The eighth season of American Idol is here, and the excitement continues!The Top 36 have been reveled by Simon, Paula, Randy, and the newest fourth judge - Kara DioGuardi.I'll be writing a blog after every episode, staying up-to-date on all the scoop, to keep you posted on the hottest American Idol news!Now, it's up to America to decide who advances each week - bringing us closer to our next American Idol.Let the voting begin!
1) Anoop Desai is a 21 year old from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.I love his voice; he's very soulful.Anoop has been solid throughout the entire competition, which says a lot.
Watch the moment of truth, when Annop finds out he's in the Top 36.
2) Von Smith is a 22 year old from Kansas City, Missouri.I have to give a shout out to my fellow alumni at Mizzou!Go Tigers!Anyway, Von's parents are both singers.He has an incredible voice, but he looks so young!I guess that doesn't matter, considering how popular David Archuleta has become with the tweens.I love his song "Crush" by the way!As far as Von Smith goes, Simon called his songs during Hollywood week, "indulgent nonsense and childish."However, I think his performance, vocal wise, was fantastic.His real problem comes with how overdramatic his facial expressions are during a performance.He's just too over the top when he's singing.He blamed his song choices during Hollywood week on his parents, so we'll see where he goes from here.
Watch the moment of truth, when Von finds out he's in the Top 36.I cried.
3) Alex Wagner-Trugman is a 19 year old from Studio City, California.I love his voice, and I love him!However, the judges were unsure, so Alex had a "sing-off" against Cody Sheldon.When Cody lost, Alex didn't really celebrate because he felt so bad for Cody.I think this really showed Alex's character.I think he's genuine, sincere, and the "nerdy" underdog that's going to pull through!
Watch the "sing-off" between Alex and Cody.
4) Adam Lambert is a 26 year old from Hollywood, California.I love his style!He looks like a rock star.Adam has performed in hit Broadway shows, including the famed Wicked.His voice sounds very much like a Broadway star, so I'm not quite sure what he would sound like as a recording artist.I'm very interested in seeing his range and different styles of music.During Hollywood week, Adam did an unbelievable remake of Cher's "Believe."I was so moved.It was a big risk on Adam's part, but it sure was a great one!
Watch the moment of truth, when Adam finds out he's in the Top 36.
5) Taylor Vaifanua is a 16 year old from Hurricane, Utah.This girl can really sing!She has a great voice, and it's very powerful!She forgot some of her lyrics in Hollywood, but the judges still put her through into the Top 36.
6) Jasmine Murray is one of my favorites! I've met this girl, and she's adorable.She's a pageant girl, like myself, and a former Miss Mississippi's Outstanding Teen from Starkville, Mississippi.The year I judged the Miss Mississippi's Outstanding Teen Competition in 2008, Jasmine was giving up her title.I could not take my eyes off of her when she was performing!She's only 16 years old, but she is beautiful, talented, a little reserved, and very marketable!
Check out her fan site!
Watch her audition!
7) Arianna Afsar is another 16 year old from San Diego, California.She is beautiful and the all American girl.I recently discovered that Arianna was Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2005.During Arianna's audition, Ryan Seacrest interviewed her about volunteering at a nursing home.Arianna stressed the importance of singing to elders and keeping them company.During her audition, she sang "Put Your Records On" by Corrine Bailey Rae.I actually think she sang it better than the artist herself.She chose the perfect song for her voice.She has a unique voice that really stands out.She's definitely the full package.
Watch Arianna's audition.
8) Casey Carlson is a 20 year old from Minneapolis, Minnesota.I think she is so adorable and has a great sense of style.She did forget her lyrics in Hollywood, singing Jordan Sparks "Tattoo."For her first audition, she sang Vanessa Carlton "A Thousand Miles."This was definitely a great song choice for her!Surprisingly, there's been a lot of talk about this bikini babe, and I'm not talking about Katrina Darrell who showed up to her audition in her bikini.Casey was featured in Campus Girls USA, attending the University "Teasin' U."However, there's a catch: 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Casey's swimsuit calendar goes toward the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Watch Casey's audition.
I might also add that Casey reminds me of Mandy Moore in "A Walk to Remember."
9) Megan Corkrey is a 22 year old from Sandy, Utah.Megan has a unique voice as well.She has a sweet look to her, but then she has all these tattoos!I like her a lot though.She's corky, cute, fun, and unique.
10) Mishavonna Henson is an 18 year old from Irvine, California.She's our country singer!They haven't covered her a lot, so I'm interested in hearing more from this girl!
Here is a music video I found on YouTube.
11) Stevie Wright is another youngster.She is a 16 year old from Phelan, California.She has a very pretty voice.Paula said, "She's got Kelly Clarkson strength!"
Watch Stevie's audition.
12) Joanna Pacitti forgot almost all her lyrics in every song in Hollywood, so I was shocked to find out she made it through to the Top 36!She has a great voice, don't get me wrong, but when you forget all your lyrics to every song, most people don't make it through.Pacitti's past accomplishments have stirred debate about whether American Idol contestants should be strictly amateur performers.She already has songs on soundtracks such as Legally Blonde and Bratz: Motion Picture Soundtrack.However, after making it through to the Top 36, when the official Fox news release announced the girls' names, Pacitti's name wasn't on the list.Below the long list of names was this:"EDITOR'S NOTE: It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition. AMERICAN IDOL contestant Felicia Barton has replaced Ms. Pacitti as part of the Top 36."I think Felicia Barton is fantastic and very well deserving.A source close to the show now says that Pacitti was disqualified to avoid the appearance of impropriety.In the last week, tabloids had been reporting on a private relationship between Pacitti and executives of 19 Management, one of the companies overseeing "Idol."
Watch the moment of truth, when Joanna finds out she's in the Top 36.
Here is one of her music videos.
Idol hasn't covered Felicia Barton that much, but I found this video on YouTube.
13) Kendall Beard is a 23 year old from Austin, Texas.She is another country singer.Kendall is adorable and very commercial.
Watch her moment of truth.
14) Kristen McNamara is a 22 year old from Napa Valley, California.Kristen had to go against Jean Korbee in a sing-off.I definitely think Kristen has the better voice, but Simon apparently liked Korbee much better.Kristen was wearing an awful outfit during her audition, and the judges called her out on it.Maybe that's why Simon preferred Jean.The judges did say that Jean did not choose the right song for her voice.Kristen sang "I will always love you" by Whitney Houston.Surprisingly, she pulled it off.I thought she sounded great!
Watch Kristen and Jean's sing-off competition.
15) Alexis Grace is following in Kristen's footsteps, by adding pink streaks into her blonde head of hair.Alexis is a young 20 year old mom from Memphis, Tennessee. She has a very powerful voice, and I love listening to her sing!She also has this very sweet, innocent look to her that I think viewers will like.
Watch her moment of truth.
16) Scott Macintyre is a 23 year old from Scottsdale, Arizona.I love him!It's unbelievable that he's visually impaired, and he can still find his passion in music.He is even more incredible when he's able to play his instrument - the piano.Scott's story is truly an inspiration to all.
There are times when I feel his voice isn't quite as strong as the others, but I feel the more comfortable he becomes performing in front of people, the more he will flourish and grow into a true performer.
Watch Scott's moment of truth.
17) Lil Rounds is another young mom on the American Idol journey.This singer is a 23 year old mother of three, from Memphis, Tennessee.I think the judges were trying to make it seem like Lil didn't make it into the Top 36, but I knew all along she was moving forward.She has been unbelievable from day one!Simon called her "a good old fashioned singer."
Watch her audition here.
18) Jesse Langseth is a 25 year old from Minneapolis, Minnesota.She competed in a "sing-off" against Frankie Jordan - who I loved!Frankie chose the song "The Story" by Brandi Carlisle.Granted, this song did not show off Frankie's range as a singer, but I still loved this girl.She reminded me of a clean version of Amy Winehouse.After Frankie sang, Simon said, "Well, that definitely has made it easier."They haven't covered much of Jesse Langseth.However, Simon told her she is definitely not going to win this competition, so we'll see how she does.
Watch the sing-off here.
19) Allison Iraheta is a 16 year old from Los Angeles, California.They haven't covered much of this girl either, so I need to hear her sing more before I form a full opinion.During Hollywood week, it seemed difficult for her to sing Kelly Clarkson songs, especially when you have to compare it to Clarkson's voice.But for a 16 year old, she does have a heck of a voice!
20) Danny Gokey is a 28 year old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.I have loved him from day one!His story about loosing his wife is so sad, but an inspirational twist to his American Idol journey.I have to say, I was devastated when Jamar didn't make it to the Top 36!However, I did not agree with his song choice during Hollywood week "Hey There Delilah."I just love both of these guys so much; I hated to see Jamar leave.Watch the video.You'll see how shocked the rest of the contestants were when Jamar didn't make the top.
21) Ricky Brady is a 25 year old from Nashville, Tennessee.I haven't found much on him.They haven't shown much of him on the show either, but I think he's adorable!I love the southern accent; it makes me feel right at home.He likes to sing pop soul/gospel.
22) Matt Giraud is a 23 year old from Kalamazoo, Michigan.Anyone from Kalamazoo has to be cool!The reason I think this guy is so great... he's a dueling piano player!Matt has a raspy, sexy voice, that's sure to melt the hearts of any girl.He can also play the fire out of the piano.When he performs, he kind of reminds me of Justine Timberlake.I could listen to this guy perform all day.
Here's an audio clip I found on YouTube.
23) Ju'Not Joyner is a 26 year old from Bowie, Maryland.I like Ju'Not.I loved his version of "Hey There Delilah."Since his first audition, he's upped his style and become more hip.I'm diggin' it!
24) Jorge Nunez-Mendez is a 20 year old from Carolina, Puerto Rico.I love him!He is so full of life and fun, with an incredible voice!
25) Brent Keith is a 29 year old from Blanchester, Ohio.This is a country boy, and I love him!He reminds me of the Rascal Flats, with more power in his vocals.
26) Stephen Fowler is a 26 year old from Beachwood, Ohio.My heart just broke when he forgot the words to the song, David Cook made famous, "Time Of My Life."But, against all odds, Simon does have a heart, and Fowler was granted a second chance.This guy is incredible!
27) Nick Mitchell, or should I call him Norman Gentle, is a 27 year old comedic from Brookfield, Connecticut!Much controversy has developed after he was submitted into the Top 36, but I think he has true talent.I would LOVE to go to one of his shows.I could totally see him performing in Vegas!Let's vote for Nick/Norman and keep our Connecticut guy in the running for America's next American Idol!
28) Jackie Tohn is a 27 year old from Silver Lake, California.She has this raspy voice that I find unique, and soothing in a way.She reminds me of Sheryl Crow.
29) Tatiana Del Tora is a 23 year old from Los Angeles, California.The girl that seems to have gotten on everyone's last nerve has made it through into the Top 36!You can't deny her annoying laugh, and you can't deny her incredible voice... that's all there is to it!
30) Nathaniel Marshall is an 18 year old from Malone, New York.Nathaniel had to go head-to-head with Jackie Midkiff with a "sing-off" competition.Jackie sang "When A Man Loves a Woman."He's another country singer, and reminded me of Brent Keith in a way.Nathaniel sang "I'm Already There," and he did a fantastic job! I love Nathaniel; I have from the beginning.He can be an emotional wreck, but he is sweet and genuine.Simon criticized Nathaniel's outfit, but I liked his scarf and necklace!Nathaniel has also come from a very hard family life, and I think this adventure will be so good for him!
Watch the sing-off between Nathaniel and Jackie.
31) Jeanine Vailes is a 28 year old from Sherman Oaks, California.We haven't seen a lot of her, but here is her interview.
32) Kai Kalama is a 26 year old from San Clemente, California.This guy has such an inspirational story.I know he's making his mother so proud!
He was starting to loose his voice in Hollywood, but he made it through!
33) Anne Marie Boskovich is a 22 year old from Nashville, Tennessee.During her audition, the judges wanted Anne Marie to go "fix up" like a star.She put on more make-up, fluffed her hair, and was ready to sing "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat.Here's a link to her audition.
Click here to watch!
34) Kris Allen is a 23 years old from Conway, Arkansas.I'm from Hot Springs, Arkansas, so I'm so excited someone from my home state is representing the Razorbacks!We haven't seen a lot from Kris yet, but I do love the "HOGS" shirt he's wearing in his interview.
35) Matt Breitzke is a 27 year old from Bixby, Oklahoma.I have a soft spot for anyone from Oklahoma!My grandmother is from Sallisaw, Oklahoma - a small town not too far from Checotah, where Carrie Underwood was raised.My grandmother graduated from the same university as Carrie - Oklahoma's Northeastern State University.She says it's her claim to fame!
36) Michael Sarver is a 27 year old from Jasper, Texas.
These good ole boys had to compete in a sing-off, but this one had a happy ending!
I definitely think that Michael had the better "sing-off" but I'm glad they both made it through!
We, at FOX 61, would love to know who you think is going to be the next American Idol!
Post your comments below...