2007-08-24 / Front Page

Teen Heads To American Idol Auditions In Philly

By Miriam Rosenberg

Ateenager from Far Rockaway is heading to Philadelphia to audition for American Idol, the number one television show that has taken the nation by storm.

John Guerrero, who is heading to Philadelphia to try out for American Idol, said he plans to sing pop or hip hop for the audition.  John Guerrero, who is heading to Philadelphia to try out for American Idol, said he plans to sing pop or hip hop for the audition. John Guerrero, 18, of Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway will be auditioning on August 27 with other American Idol hopefuls at the Wachovia Center in Philly on August 27.

"People said I have talent," said Guerrero. Auditioning "was suggested by one of my friends."

Guerrero left Thursday for the city of brotherly love - which once played host to American Bandstand, another wildly popular program that helped give numerous pop and rock 'n' roll artists their start.

"I understand we audition before two others…[including] the producer," continued Guerrero. "Then if he passes us, we audition for Paula, Randy and Simon," he said, referring to the show's stars: former cheerleader and pop singer, Paula Abdul, music producer, Randy Jackson and the caustic Simon Cowell, perhaps the show's numberone draw.

Joining Guerrero on his journey will be his 20-year-old sister, Erika.

"She's very supportive," said Guerrero about his sister. "Everybody thinks I can do it."

His enrollment at Forest Hills High School helped bring out the talent of the teenager, who may be bound for not just Philadelphia, but stardom.

"I performed at a talent show in my school," said Guerrero, who joined the choir when he got to Forest Hills High. "I did well. My teacher said it was the perfect way to end my high school career."

Guerrero graduated from Forest Hills High in June and is putting college on hold to take the plunge into show business.

"He was getting jumped every day at IS 53," said his mother Lydia Guerrero, about the reason why they took the step of having her son live weekdays with his grandmother, while attending Forest Hills High School.

Guerrero, who had a 50 average at IS 53, saw his average soar to an 89.4 upon graduating from Forest Hills High.

The young man says both his parents are supporting his efforts.

"I knew he could sing, but I was in the audience at the talent show and I started to cry when he started to sing," said his mother. "I was just amazed. You close your eyes and he sounds like John Legend. I have so much faith in him."

Like his mother, Guerrero knows that it is not certain he will get picked the first time he auditions for the show - and even if he does, he may have to suffer harsh comments and rejection from the American public, or worse, Cowell.

"There's always next year," he said, confident that the American Idol phenomenon isn't about to run out of steam. In its five years on the air, the show has given rise to two major recording artists - Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

Lydia Guerrero compared her son to one of last year's Idol contestants - Blake Lewis.

"I think he's going to do very well," she said of her son. Either way, we're still proud of him.

"I think he is going to be the next star coming out of Far Rockaway."

In addition to Erika, Guerrero has twin sisters - Marisol and Angie, whom his parents are adopting - and a younger brother, James, who will turn two on the day of the audition.

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