Coronavirus: Bay Area 'American Idol' contestant Francisco Martin shares journey, how COVID-19 has put the show on hold

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Friday, April 17, 2020
Local 'Idol' contestant shares journey, how COVID-19 has put the show on hold
San Francisco native Francisco Martin is a favorite among the American Idol judges and one of the top-20 contestants. He has been staying ready for live competition to begin while sheltering-in-place due to the COVID-19 crisis.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The last we saw "American Idol" contestant and San Francisco native Francisco Martin, he was labeled a "Top 10 talent" and earned his way to Hollywood.

Since then, he has earned his way to the Top 20 and now awaits the return of the show due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We caught up with Francisco from San Francisco to see how his Idol journey has gone so far and what life has been like while sheltering in place.

RELATED: 'American Idol' auditions: Katy Perry tells San Francisco contestant he is 'Top 10' talent

"Hollywood Week was as scary as it looks," Martin said. "I feel like TV doesn't really portray how stressful it really is. I lost my voice at the end of Hollywood Week and I lost my higher register. Hollywood Week was very hard and stressful, but it paid off in Hawaii."

After surviving the new genre and duet challenges in Hollywood, Martin earned a spot in the Top 40 and a trip to Hawaii for the next leg of the journey.

There, the shy kid who auditioned in Sun River, Oregon transformed into a star on stage, wowing the island fans thanks in part to a conversation he had with the Idol judges.

"The judges gave me a pep talk to just believe in them and believe in myself," Martin said. "Enough with the nervousness. I took their advice and took it to heart and I feel like the nervous kid from Sun River is definitely way far off from who I am now."

Unfortunately, just as Francisco earned a spot in the Top 20 and shook his nerves, the coronavirus pandemic put the show on hold.

He is taking the time while sheltering in place to look within while preparing for when live shows return to the ABC7 this Sunday.

RELATED: Bay Area 'American Idol' contestant Francisco Martin sings live on ABC7 News

"Even before quarantine, I was always in my studio in my room writing or recording music," Martin said. "I've been finding ways to meditate and listen to music. I just remembered why I'm here and why I'm doing this."

"American Idol" will look a little different when the show returns with virtual competition, but Francisco is staying as motivated as ever to win for himself and those he hopes to inspire.

"Prior to Idol, I was very insecure as a kid and I didn't want to do Idol," Martin said. "I thought that I wasn't even good enough to audition. I'm really starting to realize why I'm here and why I'm doing this: it's to inspire others who feel that way about anxiety who says, 'I can't do this. I'm not good enough.' It's possible and it's really nice that I can do that and use my platform for that."

You can see never-before-seen video of Francisco Martin this Sunday on ABC7 News during part two of the "This is Me" special.

ABC also announced that the Top 20 will resume competition on April 26, 2020 with virtual competition live from the contestants' homes.