeful headed to Hollywood after powerful Billy Joel cover

Christiaan Padavan wowed the judges Monday night with a performance of Billy Joel's "Vienna."

Christiaan Padavan auditions on "American Idol."

Christiaan Padavan auditions on "American Idol." Photo Credit: ABC / Nicole Rivelli

Christiaan Padavan of Hampton Bays successfully auditioned on ABC's "American Idol" show airing Monday night, earning a place on the upcoming Hollywood round of the long-running TV singing competition.

"I feel like I'm in a dream,” Padavan said on the show as he walked onstage at the New York City auditions, shot a month before his 20th birthday on Dec. 4. After kibitzing with judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — with Bryan jocularly asking if "rich [Hamptons] ladies loaded up on wine try to hit on you" — Padavan opened with "Vienna" by Hicksville native Billy Joel "to represent Long Island," he said proudly.

"When he plays the Garden there's part of his show where he gives the audience a choice of songs, and 'Vienna' is a fan favorite," Padavan told Newsday Tuesday. "And Ariana Grande did a cover of it a few years back when she started to blow up, so I thought it’d be relatable to different generations."

The Hollywood Reporter complimented Padavan on "a throwback voice with a bit of a crooner vibe." Entertainment Weekly opined, "The power in his voice is surprising," though TVLine.com pronounced the performance only "just fine" and compared it to karaoke.

The three judges were impressed enough to each give him the Hollywood go-ahead, with Perry saying, "Christiaan, we just knew, when you opened your mouth, that you were going" on.

She also insisted, simply for fun, that the Southampton-born Padavan bring his girlfriend, a nervous and embarrassed Victoria Ziccardi, onstage, where, with Padavan playing baritone ukulele, they performed a duet of Britney Spears' 2003 “Toxic." Host Ryan Seacrest chatted with Padavan's parents, Jeff and Susan, backstage while the couple sang. Afterward Padavan gave Ziccardi a kiss and Perry and Richie hugged the very game girl.

"I had no idea” his girlfriend would be asked to come onstage, Padavan told Newsday. "Had no clue at all."

Then Padavan, also at Perry's request, concluded his audition with an a cappella snippet of "New York, New York," popularized by Frank Sinatra.

"Well … I'M GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!!!" wrote Padavan on Instagram Tuesday. "Thank you to everyone for their amazing support and friendship towards me. It means the world knowing that everyone believes in my dream as much as I do. Thank you @lionelrichie @katyperry and @lukebryan for the chance of a lifetime I can't thank everyone enough! This one's for Long Island!!! Everyone give it up for @victoriaziccardi conquering one of her fears. Now, because of all the confidence and support everyone's given her, we might have to get a gig together, huh? … New York is going to Hollywood, baby!!!"

Padavan, who attended Five Towns College for two semesters and then Suffolk County Community College for one, performs frequently throughout Long Island and New York City, often with his band Away for the Day. He works as a marketing assistant at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and an intern at WBEA/101.7 FM "The Beach," in Water Mill.

Hollywood Week begins Sunday (8 p.m., ABC/7) on "Idol."

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