MANASQUAN — A musician and surfer from Monmouth County is among the "first" to land a ticket to Hollywood on the new season of American Idol.
Cole Hallman, of Manasquan, shared the early release of his audition for the music competition series to Facebook on Sunday, hours before it hit ABC.
The 22-year-old Hallman — with his mother, Nicolle, and sister, Katie, by his side — ultimately impresses celebrity judges, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.
Bryan calls him an "authentic voice," while Perry said "You can just hear your heart — your heart is in your voice," before the trio welcomes Hallman's mother and sister into the audition space.
Hallman then sings a short duet of a Rolling Stones' classic with his sister, Katie, who has a chromosomal deletion. (She appears often on her brother's TikTok feed, especially leading up to the big "Idol" reveal.)
Their duet earns a standing ovation from Richie, Perry and Bryan, who says Hallman sang "20% better with his sister."
Perry says he needs to sing like he's always with his sister "that's where the joy is, that's where the happiness is."
They then deliver the news that Hallman has been sent through to California for season 20.
Hallman's father, David, retired as superintendent of Belmar Elementary School (the district serves pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade) within the past year.
Ahead of his big primetime debut, Hallman played a weekend gig in Asbury Park at Langosta Lounge with cover band, The Orange Blossoms.
He also has played at the Stone Pony, as he shared a video clip to TikTok, captioned that he used to be a barback there (the bar equivalent of a restaurant busser).
As a New Jersey native, it's not much of a surprise that Hallman does list Bruce Springsteen among his top 10 influences (also on TikTok) — though lower than Jack Johnson, the Hawaiian "mellow surf" rock star.
Hallman is a 2021 graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, according to his Linkedin profile.
More than 6,000 people took the plunge into the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 26, 2022 to raise more than $2 million for the Special Olympics New Jersey.
Best coffee shops & cafes near NJ beaches
When it comes to food, New Jersey is known for many things such as pizza and pork roll. Don't count us out when it comes to coffee.
With all the hustle and bustle involved in the average New Jersey resident's day, coffee is essential. It doesn't matter whether you're living in the cities of North Jersey or the vacation spots at the shore.
In fact, as the former owner of two Jersey shore coffee houses, Coffee Dot Comedy in Sea Isle City and the Daily Grind in Ocean Grove, I know firsthand how much people at the Jersey shore love their coffee.
With respect to that, I asked my social media following where the best coffee houses at the Jersey Shore were, especially since my two places no longer exist.
Below is what they came up with. (And see this other article for their coffee shop and cafe recommendations for Central Jersey.)
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Every NJ pizza joint Barstool's Dave Portnoy has reviewed
Dave Portnoy, commonly known as El Presidente, is the founder of Barstool Sports. Somewhere along the way, he decided to start reviewing local pizzerias, and the concept took off. Here is every New Jersey pizzeria Dave has stopped in, along with the score he gave them.
According to Thompson Island's Article on the differences between a craft brewery, microbrewery, brewpub & gastropub, it says:
"A brewpub is a hybrid between a restaurant and a brewery. It sells at least 25% of its beer on-site in combination with significant food services. At a brewpub, the beer is primarily brewed for sale inside the restaurant or bar. Where it's legally allowed, brewpubs may sell beer to go or distribute it to some offsite destinations."
New Jersey has tons of Brewpubs, some of which have been around for years and some that have just opened in the past year.