Santa Rosa’s Anthony Guzman still in the running on ‘American Idol’

The third phase of this season’s “American Idol” is coming up this weekend, and singer Anthony Guzman, 27, who works as a forklift and delivery driver at a plumbing supply warehouse in Santa Rosa, is still very much in the running.

Up next are the “Showstopper” rounds in Los Angeles, airing at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, March 28-29, on KGO-TV, San Francisco. After the “Showstopper” rounds, the audience will find out which contestants will make the top 24.

This season’s competition continues until May.

“Regardless of whether I win or get cut early, I am always working on my performance career,” Guzman said by phone this week. “That never stops. I would love to do Broadway someday or cut an album. Who knows?”

Exchanging the Viking costume he wore for his “American Idol” audition last month for a slightly more understated black shirt and kilt, Guzman returned last Sunday for two more nights on the ABC singing competition, during the show’s Hollywood rounds.

After his success last month singing “Cry Me a River,” he picked another standard for his appearance in the show Sunday, performing “Fever,” first recorded by Little Willie John in 1956 and later made famous by Peggy Lee.

The two rounds included Sunday’s “Genre Challenge,” in which contestants chose one of six genres and performed a song from that genre — Guzman chose pop — and a “Duet Challenge” Monday night.

“I didn’t even think I’d get past the Genre Challenge,” Guzman said.

His duet success Monday night was a complete surprise to him. “Me and my boy Adriel Carrion crushed it in the duet round. Next stop: Showstoppers,” Guzman posted on his Facebook page.

“I hadn’t really talked to Adriel before,” Guzman said by phone. “We’re very different guys. I’m pretty loud and confident, and he’s shy — he’s 18 — so we had to adapt to each other. He’s really a cool kid.”

Guzman and Carrion teamed up on English singing star Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” from 2019, a tune performed so often by “Idol” contestants that judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan complained.

But just moments after Perry declared, “We’ve officially banned everyone from singing ‘Watermelon Sugar,’” Guzman and Carrion delighted them with a fresh cover version of the song. The duo even had the judges standing up and swaying to the music, and both singers were sent on to the next round of competition.

It wasn’t the first time Guzman got past the judges’ concerns. When he appeared in a Thor costume, complete with hammer, for the televised audition last month, Perry and Ritchie told him to get serious and Bryan wasn’t impressed.

By Monday, Guzman’s wardrobe consisted of a black leather jacket and jeans.

“I’m hoping to look more modern now, but I still have that Viking spirit,” he said. “It’s mainly about the music now and not the gimmick. I used that Viking outfit to get their attention.”

After singing two standards and a more recent hit on “Idol,” Guzman is contemplating his next song choice for the show.

“I’m definitely playing with the pop genre,” he said. “I won’t say what song I’m doing for the Showstopper round, but it’s an old favorite from the 2000s, more of a pop rock sound.”

After spending the first 13 years of his life in Vallejo, Guzman moved to Sonoma County and attended El Molino High School in Forestville, where he got involved in theater.

Guzman has been part of the Sonoma County arts scene for a decade already. He appeared in more than half a dozen local live theater productions, from 2011 through 2014. He went on to perform in several heavy metal bands.

If he makes it past the next rounds, Guzman might consider slipping a heavy metal song into the mix, he said.

So far, what he expected would be “five minutes of fame” has lasted a bit longer.

“This is definitely my biggest audience ever,” Guzman said. “The response has been overwhelming. I’ve heard from family and friends in Sonoma County and back East that I haven’t talked to for awhile. All I can say is, ‘thank you for the support.’”

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

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