Move Over, Chief

Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri and his wife, Karen, flank ther daughter Rachel as she shows off her Goldern Ticket to American Idol.

As American Idol contestant, Rolleri’s daughter now more famous than he

One bright spot in the midst of winter is the return of my favorite competition show American Idol which premiered Jan. 15. Each season auditions are held in several cities and then excerpts are aired. The judges were visibly delighted to meet a promising young lady during auditions in San Francisco: Danville’s own 17-year-old Rachel Rolleri who just happens to be the daughter of Alameda’s Chief of Police, Paul Rolleri. After last season’s bizarre banter between two of the judges caused many of the most devoted fans to swear off the show for good, this season things are looking (and warming) up with the talented trio of new judges: Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. Eligible contestants perform in front of the judges by singing an exerpt from a song of their choice a capella, meaning no band, no back-up singers and most often, no take two.

Rachel delivered her own spin on “Stay” by Sugarland with a touch of blues, a beautiful voice and a surprising amount of understated confidence for someone her age. Rachel received high praise from all three judges. As a huge fan of his music (thanks in part to her parents), the cherry on top for Rachel must have been the compliment from Urban on how well she plays the guitar. The judges’ votes (three yesses) earned Rachel the coveted “Golden Ticket” upon which she will fly straight through to the next round of competition in Hollywood — what better place for this California girl to shine? Norma Pilone is a former Alameda resident now living in New Jersey, and a fan of American Idol. She will be following Rachel Rolleri’s progress this season with an eye toward references to Alameda’s chief of police.