David Archuletta

One of Utah's most successful talent-show competitors is headed for Hollywood and the next round of the "American Idol" auditions. David Archuletta of Murray, who was a big winner on "Star Search" in 1993, advanced to the next round after wowing the judges at his San Diego audition.

The Murray High student (who turned 17 on Dec. 28, after he auditioned) sang a rendition of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." Randy Jackson even sang a bit of backup vocals as he and Paula Abdul danced along.

"I was impressed," Jackson said.

"I think you have a nice tone — mature for your young age. And you're a sweetheart," Abdul gushed.

Even Simon Cowell had nothing negative to say, praising Archuletta's song choice and agreeing wholeheartedly when Jackson said he was "100 million percent" in favor of sending Archuletta to Hollywood.

The ever-emotional Abdul added, "I want to squish you."

And, no doubt, Archuletta won a few hearts when he talked to host Ryan Seacrest about the vocal paralysis he suffered after winning the junior singer category and $100,000 on the CBS version of "Star Search" in 1993.

"It was giving me a hard time, just talking even," said Archuletta, who decided against "risky" surgery because he "didn't really want to take the risk because I wanted to sing."

After winning on "Star Search" in 2003, Archuletta was invited back the following year and won three head-to-head challenges before being ousted from the show.