SAN FRANCISCO - It was no doubt the worst kept secret this city had known. Fox officials made it clear earlier this week that they didn't want the general public to know that the second-round of tryouts for "American Idol" Season 10 would be held at the Westin St. Francis Hotel on Union Square.

But that was difficult to keep under wraps as shrieking teenagers exited the hotel waving a Gold Ticket and proclaiming, "I'm going to Hollywood," on Wednesday afternoon.

Show execs will forever label this as the season that Simon Cowell is no longer on the judging panel.

"Replace Cowell?" said Ken Warwick, one of the show's executive producers, on Wednesday. "You can't do that.

"People always ask us 'Who is going to fill that (Cowell's) role?' What I think happened was when Randy (Jackson), Steven (Tyler) and Jennifer (Lopez) were introduced to America, every other question was that. But we never said that. We weren't replacing Cowell, we were just looking at it as these are the people in place. It's a different game with these people. So, let's go with the chemistry among them.

"And I must say that this has worked brilliantly, absolutely brilliantly. With Steven you never know what you are going to get. He says exactly what he thinks. And then of course there is Jennifer, who looks striking on camera at 9 o'clock in the morning and just as fabulous at 9 o'clock at night."

San Francisco was "Idol's" final second-round-of-audition stops of the seven cities it visited for this season's show which premieres Jan. 12 and runs through the finals show in May.

Sonoma resident Carmina Salcido, who advanced past the first round last summer at AT&T Park, auditioned here this week, but announcement of her moving on or not in the competition won't be revealed until the show airs.

For more on "American Idol," read Bill Pinella's American Idol blog at