'American Idol 6' reveals Top 12 finalists, sends Antonella Barba home
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/09/2007
The sixth season of American Idol revealed its 12 finalists during last night's live results show, which also saw 20-year-old Point Pleasant, NJ native Antonella Barba finally be sent home by viewers.
Along with Barba, the other three semifinalists eliminated were Jared Cotter, a 25-year-old from Kew Gardens, NY; Sundance Head, a 28-year-old from Porter, TX; and Sabrina Sloan, a 27-year-old from Studio City, CA. While Head and Sloan's eliminations were surprising, the elimination of Barba -- considered to be a less talented singer -- was the most noteworthy. Barba had remained as a semifinalist in the competition despite both poor singing performances as well as the emergence of numerous provocative photos that captured viewers' attention over the past three weeks.
Barba sang "Put Your Records On" during Wednesday night's live performance episode, after which judge Simon Cowellpredicted an end to her Idol journey. Upon being eliminated, Idol host Ryan Seacrest told Barba she had "grown up a lot" since she first auditioned for the reality competition series last fall. Seacrest also asked what memories Barba will take from her Idol experience.
"So many... too many. I can't even think about it right now," said a tearful Barba. "Great ones, but..."
Cowell and fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson were more surprised with the eliminations of Head and Sloan than those of Barba and Cotter. On Tuesday night's performance episode, Head sang "Jeremy." While the judges thought it wasn't his best performance, they seemed to anticipate the elimination of 17-year-old Federal Way, WA native Sanjaya Malakar instead of Head.
"I'm speechless. I am. This is a singing competition and Sundance, you've been one of our finest. It's mind boggling," said Abdul upon learning of Head's elimination. Following Head's first audition for the sixth season of Idol, in which he sang "Stormy Monday," Cowell had commented, "I'm going to be amazed if you don't make the finals." When the votes were revealed and Head was sent packing, Cowell did look amazed.
"Simon, what happened?" Seacrest asked Cowell, who answered, "the volume was turned down," accusing viewers of not voting based on Head's vocal performances. Added Jackson, "It's crazy... wild night." Head used his final moments on Idol to make his case.
"Aright, somebody give me a job. I need a job," he said.
Like with Head and Malakar, the judges seemed to anticipate the elimination of 24-year-old San Antonio, TX native Haley Scarnato instead of Sloan, who sang "Don't Let Go" during Wednesday night's performance episode.
"Sabrina should be in the Top 12 dog... she definitely put it down. America got that one wrong I think," said Jackson.
Cotter sang "If You Really Love Me" during Tuesday night's performance episode, and upon being eliminated, he said he was "very" surprised but assured Seacrest he was "still gonna do [his] thing."
"Well obviously you've proved you're very talented... and you've certainly won a lot of fans here," Abdul told Cotter after she gave him a standing ovation. "So I think it's time for you to continue your dream." Commented Cowell, "You're a good looking guy, but you've got to work on your vocals. That's why you're not in the Top 12." Jackson thought Cotter needed to better distinguish himself from others to succeed in the music industry.
"Originality baby. Find out what makes you different from all of the other ones... originality, that's what you need," said Jackson.
Last night was also a milestone of sorts for American Idol, as it marked the reality competition series' 200th episode. To celebrate, American Idol 4 winner Carriew Underwood performed "Wasted," the fourth single from her debut album "Some Hearts." Idol Gives Back was also revealed last night. Raising awareness and funds for organizations that provide relief programs to help children and young people in extreme poverty in America and Africa, the two-night special is scheduled to air Tuesday, April 24 at 8PM ET and Wednesday, April 25 at 8PM ET.
Almost 37 million votes came in to determine the Top 12 hopefuls, one of which will eventually be named the sixth season American Idol. Fox will air a special two-hour performance episode live next Tuesday, March 13 at 8PM ET, when the finalists will celebrate the music of Diana Ross. The following night beginning at 9PM ET, Ross will perform and one finalist will be eliminated from the competition on the live results show.
American Idol 6's Top 12 finalists (listed along with their Fox-issued biographies) are:
Brandon is from North Hollywood, CA, but spent six years in Dallas. He has been singing for as long as he can remember. He works as a voice coach, wedding singer and background singer. His mother is a published songwriter.