Local singer appears on ‘American Idol’

Palooza karaoke-night regular Anthony Guzman gets Gold Ticket to Hollywood|

It seems that in the long history of TV’s “American Idol,” the singing competition show that began in 2002, there has never been a contestant dressed as a Viking. Until last Sunday.

Santa Rosa resident Anthony Guzman, 27, made it through the two preliminary Zoom auditions and dressed in full Viking fight gear to deliver a unique version of the standard “Cry Me a River.” A more appropriate song might have been “Weep Me a Fjord” considering his outfit.

After his performance in front of the judging panel, country singer and judge Luke Bryan commented that Guzman needs to take himself seriously. Bryan was clearly referring to Guzman’s get up, as his singing was spot on. He took his singing of the Arthur Hamilton-written song very seriously.

Bryan voted not to send Guzman on to the next stop. Judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie both voted to send him to Hollywood. Perry commented, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Richie told the Santa Rosa delivery person, “You can seriously sing. Now I want you to take yourself serious.”

Now he goes to Hollywood for the next round. It is unclear what kind of costume choice Guzman may make. His musical background until last November, when the “American Idol” episode was taped, has always been a bit more edgy. “At my core, I’m always going to be a metalhead,” Guzman said.

Guzman was reached by telephone during a break from his job in Santa Rosa. Hollywood may beckon, but “I have a blue collar job,” Guzman related.

As a way of explaining his “modern Viking” look, Guzman said, “I started falling in love with the old traditional Viking culture. I love mythology, I love the history… there are so many people who are into this Viking thing… there’s hundreds of thousands of us across the world.” Asked if he has any Scandinavian blood, Guzman said, “I have a little tiny, tiny bit. I am mostly Italian and Spanish.”

Guzman is a 2011 graduate of Forestville’s El Molino High School. He was active in the El Mo theater arts program, and later in Santa Rosa Junior College’s. He appeared in “Les Miserables” and “Fiddler on the Roof” at El Mo. At SRJC, he appeared again in “Les Miz,” “Grease,” “Camelot” and “Phantom of the Opera,” where he played the title role. Since graduating from SRJC, Guzman also has been busy with local theater and has been honing his metal edge with his band Nuclear Tempest.

Guzman has recently been a regular at the Karaoke Night events on Fridays at the Palooza in Kenwood. Those shows begin at 7 p.m. He no doubt performs some of those old classics, in addition to some headbanging tunes.

Besides being a working-class guy and karaoke junkie, Guzman has been very active on all the usual social media platforms. “They found me on Instagram through one of my covers (songs). It was pretty flattering,” Guzman said. Typically, would be contestants and “Idol” wannabees must take a far more circuitous route to the stage.

The next time TV viewers see Guzman, he will be in front of the judges in Hollywood, where the going gets rough. The episode was actually filmed in December, but Guzman was sworn to secrecy regarding the outcome. In fact, an “American Idol” publicist was listening in on the phone call, to interrupt Guzman if he started to spill the beans.

Guzman was allowed to say, “Hollywood week was fun,” with the tone in his voice revealing nothing of the outcome. We will have to tune in next time to see if Guzman moves on toward the title of American Idol or sails his Viking dragon ship into the sunset.

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