Don't adjust your dials: Your TiVo didn't miss "American Idol" this week. The show is merely kicking back a night to make room for President Obama's address Tuesday night (February 24). But things crank up again Wednesday with group-two auditions, which will yield the second trio of singers going on to the show's top 12.
The next round is filled with singers who've flown mostly under the radar to date, plus a few drama queens who have managed to get their share of the spotlight since the first auditions. First on that list, of course, is Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell, 27, the spangly shirt-and-headband-wearing pride of Brookfield High School — which also spawned season two's 10th-place finisher, Julia DeMato. The comedian/singer is one of the most unlikely "Idol" top-36 contestants to date, and it remains to be seen if his funnyman shtick will fly with voters after he charmed the judges in Hollywood.
Also on the roster is flamboyant singer Adam Lambert, 26, who has won praise and some criticism for his musical-theater, diva-esque vocals; Megan Corkrey, 22, the divorced mother whose soulful voice is as colorful as her sleeve of tattoos; and 16-year-old Starkville, Mississippi soul belter, and "Team Diva" survivor, Jasmine Murray. The other 16-year-old on the block is Los Angeles' Allison Iraheta, who recently told the Los Angeles Times that she idolizes Pink, Jack White and Franz Ferdinand.
Bearded crooner Kai Kalama, who used to rock out in a band called Offwhite with his brother, is in the mix, as is Kalamazoo's mini-Justin Timberlake, Matt Giraud, who has released two albums already, including 2006's Mind, Body and Soul. Oklahoma's nice-guy welder, Matt Breitzke, 27, will get another chance, along with a handful of below-the-radar longshots: Jesse Langseth (whose brother is Grammy-winning guitarist/singer Jonny Lang); 28-year-old Jeanine Vailes; child actress and season-seven washout Mishavonna Henson; and ukulele strummer Kris Allen, who could be a dark-horse adversary to early favorite Danny Gokey.
Whoever advances to the top 12 following Thursday's show will join the three top contenders from last week's first round of cuts: Gokey, Alexis Grace and Michael Sarver.
Next week will see the next 12 singers vie for the final three audience-approved slots: Alex Wagner Trugman, Arianna Afsar, Felicia Barton, Jorge Nuñez, Ju'Not Joyner, Kendall Beard, Kristen McNamara, Lil Rounds, Nathaniel Marshall, Scott MacIntyre, Taylor Vaifanua and Von Smith. And next Thursday, the revamped wild-card round will bring back 12 booted contestants vying for the final three spots in the top 12. At press time, a spokesperson for the show said the details on the format of the wild-card round were not yet available.
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