The elimination this week's two lowest male and female vote-getters means that American Idol 5's gender-divided semifinals has ended, with the show's twelve remaining contestants now set to begin competing head-to-head in the show's finals. American Idol 5's first finalist performance show (a special two-hour broadcast) will air on Tuesday, March 14 at 8PM ET/PT, with its first half-hour results show airing the following evening at 9PM ET/PT.
Kinnik, the women's lowest vote-getter, had performed Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" during Tuesday's broadcast of the American Idol 5's third and last female semifinalists performance show. "I think you just booked your plane ticket home," Idol judge Simon Cowell had told the 28-year-old Duluth, GA resident after her performance. As the only surviving member of last week's bottom three vote-getters, Kinnik's departure was not a surprise.
Ayla Brown, a 17-year-old Wrentham, MA high school basketball star that the show had dubbed "the all-American girl," had sung Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" -- an unusually current song selection (Bedingfield's version ranks 10th in this week's Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.) Brown remained silent after Idol host Ryan Seacrest first announced her elimination, eventually acknowledging that she was fighting back tears. "I know it's not easy," Seacrest consoled her. "It's OK to cry... it's OK to show that emotion."
Makar, the men's lowest vote-getter, had performed Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is" during Wednesday's broadcast of American Idol 5's final male semifinalists performance show. Cowell had deemed the performance "very juvenile" -- an apt description given The Woodlands, TX high school student just recently turned 17 years old.
McKinney, another 17-year-old that also ranked as one of American Idol 5's youngest semifinalists, had performed Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman." Unlike Brown, McKinney remained remarkably upbeat and enthusiastic after learning that he would be the semifinals' last cut. "And [he's] still smiling," Seacrest noted after the Memphis, TN high school senior maintained his trademark grin even after his elimination was revealed.
According to Seacrest, American Idol viewers cast over 46 million votes for last night's results show.
The twelve contestants who made it to American Idol 5's finals are:
Paris Bennett, a 17-year-old from Fayetteville, GA (Auditioned in Greensboro)
Paris began singing at the age of 4. She has performed in numerous concerts and has opened for many groups, including Bow Wow. Paris is a skilled dancer in hip-hop, jazz and modern African dance.
Kevin Covais, a 16-year-old from Levittown, NY (Auditioned in Boston)
Kevin is a junior at Island Trees High School in Levittown, NY. He has been performing since he was 10 years old and has appeared in productions such as "Guys and Dolls" and "Godspell." Kevin also is a member of the Chorale in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and the Nassau/Suffolk Jazz ensemble.
Bucky Covington, a 28-year-old from Rockingham, NC (Auditioned in Greensboro)
Bucky lives in his hometown of Rockingham, NC. At the age of 19, he picked up a guitar for the first time and soon after joined his first band. About two years ago, Bucky switched to a country/beach/rock band and realized that his talent crosses many types of music.
Chris Daughtry, a 26-year-old from McLeansville, NC (Auditioned in Denver)
Chris discovered his singing ability in algebra class. A gifted guitar player and songwriter, Chris has already recorded a CD with his band Absent Element. For the past three years, Chris has been a service advisor for a car dealership in Greensboro, NC. In 2000, Chris married his wife Deanna and became a stepfather of two.
Taylor Hicks, a 29-year-old from Birmingham, AL (Auditioned in Las Vegas)
Taylor is a blue-eyed soul singer who has played every honky-tonk imaginable. A talented writer and harmonica player, Taylor enters the competition with almost 29 years of singing experience, as he has been singing since he could crawl.
Born and raised in Citrus Heights, CA, Mandisa moved to Nashville to study singing at Fisk University. She has performed with such artists as Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill and Charlie Daniels.
Melissa was born and raised in Tampa. At the young age of 4 Melissa embarked on her performing career. A true romantic, Melissa enjoys singing, dancing and going to the beach in her free time.
Katharine McPhee, a 21-year-old from Sherman Oaks, CA (Auditioned in San Francisco)
Katharine was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was exposed at an early age to the joy of singing by her mother, a vocal coach. After high school, Katharine attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for one semester and majored in musical theater.
Kellie Pickler, a 19-year-old from Albemarle, NC (Auditioned in Greensboro)
Kellie is a waitress who currently lives in Albemarle, NC, and enjoys singing, dancing and shopping for shoes. Kellie has been singing for as long as she can remember, but only began performing for crowds four years ago.
Lisa Tucker, a 16-year-old from Anaheim, CA (Auditioned in Denver)
Lisa is currently a senior at Kennedy High School. She was the original "Young Nala" in Disney's Los Angeles production of "The Lion King" and was voted by Variety as one of the "Top Ten Talents to Watch." Lisa also plays the guitar and piano and is a songwriter.
Elliott Yamin, a 27-year-old from Richmond, VA (Auditioned in Boston)
Elliott began singing at the ripe age of 5. His mother, who was a professional singer, is his inspiration and biggest fan. For Elliott, being on AMERICAN IDOL has allowed him to pursue his dream of singing professionally.
Ace Young, a 25-year-old from Los Angeles, CA (Auditioned in Denver)
Ace is the youngest of five brothers. Ace grew up in Boulder, CO, and began his singing career at age 9. He started performing at 11 in local malls and recreation centers. Ace lives in Los Angeles and works in sales and home remodeling.