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American Idol fans know that when a judge says “you’re going to Hollywood”, that’s very good news. These words were spoken by former Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler to UC Berkeley undergraduate Kyle Crews recently when he auditioned for the show in San Diego, which also happens to be his hometown.

Crews, who dedicated his rendition of Monica’s “Angel of Mine” to Tyler’s fellow judge Jennifer Lopez (telling host Ryan Seacrest beforehand that he couldn’t stop thinking of her “voluptuous lips”), made an impression despite his loud plaid shirt (“you’re going to have to lose that shirt,” said Tyler). Third judge Randy Jackson simply whooped and declared: “That’s crazy. You sound nothing like you look.”

The 19-year-old, whois an enthusiastic member of Cal’s Kappa Alpha fraternity, will now go through to the next rounds in Hollywood.

It’s safe to say his audition was a marked improvement on the last known Cal student to tread the American Idol boards. The 2004 audition of William Hung, then a UC Berkeley engineering student, was so cringe-makingly bad, Hung went on to become quite the internet sensation.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...