American Idol's Taylor Hicks, Ayla Brown and David Radford
"Scorecards here! Get your American Idol
scorecard here!" Now that all — OK, most — of the screamers and howlers have been shown the door, Season 5 of Fox's ratings-magnet reality competition is all set to really
begin. Before you settle in front of the tube for these first two nights, print out this page and keep it handy for the skinny on who's who among the 24 semifinalists.
The female singers scheduled to perform tonight at 8 pm/ET are:
PARIS BENNETT (17, Fayetteville, Ga.) began singing at the age of 4. She has performed in numerous concerts and has opened for many groups, including Bow Wow. Paris is a skilled dancer in hip-hop, jazz and modern African dance.
AYLA BROWN (17, Wrentham, Mass.), a senior at Noble & Greenough High School, will be attending Boston College in the fall on a full basketball scholarship. She got her start in music while singing along to Disney movies at the age of 6.
HEATHER COX (22, Jonesville, N.C.) recently graduated from Surry Community College with an accounting degree.
BRENNA GETHERS (25, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) began singing at the tender age of 3. Brenna holds a black belt in Shotokan karate and is an avid Scrabble competitor.
MANDISA (29, Antioch, Tenn.), born and raised in Citrus Heights, Calif., moved to Nashville to study singing at Fisk University. She has performed with such artists as Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill and Charlie Daniels.
MELISSA McGHEE (21, Tampa, Fla.) embarked on her performing career at the age of 4. A true romantic, Melissa enjoys singing, dancing and going to the beach in her free time.
KATHARINE McPHEE (21, Sherman Oaks, Calif.), born and raised in Los Angeles, was exposed at an early age to the joy of singing by her mother, a vocal coach. After high school, Katharine attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for a semester.
BECKY O'DONOHUE (25, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.) attended Niagara University on a full scholarship and received her B.A. in communications. Currently she is working for an entertainment company and as a waitress in City Island.
KELLIE PICKLER (19, Albemarle, N.C.) is a waitress who enjoys singing, dancing and shopping for shoes. Kellie has been singing for as long as she can remember, but only began performing for crowds four years ago.
STEVIE SCOTT (19, Fair Oaks, Calif.) is currently studying music as a freshman at California State University-Sacramento. A versatile musician who plays the guitar and piano, Stevie enjoys performing everything from R&B to opera.
KINNIK SKY (28, Duluth, Ga.), born and raised in Columbia, S.C., began singing at the age of 4 and considers her singing style "old-school soul." For the past eight years she has been working as a professional actress.
LISA TUCKER (16, Anaheim, Calif.) is currently a senior at Kennedy High School. She was the original "Young Nala" in Disney's Los Angeles production of The Lion King and was voted by Variety as one of the "Top Ten Talents to Watch."
The male singers scheduled to perform Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 8 pm are:
BOBBY BENNETT (19, Denver, Colo.) has been singing since the age of 7. He dreams of becoming a performer so he can make people forget about their troubles for a little while. Before making the Final 24, Bobby worked at Target.
KEVIN COVAIS (16, Levittown, N.Y.), a junior at Island Trees High School, has been performing since he was 10 years old and has appeared in productions of Guys and Dolls and Godspell. Kevin also is a member of the Chorale in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and the Nassau/Suffolk Jazz Ensemble.
BUCKY COVINGTON (28, Rockingham, N.C.) picked up a guitar for the first time at the age of 19 and soon after joined his first band. About two years ago, Bucky switched to a country-beach-rock band and realized that his talent crosses many types of music.
CHRIS DAUGHTRY (26, McLeansville, N.C.), a gifted guitar player and songwriter, has already recorded a CD with his band Absent Element. In 2000 Chris married his wife, Deanna, and became a stepfather of two.
PATRICK HALL (27, Gravette, Ark.) began singing in church at age 4. Since then he has been pursuing his singing career while also working as a real-estate manager. In 2005 Patrick married his longtime friend Laura.
TAYLOR HICKS (29, Birmingham, Ala.) is a blue-eyed soul singer who has played every honky-tonk imaginable. A talented writer and harmonica player, Taylor enters the competition with almost 29 years of singing experience.
WILL MAKAR (16, The Woodlands, Texas) discovered his talent after his sisters made him sing "Bare Necessities" for their friends. In 1999 and 2002 Will sang with the Houston Children's Chorus for Presidents Clinton and Bush, respectively. Oh, and Will can impersonate Chewbacca from Star Wars.
GEDEON McKINNEY (17, Memphis, Tenn.) hails from a family of seven children. Too young to join the choir, Gedeon sang on the steps of a church for his first standing ovation.
JOSE "SWAY" PENALA (28, South San Francisco, Calif.) enters the competition making his own music. Before joining Idol, he was a member of the 6th Day singing group. He spends his days working in real estate and his nights entertaining crowds through song.
DAVID RADFORD (17, Crystal Lake, Ill.), a senior at Crystal Lake Central High School, has been singing "his way" since he can remember. David also plays the trumpet — as well as a mean game of Ping-Pong.
ELLIOTT YAMIN (27, Richmond, Va.) calls his mother, who was a professional singer, his inspiration and biggest fan. Elliott says that being on Idol has allowed him to pursue his dream of singing professionally.
ACE YOUNG (25, Los Angeles, Calif.) is the youngest of five brothers. He started performing at age 11 in local malls and recreation centers. Ace currently lives in Los Angeles and works in sales and home remodeling.