Thursday, March 12, 2009

See Who Made Idol's Top 13!

Memphis single mom Grace, 21, is already an early favorite. "You may be a little dark horse in this competition, you know," Cowell told the singer after her audition in Phoenix. "It reminds me of Kelly Clarkson at the same point 8 years ago when we said 'this girl is one to watch.' You're one to watch."

Among the first to earn a ticket to the top 12, Gokey, 28, auditioned four weeks after the death of his wife, Sophia. While he's earned kudos for his pipes, Gokey has also faced criticism from fans who believe he has an unfair advantage. "I apologize to everybody if they feel like [my wife's death is] shoved in their faces," the Milwaukee native tells Us. "This is a sob story I don't want."

Allen has already won over Paula Abdul. "[You're] charming up there," Abdul told the Arkansas singer during his top 36 performance. "When you're confident, it really shows."

Texas oil roughneck Sarver's "I Don't Wanna Be" earned mixed reviews from the judges, but as Cowell confirms, "We put you here because we liked you. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you it's the best vocal I've heard because it's not, but if you [advance], it's because people like you."

Teen rocker Iraheta, 16, could already "have a hit on the radio," says Idol's newbie judge Kara DioGuardi. Agrees Abdul: "Each year there's a contestant who can sing the phonebook -- and you could sing the phonebook," the judge enthused after Iraheta's performance of "Alone" by Heart.

Seasoned theater vet Lambert, 21, wowed the judges with the Rolling Stones classic "Satisfaction" during the second group round. "You're one of the most current artists we've ever had on this show," Jackson told the L.A. performer. "It's like Steven Tyler-meets Fall Out Boy-meets Robert Pattinson from Twilight. You got it going on!"

Twenty-three-year-old Memphis mother-of-three Rounds won over Idol's toughest critic early. "I'm going to keep this very brief," Cowell said after Rounds' top 36 performance. "[You were] have great, great prospects on this show." Jokes Abdul: "I hope [America] keeps Lil Rounds around for more 'lil rounds!'"

Puerto Rico contestant Nunez, 21 -- who sparked a debate among the judges as to if he should sing with his Spanish accent -- has earned the votes of a few famous fans: Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez! Ryan Seacrest revealed that he received a text message from Anthony after Nunez performed. "Please tell Jorge that Jen and I could not be prouder," the message read. "We were in tears witnessing [his] pure talent."

Born almost completely blind with approximately two degrees of tunnel vision, singer/songwriter MacIntyre, 23, wowed the judges -- and America -- with his touching performance of "And So It Goes" during the Phoenix audition round. How does he feel about earning a top 12 spot? "[It's] a dream come true. I'm not going to take it for granted," the singer says.

Single mom Corkrey proved to be a fan favorite during her early auditions, and her return to the stage during the Wildcard round was no different. The singer earned her top 13 spot after offering up KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" to rave reviews. "This is the artist I can see you becoming," Jackson confirmed. "I can see you making these records."

Giraud's Top 36 performance was "verging on horrible," according to Cowell, but the judges decided to give him another shot at the Wildcard - and Randy Jackson was more than pleased with his follow-up vocals. "You made everyone in this room scared that you might enter this competition and give them a run for their money!" the judge told Giraud.

Her Top 36 performance critique was mixed, but Murray was "100% improved" when taking the stage during the Wildcard round. Puala Abdul's take on Murray's cover of Christina Aguilera's "Reflection"? "You looked lovely, you picked a good song, and you were determined," she said.

North Carolinian Desai earned the first-ever 13th spot after his Wildcard performance of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative." What got him there? "We've got to 'cast' the next round," Simon Cowell said before Desai made it through. "We're not going to put the boring singers through, we've got to put some personality in there as well. You've got a lot of personality to compete with!"

***and im rooting for danny gokey n scott macintyre


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