by Mischalova at . Comments

With just 20 contestants remaining on the seventh season of American Idol, it's time to chop down the list on our Power Poll.

With that in mind, here are the top five performers so far, according to our crack celebrity gossip staff:

Absolutely the Best

1. Asiah Epperson: We may be in the minority in anointing this singer as the leading contender, but no one else this season combines her poise, looks and vocal range. What a great name, too!

2. David Archuleta: The 17-year old has captured the hearts of America in a way Sanjaya Malakar could only dream about last season: an adorable sensation... who can actually carry a tune! Sign him up now for the finals.

3. Michael Johns: The only knock on this performer is that he's too established to be considered an American Idol. He's 29 old and has already fronted a band called The Rising. No matter to us. The handsome Aussie can wail.

4. Syesha Mercado: Another contestant with a winning name. Syesha has a much bigger voice than that of Epperson, but she's able to control it. Would love to see her tackle a ballad in order to determine full range.

5. Jason Castro: Apologies to Amanda Overmyer and Carly Smithson, either of whom could be in the spot. But Casto deserved props after taking the stage last week with his guitar and delivering a sweet, understated version of the Lovin' Spoonful hit ''Daydream."

Here's a look at the American Idol top 20. Who is your favorite? Leave a comment. Let us know.

by Mischalova at . Comments

Joanne Borgella was one of four American Idol contestants eliminated last night, along with Amy Davis, Garrett Haley and Colton Berry.

Still, it's worth reporting that Borgella and season seven favorite David Archuleta actually have a connection to another institution almost as popular as Idol: High School Musical.

According to High School Musical star KayCee Stroh (a.k.a. "the pop and lock girl" in those movies) she and contestant Archuleta performed together at a Park City, Utah, benefit years ago.

David Archuleta and Garrett Haley performed together last night. Guess which one was voted off American Idol before the evening was over.

"I think I was about 18 and he was about 12," Stroh said at the American Idol Top 24 party on Thursday night in Hollywood. "Both of us are from Salt Lake City, and there was a benefit concert and the [organizer] needed young kids to be the backup singers for a gospel piece. I remember we were rehearsing one day and he had a solo part. I expected him to have this cute little boy voice."

As Stroh found out then - and Idol fans known now - this was anything but the case: "I was blown away! He packs such a powerful punch when he sings. I remember thinking instantly, ‘Boy, this one is going to be a star someday,'" she said.

Oddly enough, Stroh also models for Torrid, a hip plus-size clothing line. Another model with a past contract with that company? You guessed it: Borgella.

by Mischalova at . Comments

We know it's early. The top 12 American Idol men have only performed one time during the semifinals.

And certain competitors were pleasant surprises: David Hernandez put on a smooth performance last night and Jason Castro has a unique sound to him.

Still, we feel confident already in saying the male side of things on Idol this season is all about three singers. Let's take a look at them now:

  • Michael Johns (pictured): Come on, viewers, didn't he light your fire? Belting out this classic by The Doors last night, the former lead singer of The Rising is the most polished and mature of all semifinalists, male or female.

  • David Archuleta: Can we just anoint him into the final five already? Simon said Archuleta's rendition of The Miracles' Shop Around was the best of the night. We're not sure we agree... but how is a guy with this voice just 17 years old?
  • David Cook: This hopeful rocker put on our favorite performance of the evening. He took the slow tune, "Happy Together," and made it current and enjoyable. Perhaps it's the professional resumes possessed by the prior two contestants, but there's something innocent and fun about Cook.

Our picks to be eliminated tomorrow night: Garrett Haley and Jason Yeager.

Who was your favorite singer from last night? Who do you think is going home? Let us know!

by Mischalova at . Comments

Now that American Idol has whittled down its contestants to the final 24, our Power Poll gets serious.

Only talented competitors remain in what many followers consider to be the show's most impressive season to date. But who is leading the pack heading into tomorrow night's performance of the top 12 males. Let's find out...

Spanish Sensation

1. Michael Johns (last week: #2): He has the looks, experience, singing talent... and the best accent in American Idol history. The Aussie's professional background may turn off some viewers, however.

2. Asia'h Epperson (last week: #8): Young and enthusiastic, reminds us of Melinda Doolittle with her innocence and charm. Possesses more personality than this finalist from last season.

3. David Archuleta (last week: #4): Arguably the favorite for many, but we've got a Simon-like question about this talent: does he really have music superstar written on him?

4. Carly Smithson (last week: #7): Similar to Johns. Great look, sound, experience and accent. But will voters not wanna reward someone who has already put out a label-sponsored album?

5. Kristy Lee Cook (pictured, last week: #1): Also signed with a record label in 2001, but that's almost part for this year's American Idol course. Has been a contender since the first night of auditions.

Continue Reading...

by Mischalova at . Comments

We're off to Hollywood!

As American Idol enters its fifth week of auditions, the show truly begins: contestants are judged in Hollywood and only the best of the best move one. Before they do, however, let's rank the top hopefuls so far in our third Power Poll of the season...

1. Kristy Lee Cook (last week: #1, pictured): Beautiful Oregonian's "Amazing Grace" was highlight of the initial American Idol audition shows - but will fans revolt against her one-time record deal with Arista Nashville? Then again, she certainly isn't alone in having a professional background.

2. Michael Johns (last week: #2): Also referred to as "Michael Lee Johns," the former band member once had a deal with Madonna's music label. The Aussie made a strong impression with a tight T-shirt, toned biceps, and a solid Otis Redding cover.

3. David Cook (last week: #6): Rocker with his sights set on the moniker of "this year's Chris Daughtry," Cook impressed viewers with his vocal range on Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer."

4. David Archuleta (last week: #3): Former Star Search winner has the sympathy vote locked up: he struggled with a paralyzed vocal chord as a child. Might he be this year's Sanjaya Malakar… with talent?

5. Amanda Overmyer (new this week): She's a nurse! She's a gothic rocker! She's a talented singer with a unique look, sound and personality.

6. Chikezie Eze (new this week, pictured): Tried out for the show last year. Approved for Hollywood this time around with a rendition of "All the Woman I Need." Handsome, talented.

Continue Reading...

by Mischalova at . Comments

As we prepare for the fourth week of American Idol auditions, it seems like a good time to break out our second Power Poll of the season.

With six solid episodes under our belt, here's how The Hollywood Gossip staff ranks this year's early contenders:

1) Kristy Lee Cook: Gorgeous Oregonian's "Amazing Grace" was highlight of the opening three weeks - but will fans revolt against her one-time record deal with Arista Nashville?

2) Michael Johns: Also referred to as "Michael Lee Johns," the former band member once had a deal with Madonna's music label, but a professional background is par for this year's American Idol course. The Aussie made a strong impression with a tight T-shirt, toned biceps, and a solid Otis Redding cover.

3) David Archuleta: Former Star Search winner has the sympathy vote locked up: he struggled with a paralyzed vocal chord as a child. This year's Sanjaya Malakar… with talent?

4) Samantha Sidley (pictured, new this week): Young beauty played along when Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul swapped duties during her audition. She proceeded to deliver a restrained, lovely version of ''Don't Know Why.''

5) Carly Smithson: Another American Idol hopeful with prior experience â€" she crashed and burned in her major-label debut as Carly Hennessy a few years back â€" this tattooed Irishwoman displayed great range on "I'm Every Woman."

6) David Cook (new this week): If you cover Bon Jovi during an audition like Cook did, we'll give you props. This is another Chris Daughtry-type, who hopes to become the first rocker to win American Idol.

7) Colton Swon: We liked his impressive take on Little Big Town's "Boondocks" and are excited about the rumor that he plays the guitar during the Hollywood round.

by Mischalova at . Comments

As we prepare for the third week of American Idol auditions, it seems like a good time to break out our first Power Poll of the season.

With four solid episodes under our belt, here's how The Hollywood Gossip staff ranks this year's early contenders:

1) Kristy Lee Cook: Gorgeous Oregonian's ''Amazing Grace'' was highlight of the opening two weeks - but will fans revolt against her one-time record deal with Arista Nashville?

2) Michael Johns: His former band once had a deal with Madonna's music label, but a professional background is par for this year's American Idol course. The Aussie made a strong impression with a tight T-shirt, toned biceps, and a solid Otis Redding cover.

3) David Archuleta: Former Star Search winner has the sympathy vote locked up: he struggled with a paralyzed vocal chord as a child. This year's Sanjaya... with talent?

4) Carly Smithson: Another American Idol hopeful with prior experience â€" she crashed and burned in her major-label debut as Carly Hennessy a few years back â€" this tattooed Irishwoman displayed great range on ''I'm Every Woman.''

5) Colton Swon: We liked his impressive take on Little Big Town's ''Boondocks'' and are extra excited about the rumor that he plays the guitar during the Hollywood round.

6) Kady Malloy: Simon Cowell dubbed her the best audition he'd seen during the opening week after she belted out ''Unchained Melody." We loved her impression of Britney Spears. Singing, that is. Not being insane.

7) Alaina Whitaker: Confident (said Carrie Underwood looks like her!) and with a powerful voice for a 16-year old.

by Mischalova at . Comments

David Archuleta and Michael Johns were two of the top performers on American Idol last night. Each received tickets to Hollywood.

Like Carly Smithson and Kristy Lee Cook, however, each also has an extensive professional background. To wit:

Goodbye, Josh Ledet

Michael Johns was formerly the lead singer of two bands: The Rising and Film. He used to be known as Michael Lee and was actually signed to Maverick Records while leading Film. Things get even juicier:

The group was set to release a debut album in 2003, until - according to one of the group members - Michael allegedly screwed over Film by leaving the band and stealing their songs, claiming he wrote them.

While not evidence of that claim's validity, the MySpace profile for Fame is shown above - at least proving Johns was its lead singer.

Nothing about David Archuleta is as controversial, but his background isn't exactly amateur, either. The 16-year old singer won Star Search when he was 12 and has appeared on numerous programs ever since.

David Archuleta even sang once for an audience that included Kelly Clarkson. Check out the grainy video now:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8SJXDPE_sQ&eurl=http://www.rickey.org/?p=6887[/youtube]

by Mischalova at . Comments

There were singers aside from Carly Smithson that impressed us during last night's American Idol auditions. Three in particular stood out:

1. Michael Johns: That Australian accent might be enough to help this crooner continue to advance. We certainly swooned as soon as Johns opened his mouth. Once he sung "I've Been Loving You Too Long," though, we agreed with and Simon Cowell that he sounded great, like a "white soul singer."

Aaron Kelly Image

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Ug1-kA8zA&eurl=http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/videos/michael-johns/[/youtube]

2. David Archueta: This 16-year old suffered from vocal chord paralysis growing up, but that didn't stop him from an impressive rendition of "Waiting on the World to Change." Sob story alert! Viewers love that.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRZps_AEMpU&eurl=http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/videos/david-archuleta/[/youtube]

3. Samantha Musa: Probably has less of a chance to advance far as the prior two gentlemen... but we loved Samantha! She was joined in her audition by her sister, who sat on Simon's lap and told the judge he was one of three people in the world she wanted to meet (along with Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, naturally).

Musa seemed legitimately humble, adorable - and talented! Check out her audition of "Until You Come Back to Me."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4WUJ6YqCEg[/youtube]

David Archuleta Biography

Giving Thumbs Up David Archuleta finished second on the seventh season of American Idol. The adorable, talented singer suffered from vocal chord paralysis... More »
Born
Full Name
David Archuleta

David Archuleta Quotes

He's been my role model. Just a great person to look up to. He's been my big brother through this.

David Archuleta [on David Cook]

He's given me a lot of good advice and helped me from making any dumb decisions. He understands more than anyone what I want in music, and I've felt really blessed to have someone like that.

David Archuleta [on his controversial father]
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