American Idol Season 8 chooses Final 36


Ryan Seacrest documents the triumphs and pains of the thousands of hopefuls aiming to get a chance to become the next American Idol. The Final 36 of American Idol Season 8 have already been chosen.



Hollywood is the iconic symbol of glam, glitter and gold...the stuff that dreams are made of. It is also the same stuff that the remaining 84 Idol hopefuls are aspiring for in their quest to become the next American Idol.

Day 3

These Idol contestants faced some of the biggest challenges in their lives. The next audition phase is singing solo with a song of their choice with a band and back-up singers. Contestants are also allowed to play instruments.

Judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Kara Dio Guardi didn't give feedback to each Idol participant. The judges grouped hopefuls into four holding rooms. Performances will be judged collectively. The judges gave their final decision a they visited each holding room.

It was an emotional drenching day for the Idol "dreamers." From over a hundred, only 84 remained and proceeded to the final judging round.

Day 4

Drama intensified to astonishing proportions in Day 4; shattered dreams, crushed egos and heads rolled as the final 36 are selected. Each contestant had to take long walk to the judging room on their own; the walk alone is nerve-wracking; and facing all four judges, getting the final verdict could be both fearful and exciting.

The judges were excruciatingly tough in the final selection. Anoop Desai, Alex Wagner-Trugman, stage actor Adam Lambert, Taylor Vaifanua from Salt Lake City, Jasmine Murray, Arriana Afsar, Casey Carlson, Megan Corkrey, Von Smith, Felisa Barton and 16 year old student Stevie Wright were among those who got the lucky break.

For split decisions, judges would ask contestants to participate in a "sing-off." Each contestant is given another chance to sing a song acapella. The final performance will ultimately be the deciding factor.

It's the battle of the blondes for Jeann Korbee and Kristen Mcnamara. And in the end, Kristin Mcnamara's voice and singing that shone brighter.

Alexis Grace sang powerfully earning her a much deserved slot in the final 36. She will celebrate her "victory" with the most important person in her life--her daughter.

Kara thoughtfully remarked to visually impaired, talented Scott Mcintyre who was happy to make it to the final 36 list that "I think its pretty unanimous...we are going to see you again."

Mother of 3, Lil Rounds from Kansas City sacrificed a lot to be in the Hollywood auditions; her sacrifices paid off when Kara announced to her "I think you blew us all away. Well...you're going through." Lil was simply overjoyed. When Lil left, Simon added "she's fantastic. She's a good old fashion singer."

After Lil's triumph, other Idol contestants that followed suit had hollow victories and didn't make it to the next round, including Ashley Hollister and Frankie Jordan.

Jessica Langseth wowed the judges during the "sing-off" with Young mom Frankie Jordan and got a golden slot; Frankie wasn't that lucky and was sent packing her bags.

But in 16 year old Allison Iraheta's case, her career has just began with the judges' final decision. Kara broke the great news to her "You know...we all agree with you. You're going through". Obviously impressed with her vocals, Kara remarked "she's got raw, natural talent. She's a dark horse."

Jamar Rogers and Danny Gokey have been soul brothers and best of friends. But these two friends won't be seeing much of each other's company. "Welcome to Season 8" was the hearty welcome given by Randy to Danny while Jamar received "Sorry" from the judges.

More triumphant hopefuls made the list like Ricky Braddy, Matt Giraud, Ju'Not Joyner, Jorge Nunez-Mendez, Brent Keith and even for Stephen Fowler. Stephen played the keyboard during his performance and fumbled for words during last week's solo audition. "The decision is...good news. You're through."

Somberly dressed Nick Mitchell who consistently brought the house down with his wacky performances got an approving pass from the judges. Paula remarked "we spent too much time thinking of you...You‘re a tricky one...Congratulations, you made it!" Nick broke out of his subdued mood and was estatic.

Jackie Tohn totally impressed the judges with her performance last audition where she sang and played the guitar. "Oh My God!" was all Jackie said as she left. "I've made my parents so proud. It's so cool."

Drama queen and constantly sobbing Tatiana Nicole del Toro, wore a Paula Abdul designed bracelet "Keep reaching for the stars" was squealed with delight when she got the green light from the judges. Paula gave her a matching ring. Tatiana was hysterical with happiness as she left the judging room.

Jackie Midcoff and 17 year old Nathaniel Marshall who became good friends during the auditions were pitted against each other for a sing-off that would ultimate decide who will proceed and who will go home.

On Jackie, Kara was quick to point out to her co-judges "why is he in this position? He's that good." But during the sing-off, Nathaniel sang a different tune--he earned the chance to pursue his American Idol dream while Jackie headed back home.

Jeanine Vailes, Kai Kalama, Kendall Beard, Mishavonnah Henson, Anne Marie Boscovich and Kris Allen all made it the final list.

The last two contestants vying to move to next competition round are blue collar workers welder Matt Breitzke and oil rigger roughneck Michael Sarver. Each of them sang from the heart that endeared the judges. These "all American" working dads didn't go empty-handed. Paula proudly told them: "Both of you deserve a chance. Congratulations!" Matt and Michael are the last two hopefuls to make the final 36.

Gear up for next week as the first set of 18 Idol hopefuls would publicly showcase singing prowess.

Catch American Idol Season 8 every Wednesday and Thursday at Q Channel 11. Show starts at 6 pm with a replay at 8:30 pm.

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