At Monday's "Northern California Idol" auditions, Alexandria Mazerolle, wearing a sleek, black, off-the-shoulder top and skinny blue jeans, blew the judges away with her rendition of one of her favorite songs Adele's "Rolling in the Deep."
The 21-year-old graduate of Yuba College from Marysville was declared the winner at the Thunder Valley casino in Lincoln, earning a guaranteed spot to compete for a chance at stardom at the Chicago auditions and $700 for the trip.
"I am so excited," Mazerolle said. "I never expected to win."
She said she probably stood out because she tries to do something different onstage and focuses on bringing in the audience.
She said she plans to work hard on her voice every day for the July 12 Chicago audition. Mazerolle's mother, Michele Mazerolle, said her daughter started performing age 5 and began taking private vocal lessons at 8.
Mazerolle bested about 500 other hopefuls who showed up at the audition sponsored by Channel 40 (KTXL). Two-hundred people had preregistered online for the auditions; hundreds of others lined up as early as the night before to compete in the preliminary round. Mazerolle, who was preregistered, still showed up at 4 a.m. to claim her spot in line.
"She looked like she was on TV, dressed like she was on TV," final-round judge Marty DeAnda, chief executive officer of Sacramento's DIG Music and owner of Medium Rare Records, said of Mazerolle. "She had the overall strongest complete package."
The competition began at 7 a.m. and concluded almost six hours later. KTXL's creative services director, Greg Saunders, said organizers didn't want to leave anyone out.
"We try to get everybody through," he said. "Everyone deserves a shot."
"Northern California Idol" had two rounds preliminary and final. The 51 contestants who made it past the first round performed in front of three different judges and an audience of mostly family and friends on the casino's amphitheater stage. They were scored on vocal ability, stage presence and appearance (clothing, hair, makeup).
Final-round judges DeAnda and Jerry Perry, both of whom have judged for other television competitions such as "The X Factor," said they were looking for the whole package someone "American Idol" producers will think is marketable.
"We're looking for what the public will embrace," said Perry, a Sacramento-area music promoter. "I also need to see if they grow beyond themselves on the stage."
The final round had no lull, with one contestant following another with a few judges' comments in between.
The judges commended their top eight contestants, before narrowing the field to four.
"It got tougher and tougher," said DeAnda. "It was as close as it really seemed. We've all worked together before, and this is probably the most we've bumped heads."
Each of the top four were then asked to sing another song. Most of the audience members had moved next to the stage to be in the shade, but the sun did not burn out the crowd's enthusiasm, with people cheering loudly for their personal favorites.
The judges then named Mazerolle as No. 1.
"In the heart of hearts, we really want someone to represent our city," said DeAnda. "We want someone from Sacramento to hit it out of the park."