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[02/11/09 - 10:23 PM]
American Idol Top 36 Semifinalists Revealed!
The 36 hopefuls will be split into three groups of 12, and for three consecutive weeks, one group will perform each week.

[via press release from FOX]

"AMERICAN IDOL" TOP 36 SEMIFINALISTS REVEALED!

VOTING BEGINS NEXT WEEK AFTER FIRST GROUP PERFORMS LIVE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, ON FOX

Three Finalists Advance During First LIVE Results Show Wednesday, February 18

Auditions ended tonight for the eighth season of AMERICAN IDOL as the Top 36 semifinalists were revealed by Simon, Paula, Randy and Kara. It's now up to America to decide who advances in the competition and moves one step closer to becoming the next AMERICAN IDOL. The 36 hopefuls will be split into three groups of 12, and for three consecutive weeks, one group will perform each week. The live performance shows air Tuesday, Feb. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), Wednesday, Feb. 25 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), and Tuesday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

At the end of each performance show, AMERICAN IDOL viewers will be able to vote for their favorite contestant(s) for at least two hours in their region. Fans can use the branded toll-free telephone numbers (1-866-IDOLS-01, -02, etc.) until 12:00 AM ET/PT (11:00 PM CT/MT), subject to time zone restrictions. Additionally, for two hours at the end of the show in their region, AT&T Wireless subscribers can use their cell phones and text the word "Vote" to the four-digit short number (5701, 5702, etc.) representing the contestant of their choice.

Then on the weekly live results shows airing Wednesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 ET live/PT tape-delayed), Thursday, Feb. 26 (8:00-9:00 ET live/PT tape-delayed) and Wednesday, March 4 (8:00-9:00 ET live/PT tape-delayed), Ryan Seacrest will announce the three semifinalists � the top male, the top female and the next top vote-recipient � America has chosen to move on in the competition.

On Thursday, March 5 (8:00-9:00 ET live/PT tape-delayed), the special "Wild Card" episode will feature the judges' favorite remaining contestants battling it out live for a coveted spot in the next phase of the competition.

The AMERICAN IDOL Top 36 semifinalists are:

FEMALES:

Alexis Grace

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Currently Resides: Memphis, TN

Age: 21

Grace has been singing since she was 7 years old. She was a member of the Concert Choir at the University of Memphis, and enjoys dancing, playing the guitar and taking care of her daughter.

Allison Iraheta

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Currently Resides: Downey, CA

Age: 16

Iraheta is a junior in high school who began singing at age 5. She also enjoys playing the guitar.

Ann Marie Boskovich

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA

Currently Resides: Nashville, TN

Age: 22

Currently pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter, Boskovich began singing before she could talk. She also plays guitar and piano.

Arianna Afsar

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Currently Resides: San Diego, CA

Age: 17

Afsar is a senior at Westview High School. She has been singing since she was 7 years old, and loves acting, dancing and playing piano.

Casey Carlson

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN

Currently Resides: Minneapolis, MN

Age: 20

Carlson is in her third year at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Psychology. She began taking voice lessons in fifth grade.

Felicia Barton Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Currently Resides: Virginia Beach, VA

Age: 26

Barton lives in Virginia Beach, VA, with her husband and son. She began singing before she could talk, and her first public performance was at age 2.

Jackie Tohn

Hometown: Oceanside, NY

Currently Resides: Silver Lake, CA

Age: 28

Tohn resides in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake. She holds an associate's degree in psychology from Santa Monica College. Her hobbies include acting, performing comedy and playing guitar.

Jasmine Murray

Hometown: Columbus, MS

Currently Resides: Starkville, MS

Age: 17

Murray lives in Starkville, MS, and attends The Mississippi School of the Arts. She loves being on stage and has been singing since she was 3 years old.

Jeanine Vailes

Hometown: Washington, DC

Currently Resides: Sherman Oaks, CA

Age: 28

A recent arrival to Los Angeles, Vailes began singing at age 4 and had her first solo performance in church at age 9. She also enjoys songwriting, motivational speaking and doing voiceover work.

Jesse Langseth

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Currently Resides: Minneapolis, MN

Age: 26

Langseth lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her 8-year-old daughter. In addition to singing, she also plays the piano and guitar.

Kendall Beard

Hometown: Lufkin, TX

Currently Resides: Austin, TX

Age: 24

Beard graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. In addition to singing, she has been studying dance for 12 years.

Kristen McNamara

Hometown: Napa Valley, CA

Currently Resides: Nashville, TN

Age: 23

McNamara is a singer/songwriter originally from Northern California. She loves to dance and has been performing her whole life. Her hobbies include playing guitar, piano, painting and baking.

Lil Rounds

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Currently Resides: Memphis, TN

Age: 24

Rounds lives in Memphis, TN, with her husband and three children. Music has always been a part of her life, and she began singing when she was 3 years old.

Megan Corkrey

Hometown: Taylorsville, UT

Currently Resides: Sandy, UT

Age: 23

Corkrey lives in Sandy, UT, with her 2-year-old son, Ryder. She has been singing since age 3, and is a self-professed "foodie."

Mishavonna Henson

Hometown: Irvine, CA

Currently Resides: Irvine, CA

Age: 18

Henson has been singing since she could talk and sang publicly for the first time in church. Her hobbies include horseback riding, acting, dancing and playing piano and guitar. She also takes classes at a junior college.

Stevie Wright

Hometown: Phelan, CA

Currently Resides: Phelan, CA

Age: 17

Wright is a junior at Serrano High School. She works in a coffee shop and sings in a band with her youth group. Her real passion is singing, but she also loves to dance.

Tatiana Nicole Del Toro

Hometown: San Juan, PR

Currently Resides: Los Angeles, CA

Age: 24

Del Toro studied at the Manhattan School of Music and attended the New York Film Academy. Her hobbies include theater, acting, writing and dancing.

Taylor Vaifanua

Hometown: Hurricane, UT

Currently Resides: Hurricane, UT

Age: 17

When Vaifanua was 2 years old, she and her family moved to Samoa and lived there for five years before returning to Utah. She is a junior at Hurricane High School, and her hobbies include sports, singing and dancing.

MALES:

Adam Lambert

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Currently Resides: Los Angeles, CA

Age: 26

Lambert grew up in San Diego but currently lives in Hollywood. He began singing at age 10, and has been involved with musical theater for the past eight years.

Alexander Wagner-Trugman

Hometown: Studio City, CA

Currently Resides: Studio City, CA

Age: 19

Wagner-Trugman is a sophomore at the University of Miami. He began singing in high school, and he plays piano and guitar. His hobbies include playing video games and basketball.

Anoop Desai

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Currently Resides: Chapel Hill, NC

Age: 22

Desai is working on his master's degree at the University of North Carolina. During his undergraduate years, he was a member of the UNC Clef Hangers, an a cappella group.

Brent Keith

Hometown: Blanchester, OH

Currently Resides: Nashville, TN

Age: 29

A guitar player, Keith lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife. He has been singing all his life but started performing publicly when he was 13 years old.

Danny Gokey

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Currently Resides: Milwaukee, WI

Age: 28

Gokey is the president and founder of a non-profit organization. In addition to singing, he plays the piano and loves salsa dancing.

Jorge Nu�ez

Hometown: Cidra, Puerto Rico

Currently Resides: Carolina, Puerto Rico

Age: 21

Nu�ez is in his fourth year at the University of Puerto Rico, R�o Piedras. In addition to English and Spanish, Nu�ez is also fluent in French.

Ju'Not Joyner

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Currently Resides: Bowie, MD

Age: 26

A native of Maryland, Joyner owns his own business with his fianc�e. He enjoys acting, comedy and songwriting.

Kai Kalama

Hometown: Redlands, CA

Currently Resides: San Clemente, CA

Age: 27

Kalama began singing when he was 5 years old at his church. An accomplished musician, he also plays guitar, ukulele, bass, piano and drums.

Kris Allen

Hometown: Jacksonville, AR

Currently Resides: Conway, AR

Age: 23

Allen is a student at the University of Central Arkansas. He has been singing and playing the guitar since he was 13 years old.

Matt Breitzke

Hometown: Bixby, OK

Currently Resides: Bixby, OK

Age: 28

Breitzke spent his childhood in Hobart, IN, and later attended flight school in Tulsa, OK. He has been singing and playing the guitar since the fifth grade.

Matt Giraud

Hometown: Ypsilanti, MI

Currently Resides: Kalamazoo, MI

Age: 23

Giraud is a life-long resident of Michigan who graduated from Western Michigan University in 2007. He sings and plays piano in local clubs and hotels.

Michael Sarver

Hometown: Jasper, TX

Currently Resides: Jasper, TX

Age: 27

Sarver is married with two children and works on an oil rig. He has always dreamed of being a singer/songwriter. Sarver also plays the piano, drums and guitar.

Nathaniel Marshall

Hometown: Malone, NY

Currently Resides: Malone, NY

Age: 19

Marshall began singing at age 2, and sang publicly for the first time in his high school choir. He is a cosmetology student in New York.

Nick Mitchell

Hometown: Brookfield, CT

Currently Resides: Brookfield, CT

Age: 27

Mitchell attended Marymount Manhattan College and Western Connecticut State University. He is a sketch comedian who performs in Manhattan and Connecticut.

Ricky Braddy

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Currently Resides: Elizabeth City, NC

Age: 25

Braddy graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, TN, with a degree in Commercial Vocal Performance. He began singing when he was 4 years old at his church.

Scott MacIntyre

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Currently Resides: Scottsdale, AZ

Age: 23

MacIntyre earned his bachelor's degree from Arizona State University at age 19, and attended graduate school in London, England. He also plays piano, guitar and drums.

Stephen Fowler

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Currently Resides: Beachwood, OH

Age: 26

Fowler has been married for six years and has two sons. He has been singing his entire life, and began playing piano at 11 years old. He is a full-time musician who teaches piano at the Rainey Institute in Cleveland.

Von Smith

Hometown: Kansas City, MO

Currently Resides: Greenwood, MO

Age: 22

Smith plays piano and is fluent in Spanish. His other hobbies include dancing, acting and songwriting.

AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder of 19 Entertainment; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America; and Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America.

Visit americanidol.com for exclusive videos, interviews and photos of the Top 36 as well as special behind-the-scenes information and all of your AMERICAN IDOL news.

[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.]





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· AMERICAN IDOL (ABC)





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