American Idol, the top 24 for 7th season

American Idol, the top 24 for 7th season
American Idol Hopefuls Standout



Out of tens of thousands of hopefuls from across the country, who auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol, the top 24 contestants are now set to rock the airwaves on Fox TV.

 “It will be a bumper year” for the phenomenal show, predicts Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of American Idol. “We’ve got some excellent individuals this year. First and foremost, it’s about the kids, the talent that comes on and their stories. That’s what will keep people watching.”

The top 24 semifinalists are: (males) David Archuleta, Colton Berry, Robbie Carrico, Jason Castro, David Cook, Chikezie Eze, Garrett Haley, David Hernandez, Michael Johns, Luke Menard, Danny Noriega and Jason Yeager; (females) Joanne Borgella, Kristy Lee Cook, Amy Davis, Asia’h Epperson, Alexandrea Lushington, Kady Malloy, Ramiele Malubay, Syesha Mercado, Amanda Overmyer, Carly Smithson, Alaina Whitaker and Brooke White.

The hopefuls will be split into two groups next week, with the 12 guys performing on Tuesday, February 19, and the 12 girls competing on Wednesday, February 20. Then its up to America to decide, with the first live results show airing Thursday, February 21 on Fox TV.

Lythgoe believes that this year’s group has “standout individuals right from the beginning this year. It’s not just a question of seeing somebody grow like Jordan [Sparks] last year that grew across a series, so you understood. I watched her go up a ladder of voting, if you like.”

“This year, I think you’re going to go, ‘Wow. He’s great. She’s good. Wow. And that kid is great, too.” And they’re going to be standout very, very quickly.”


Who will become the new darlings and viewer favorites? Make your own choice from the following top 24 for the 7th season of American Idol.

David Archuleta (17) – Born in Miami, FL, but grew up in Murray, UT.  Archuleta began singing at age 7. Currently a junior at Murray High School, he has performed with an a cappella choir group and plays the piano.

Colton Berry (18) – Currently lives in Staunton, VA.  Berry is a senior at Wilson Memorial High School.  He began singing in church when he was 5 years old. He mentors children in a music class at a local elementary school.

Robbie Carrico (26) – Currently lives in Melbourne, FL. Carrico began singing at age 16.  He has been a member of two groups, Boyz IV Girlz and Missing Picket.

Jason Castro (20) – Currently lives in Rockwall, TX, but was born in Dallas and raised in Rowlett, TX.  Castro grew up playing drums and played in a band called Keeping Lions. Castro was majoring in Construction Science at Texas A&M University.

David Cook (25) – Currently lives in Tulsa, OK, but grew up in Blue Springs, MO.  Cook was born in Houston and graduated from Central Missouri State University in 2006. He has been singing since he was in the 2nd grade and also plays the guitar.

Chikezie Eze (22) – Currently lives in Inglewood, CA. Eze began singing when he was 13 years old. He was a T.S.A. (Transportation Security Administration) screener and a cashier. He also studied singing at Santa Monica College.

Garrett Haley (17) – Currently lives in Elida, OH, but spent his early years in Alamosa, CO.  Haley is a junior at Elida High School. He began singing in elementary school and has performed in local talent shows and high school musicals.

David Hernandez (24) – Born and raised in Glendale, AZ. Hernandez began singing at age 6. He has performed at Urban Network Events, “Arizona Idol” and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade. He has been a member of the bands Tribét and Straight Up.

Michael Johns (29) – Currently lives in Los Angeles, but was born in Perth, Australia. Johns moved to the U.S. in 1998 to attend Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College in Tifton, GA. Johns plays the guitar and was a member of a band called The Rising.

Luke Menard (29) – Born and raised in Crawfordsville, IN. Menard earned a B.A. in Communications from Millikin University in Decatur, IL, and worked for a finance company in Chicago, before touring with an a cappella group called Chapter 6.

Danny Noriega (18) – Currently lives in Azusa, CA. Noriega has been singing his entire life. He recently graduated from high school. In his spare time he likes to dance and make people laugh. He also loves animals.

Jason Yeager (28) – Currently resides in Branson, MO, although his hometown is Grand Prairie, TX. He was a member of a boy band called True This.  He also plays guitar, piano and drums.

Joanne Borgella (25) – Currently lives in Hoboken, NJ, although born and raised in NY. Borgella has been singing since she was 3 years old. She was a plus size model. In her spare time she makes jewelry and designs clothes.

Kristy Lee Cook (24) – Currently lives in Selma, OR, but was born in Seattle, WA. Cook raised and trained horses.  She plays the piano and was a member of the band Sixshooter.

Amy Davis (25) – Currently lives in Cedar Lake, IN, but was raised in Lowell, IN. Davis is a graduate student at Purdue University with a B.S. in Horticulture. She performed with numerous groups, including the Amy Davis Trio and Echoes of Pompeii, a Pink Floyd tribute band.

Asia’h Epperson (19) – Born and raised in Joplin, MO. Epperson has been singing since she was 3 years old. She was a waitress, and enjoys dancing and acting and also has a passion for makeup and fashion.

Alexandréa Lushington (17) – Currently lives in Douglasville, GA. Lushington began singing in her grandfather’s church when she was just 2 years old. She is currently a junior at Douglas County High School, where she sings in the school choir, is a member of the drama club, and plays piano.

Kady Malloy (18) – Born and raised in Houston, TX. Malloy started singing as soon as she could talk. She has a knack for vocal impressions and also plays the tambourine.

Ramiele Malubay (20) Currently lives in Miramar, FL.  Malubay was born in Saudi Arabia and spent her early years in the Philippines. She was a hostess at a local sushi restaurant.  She also plays the piano and guitar.

Syesha Mercado (21) – Currently lives in Miami, although she grew up in Sarasota, FL.  Mercado was a member of The Drum Studio All-Stars band and has a strong background in theatre and dancing.

Amanda Overmyer (23) – Raised and currently lives in Mulberry, IN. Overmyer is a health-care specialist and is earning a bachelor’s degree in business management. She was lead singer for the band Steeleto and loves riding her motorcycle.

Carly Smithson (24) – Currently lives in San Diego, CA, but was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. She made her singing debut in “Les Misérables” in Dublin. Smithson moved to Los Angeles at age 13 to pursue her singing career.  Before her Idol audition, she was working in a bar and running a tattoo shop with her husband.

Alaina Whitaker (16) Born and raised in Tulsa, OK. Whitaker began singing at age 4. Currently a junior at Metro Christian Academy, she has performed at festivals throughout Oklahoma and at school functions.

Brooke White (24) – Currently lives in Van Nuys, CA, but grew up in Mesa, AZ. White was a nanny and has performed as a solo artist with a backup band. She also plays the piano and guitar.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years. Frank Barron was the editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they contributed to numerous publications.