When "American Idol" cameras pan over the thousands of hopeful contestants in San Francisco next week, one Folsom musician can feel secure of his place in line.
Adam Roth, 28, might not have garnered such security if Tuesday's "Northern California Idol" pre-auditions at Thunder Valley Casino Resort had generated the predicted 1,200 contestants.
Roth was near the end of the line for the first round of judging, but with only about 120 competitors, he made it through the initial cut with the 37th finalist badge of the 39 given out.
The former Sierra College student will advance Tuesday to regionals in San Francisco, where he is guaranteed an audition. His grand prize also included a $100 gift card for travel expenses.
The pre-auditions included two rounds of brief a capella performances.
The crowd first threaded through a small tent where three judges voted whether singers would advance. Christopher K of KDND 107.9, Kelly Rogers and Liz Benson of Skip's Music deliberated on each candidate before making a decision, sometimes giving critiques or suggestions.
Contestants were advised to put away anything they were holding, choose a contemporary song, vary the dynamics between the verse and the refrain and improve pitch.
Billy Joel, Carrie Underwood, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and Mariah Carey were a few artists whose works were commonly chosen for the auditions, though there was a mix of pop, country, and rhythm and blues.
Mica Parris, 26, sang Beyoncé's "Listen." Parris was first in line and the first to audition, and she walked out of the tent with the first finalist badge around her neck.
"I think I have the components they're looking for," she said at 6 a.m. before the gates opened. "I love it all so much. It's not just about the singing, it's about the business of it. I just try to do as much with it as I can."
Parris said she's been singing since she was 3 years old, and has had extensive musical experience, including other television show auditions. On NBC'S "The Voice," She was chosen as artist on the rise and named girls got talent winner of Portland, Ore.
"I don't believe in luck. I believe in fate and in the Lord," she said before stepping onto the stage of Thunder Valley's outdoor amphitheater in front of three new judges for the second round of the "American Idol" preliminaries.
Marty DeAnda, CEO of DIG Music and owner of Medium Rare Records, Larisa Bryski, musician and vocal coach for Skip's Music, and Jerry Perry, music promoter, watched the finalists perform, ultimately selecting Roth from the pool. Contestants were scored for vocal ability, stage presence and appearance.
While many contestants showed up at the audition in colorful clothing such as Parris' shiny gold shoes, Roth stood out with his shaggy shoulder-length hair and bare feet. At one point, he sang a Green Day song, and for the finale performed his original song, "Make Believe."
Zoe Galgiani, Ashley Gomez, Rance Nichols and Sabrina Stafford were also named among the top five finalists.
Call The Bee's Morgan Searles, (916) 321-1102. Follow her in Twitter @morgansearles.