'American Idol' Top 32 revealed, semifinals to begin next week
By Reality TV World staff, 02/05/2004
The third season of American Idol is officially under way, as the preliminary auditions ended and the program's Top 32 semifinalists were revealed last night. Next week, eight of the semifinalists will perform and the viewers will vote for their favorites, beginning the process in which America will decide who will be the next American Idol.
A group of eight American Idol semifinalists will compete during each of the next four Tuesday episodes (February 10, February 17, February 24 and March 2), and viewers, by their votes, will decide which two contestants will advance each week to the final group of 12. The live results shows continue on Wednesday nights (February 11, February 18, February 25, and March 3).
On Tuesday nights, viewers will call or text one of the designated numbers -- each corresponding to one of the contestants -- to cast their vote. On Wednesdays, the semifinalists will take the stage to find out their fate. The two top vote-getters will advance to the finals, and the other six will go home. The weekly live results broadcasts will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 11 (8:30-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape delayed).
The first group of eight semifinalists will perform on Tuesday, Feb. 10 (8-9 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Immediately after the show, the phone lines will open and American Idol viewers will vote for their favorite contestant(s). Fans can use the branded toll-free telephone numbers (1-866-IDOLS-01, -02, etc.) until 11:00 PM ET/PT (10 PM CT/MT), subject to time zone restrictions, or vote via text messaging from their AT&T Wireless phones. AT&T Wireless customers can send the word "vote" to the four-digit short number (5701, 5702, etc.) representing the contestant of their choice.
The eight semifinalists who will perform next week will be:
• Fantasia Barrino, a 19-year-old from Highpoint, N.C., who started singing in church with her family at the age of 5. According to her mother, Fantasia's 2-year-old daughter, Zion Barrino, is going to be an AMERICAN IDOL. Self-described as a crazy woman, Fantasia likes to go skating and dancing. Currently, Fantasia is attending PCBI – Madison High School, pursing her diploma.
• Diana Degarmo, a 16-year-old from Snellville, Ga. who has been singing since the age of 5. In her free time, she enjoys going to football, soccer and basketball games. Diana's favorite singers range from Celine Dion and Patsy Cline to Nickelback and the Ying Yang Twins.
• Jennifer Hudson, born and raised in Chicago, Ill., who has been singing since the age of 7. She is 22 years old and although she has never had formal singing training, Jennifer has been working on a cruise line as a singer and actress. Jennifer's favorite artists include Beyonce, Celine Dion, and Ruben Studdard. Jennifer believes that an American Idol is someone "who is an extremely talented, well-grounded individual with…every bit of star quality."
• Marque Lynche, born in St. Petersburg, Fla. and now living in New York City. Marque studied at Fordham University and recently was a dancer on Broadway in "The Lion King." His favorite type of music is R&B and his favorite male pop artist is Joe. Marque Lynche is 23 years old.
• Matthew Metzger, who currently works as a substitute teacher in Oxford, OH. He began singing at the age of 4. Besides singing, Matthew loves playing basketball, football, baseball and foosball. He describes his vocal style as pop-rock. Metzger currently resides in Oxford, Ohio and is 23 years old. In May 2002 he completed his bachelor's degree in marketing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
• Ashley Thomas, who graduated from UCLA in 2002 with a major in sociology and a minor in Spanish. Born in Fredericksburg, Va, Ashley has carried her passion of dancing and singing from her hometown to Irvine, Calif., where she currently resides. Before auditioning for the show, Ashley was working for an entertainment company in Los Angeles. She is 23 years old, loves Fajitas, and speaks fluent Spanish.
• Erskine Walcott, whose favorite singer is Stevie Wonder. Erskine was born in Manchester, N.H., and now lives in Las Vegas. He is 24 years old and his favorite pop artists are Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. As a naturally competitive person, his American Idol experience has reinforced that "pressure can be your friend."
• Katie Webber, a 22-year-old choreographer and dance teacher from Santa Cruz, Calif. Currently studying dance at San Jose State University, she most identifies her own style with that of Beyonce. Katie's favorite foods are pizza and ice cream. Katie began singing at the age of 8, and says that her favorite judge in the competition is Simon because "he's honest."
The rest of the Top 32 semifinalists are listed below. Photos of all 32 semifinalists are available in our American Idol photo gallery.