At age 19, this perky small-town waitress from North Carolina auditioned for Season 5 of American Idol. With her all-American good looks and harrowing sob story (her mom was MIA and her dad was in jail), she soon won over audiences while showcasing a powerhouse voice and charming naiveté (she routinely mispronounced words). She also found a fan in judge Simon Cowell, who predicted she would see the competition through to the end. She didn't win, but finished sixth and landed a record deal. Her first album of country music was the appropriately titled Small Town Girl, released in October 2006. A self-titled album followed in 2008, debuting at No. 9 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and spawning a number of hit singles including "Best Days of Your Life." Pickler has performed on several USO tours and supports the Memphis-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.