After a grueling, nausea-inducing Hollywood week and uneven semifinals, American Idol has chosen its Top 13, who begin the live final performances Wednesday (8/7c, Fox). TVGuide.com spent some time with the lucky 13, and learned more about the people behind those voices.
The Top 13, in their own words:
DeAndre Brackensick, 17, from San Jose, Calif.
Risky business: "I was kind of preparing for a 'no' [from the judges] because although I was happy with my song choice, the key I did it in was a little shaky... I'm really known as a falsetto singer, which I love, but not a lot of people like that, so I tried to put some low into it. But the key in that first whole verse did not do good for me at all."
Fun fact: "I love Hawaiian culture."
Hollie Cavanagh, 18, from McKinney, Texas
Petite powerhouse: "I like to think of my style along the lines of like Christina Aguilera — some pop but also a mature and soulful sound. My dream mentor would be Mariah Carey. That would be crazy."
Fun fact: "I play soccer. Center midfielder."
Colton Dixon, 20, from Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Master of the keys: "The piano plays a huge part of me. That's my home, being on stage behind a piano. That's what I've grown up doing. But America gets tired of seeing the same thing, so I've got to break away from that."
Fun Fact: "I was an extra in the Hannah Montana movie."
Heejun Han, 22, from Flushing, N.Y.
All heart: "As an artist, I want to be a person who can move people's hearts. For [theme weeks], I'd like the '70s, '80s and lovely, lovely slow songs where you could just melt the girls' hearts. Tony Bennett. James Ingram. Michael McDonald. All of the people who have unexpected voices. 'Once in My Life' covered by Stevie Wonder is my favorite song."
Fun fact(s): "I can eat a whole cup o' noodles in less than 10 seconds. I can fold my tongue in half. Also, I can switch my kidneys. Ready? (pauses) I just did it."
Jermaine Jones, 25, Pine Hill, N.J.
Balance of power: "You can expect some power. You can expect some very nice high notes. Everybody expects me to just have this low voice, but also I have a falsetto... I'm not really afraid of anything. I love country music. Rascal Flatts, 'Bless the Broken Road' — love it!"
Fun fact: "I'm 6'8" and a half — and don't take away my half."
Skylar Laine, 18, Brandon, Miss.
Country strong: "That was the first time I've ever heard that I sounded like Reba [McEntire]... They said [I was] Tina Turner, Kelly Clarkson and Reba all mixed into one... I would love to see Miranda Lambert be a theme, but I don't know that would happen. But someone like Waylon [Jennings], Kris Kristofferson or someone like that. George Jones even."
Fun fact: "I have a small collection of knives. I love to hunt. During deer-hunting season I try to go every day. I went so much this past year before I came to Idol."
Joshua Ledet, 19, Westlake, Calif.
Male power diva: "I'm like a male version of Christina Aguilera. Them telling me [I'm called] 'Man-tasia' is crazy... it's the biggest compliment anyone has ever [given] me. Fantasia Barrino is an amazing singer, my favorite singer, my favorite artist ever. She sings from her soul and where she comes from inspires me."
Fun fact: "I'm addicted to spicy foods. I love crawfish. Oh my God, it's so messy but it's so good. I don't like LA food at all."
Shannon Magrane, 16, Tampa, Fla.
Idol inspirations: "I love Haley Reinhart. I love the growl that she has in her voice. I have a little growl in my voice so I relate to that. I love Carrie Underwood because she was this classy, sweet little girl and she had a really pure voice. And I also love Kelly Clarkson because her music is timeless. She won 10 seasons ago and her music is still very popular today."
Fun fact: "I dream of this all the time, performing on stage with Beyonce. She can dance and act and sing. I want to be a triple threat like that. We talk about her all the time. All the time."
Phillip Phillips, 21, Leesburg, Ga.
Six-string strummer: "The guitar, man, it just becomes one with me. People say I'm trying to hide behind it and they've said that about so many other artists. But your instrument is you. Like Damien Rice and John Butler and Dave Matthews. There's no hiding behind anything. It's you becoming one with your instrument. I would use it every week if I could, definitely."
Fun fact: "I can do an impression of Mr. Herbert on Family Guy."
Jeremy Rosado, 19, Valrico, Fla.
Respect for rivals: "Every guy and girl on this show. This is truthfully the most talented group, I think, that American Idol has ever had, like as a whole. But Jessica Sanchez is definitely one of my very favorites and she's incredible, so look out for her."
Fun fact: "I love juice like an addiction. Orange juice! Apple juice! I love Tropicana. I'd rather drink juice than do anything else, besides worship the Lord."
Jessica Sanchez, 16, San Diego, Calif.
Fixing the flaws: "I'm a perfectionist, so I want everything to be perfect. And the judges' criticism I don't take very hard because I can fix what I need to fix, [which is] my vibrato. In the past rounds they've told me that my vibrato was a bit thick, so I've been working on that."
Fun fact: "I can rap. Also, when I was younger, I used to do 'I Will Always Love You' at karaoke. You know, like the real, Asian karaoke, 'Power of Love' and all that."
Elise Testone, 28, Charleston, S.C.
"One and Only" times two: "I chose that Adele song first. And then Jen [Hirsch] had a different song and the producers didn't like the way it was sounding. They asked her what other artists she likes and she said she loved Adele. She sang a little bit of it and they said, 'Do it.' She wasn't really 100 percent sure that I was doing it, though, in her defense.
Fun fact: "I skateboard with my dog."
Erika Van Pelt, 26, South Kingstown, R.I.
Rallying for Rhodey: "I am the only New Englander, and guess what? I want everyone in Connecticut and Massachusetts and Rhode Island to vote [for me]. Come on guys, this is the first time that a Rhode Islander has been in the Top 24, and now the Top 13 in the history of the show. I'm ready to rock 'n' roll and I'm ready to represent."
Fun fact: "My boyfriend and I were friends for 16 years before we started dating, we were best friends growing up. I used to ride my bike down to his house and throw rocks at his window to see if he could come out and play basketball."
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
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