American Idol 11 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The eleventh season of American Idol premiered on Fox on January 18, 2012. The show aired on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c. Ryan Seacrest returned as host, while Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Lopez all returned as judges. Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine, a songwriter and producer, also returned as an in-house mentor to work with the contestants on a weekly basis. This season followed the same format as season 10, although a new title screen and logo were created, with a different font. This was the last season to feature Tyler and Lopez as judges after they confirmed they would be leaving the show two months after the finale.
The season set a record when 132 million votes were gathered for the finale. On May 23, 2012, Phillip Phillips became the winner of the eleventh season of American Idol, beating Jessica Sanchez, the first female recipient of the judges' save.
^The New Jersey audition episode was not aired due to scheduling changes.
The New Jersey audition was a late addition to the schedule, the audition was held although the attendance was reportedly low. However, the audition episode was not shown, the first time that a scheduled audition that had taken place was not shown. Contestants known to have auditioned in New Jersey were listed as having auditioned elsewhere on the official American Idol website, for example Alex Wong who auditioned in New Jersey has San Diego listed as his audition city on the official website.
Hollywood week and Vegas rounds
The Hollywood rounds of auditions were held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium starting December 12, 2011. There were 309 contestants at the start of Hollywood Week. The contestants performed solo for the first round, and 185 made the cut. Amongst those sent home included actor/comedian Jim Carrey's daughter, Jane Carrey. Another contestant, Symone Black, collapsed and fell on stage, but made the cut. The second round involved group performances, and a number of contestants became ill and collapsed in the auditorium. 98 contestants moved on to the third and final round, which were solo performances accompanied by a band or instrument. The contestants were then separated into four rooms, where one room of 28 contestants were all eliminated, while the 70 contestants in the other three rooms all advanced to the Las Vegas round.
After Hollywood, the contestants went to Las Vegas for a challenge round where they performed traditional late 1950s song in groups with Elvis Presley "Viva, Elvis!" show as the backdrop. 28 of the 70 contestants were eliminated. Next came a solo round accompanied by an instrument at the stage for Le Rêve at the Wynn Las Vegas.
After the 42 remaining contestants sang their last solo at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, they were called one by one to hear the final judgement. Twelve guys and twelve girls were initially announced as the semi-finalists; however, the judges announced plans to add a thirteenth male semi-finalist between Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, Johnny Keyser and David Leathers Jr. The following week, after the male performances, Jermaine Jones was revealed to be the thirteenth performer.
The semi-finals round started on February 28. Below are the two semi-final groups (males and females) with contestants listed in their performance order. The top five males and top five females, along with the three wild card choices by the judges, advanced to the finals. The males started the semifinal round, and the females continued on following night's episode, the contestants perform songs of their choice (there was no particular theme). This season, long-time vocal coach Debra Byrd was replaced by Jimmy Iovine's own team in the live shows.
Following those ten singers advancing on Thursday, March 1, six of the remaining 25 semi-finalists were selected by the judges to compete in the Wild Card round. The Wild Card round immediately began, following the announcement of the ten finalists. Following another performance by each Wild Card contender, the judges then selected three contestants to advance to the final group of 13.
The following is a list of semi-finalists who failed to reach the finals:
Age at time of show
Date of birth
January 6, 1990
April 6, 1987
June 25, 1986
Agoura Hills, California
January 3, 1989
June 30, 1988
Stokesdale, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Brielle Von Hugel
May 4, 1994
Staten Island, New York
Rutherford, New Jersey
Age at time of show
Date of birth
May 29, 1984
May 12, 1983
Queens, New York
June 13, 1996
April 12, 1985
February 15, 1991
Point Pleasant, West Virginia
July 25, 1984
Phillip Phillips (born September 20, 1990) is from Leesburg, Georgia. He attended Lee County High School. He graduated Albany Technical College, but had to miss the graduation ceremony due to being on American Idol. He auditioned in North Charleston, singing "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with the guitar. He performed "I Only Have Eyes For You" with Heejun Han, Neco Starr, and Jairon Jackson during Hollywood Week. Many people have compared his vocal style to that of Dave Matthews, whom he has also noted as an influence. Phillips was announced the winner on May 23, 2012.
Jessica Sanchez (born August 4, 1995) is from San Diego, California. Sanchez auditioned in San Diego. She performed "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" with DeAndre Brackensick and Candice Glover in Las Vegas. During the Sing For Your Life green mile round, Sanchez performed "The Prayer" by Andrea Boccelli. Before Idol, she was known for her appearance on the first season of America's Got Talent where she was brought back by judge Brandy during the show's wildcard round. Sanchez also participated in the YouTube edition of "We Are the World" along with 56 other YouTube artists, including American Idolseason 10 finalist Thia Megia. She was saved from elimination by the judges after receiving the lowest number of votes in the top seven round, making her the first female contestant to be saved by the judges. Sanchez was announced the runner-up on May 23, 2012.
Joshua Ledet (born April 9, 1992) is from Westlake, Louisiana. He writes songs and lyrics for and attends the House of Prayer Holiness Church. He auditioned in Houston, Texas. He originally auditioned for American Idolseason 10, but he did not make it past the audition stage. He was dubbed "Mantasia" (as being the male version of American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino) during the semi-finals. He performed "Blue Suede Shoes with Shannon Magrane, Amber Holcomb, and Curtis Finch Jr. " His musical influences are his mother, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Fantasia Barrino, James Brown, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. He was eliminated on May 17, 2012 and came in third place.
Hollie Cavanagh (born July 5, 1993) is from McKinney, Texas. She was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, England to Lorraine and Peter Cavanagh and hailed from the Liverpudlian suburb Allerton, in England, and moved to the United States in 2002. She originally auditioned for season 10, but she was eliminated in the green mile round and was encouraged by Jennifer Lopez that she could win the competition in a couple of years with practice. Hollie sang "Mr. Sandman" with Naomi Gillies and Marissa Pontecorvo in Las Vegas. Hollie's only appearance in season 11 was during the Top 42 green mile round. She sang "Change" by American Idol season 4 winner Carrie Underwood for the Sing for Your Life round. She was eliminated on May 10, 2012 and came in fourth place. She auditioned in Galveston.
Skylar Laine (born February 1, 1994) is from Brandon, Mississippi. She is the second finalist to hail from Mississippi, with the previous one being Jasmine Murray from season 8. She auditioned in Galveston, singing "Hell on Heels" by Pistol Annies. In Las Vegas, she performed "Dedicated to the One I Love" with Colton Dixon, Chase Likens, and Cari Quoyeser. Her musical influences include George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and Miranda Lambert. She was eliminated on May 3, 2012 and came in fifth place.
Elise Testone (born July 29, 1983) is from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She auditioned in North Charleston with the song "Get It While You Can" by Janis Joplin. Prior to Idol, she was a voice instructor in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and she performed regularly, either solo or with one of several bands, in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2011, her band, the Freeloaders, won the Funk/Soul/R&B Artist of the Year award in the Charleston City Paper's Music issue. Testone received additional recognition from the Charleston City Paper in 2011, winning the staff pick for Best Tribute for Elise Testone's James Brown Dance Party. She has performed as an opening act for various other artists, including Snoop Dogg, Nappy Roots, Seven Mary Three, and Kevin Costner's band, Modern West. She was eliminated on April 26, 2012 and came in sixth place.
Colton Dixon (born October 19, 1991) is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He auditioned in North Charleston with his younger sister, Schyler. He originally auditioned for season 10 along with Schyler in the Nashville, Tennessee, auditions, but she was cut in the group round and then he was cut in the green mile round. Dixon returned in season 11, however he did not plan to audition, initially planning to simply accompany his sister Schyler to her audition. The judges implored Dixon to audition as well, where he sang David Cook's "Permanent". Colton performed "Dedicated to the One I Love" with Skylar Laine, Chase Likens, and Cari Qouyeser in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, Schyler was eliminated, bringing Colton to tears. He performed the Coldplay song "Fix You", and dedicated it to his sister. He was eliminated on April 19, 2012 and came in seventh place. Prior to his elimination, Dixon had never been in the Bottom 3.
DeAndre Brackensick (born October 21, 1994) is from San Jose, California. He auditioned in San Diego, California. He originally auditioned for American Idolseason 10, but he was cut in the green mile round. He performed "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" with Jessica Sanchez and Candice Glover in Las Vegas. He is an active participant in Oak Grove High School's Theater Arts program and is the president of the school's Polynesian Club. He was eliminated on April 5, 2012 and came in eighth place.
Heejun Han (born April 20, 1989) was born in Anyang, Gyeonggi, South Korea. He is from Flushing, New York. He and his family migrated to Queens, New York when he was a child and then moved to Flushing, Queens, New York during his teenage years. Before American Idol, he was a non-profit organizer, working with children with special needs. He has spoken of suffering from emotional depression and credited the children that he worked with for helping him to recover from his illness. He has also said that the children motivated him to audition for American Idol. He auditioned in Pittsburgh with "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You". His audition brought Jennifer Lopez to tears, and Steven Tyler stated "I think you are really great. I think you could be the American Idol". He is the first Korean American to make the finals on American Idol. He was eliminated on March 29, 2012 and came in ninth place.
Erika Van Pelt (born December 12, 1985) is from South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She auditioned in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with song "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles. She draws her influences anywhere from Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Joss Stone, Jill Scott, and Kim Burrell. She has a passion for rhythm and blues, soul, country, jazz, rock and classical. She was eliminated on March 22, 2012 and came in tenth place.
Shannon Magrane (born October 21, 1995) is from Tampa, Florida. She is the daughter of Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster and former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane. She auditioned in North Charleston, South Carolina, with the song "Something's Got a Hold on Me" by Etta James. She was eliminated on March 15, 2012 and came in eleventh place.
Jermaine Jones (born November 18, 1986), born to Katrice Cornett, is from Pine Hill, New Jersey. He auditioned in Portland, Oregon. He attended Overbrook High School. Before Idol, he worked as a vocal instructor at Highest Praise Performing Arts Center. Jones was not originally chosen for the semi-finals, but he was called back after the top 24 selection filming, making him the 25th semi-finalist and thirteenth male semi-finalist. Standing 6 feet 8 and a half inches tall, he was dubbed "The Gentle Giant" on the show. His musical influences are his mother and John Legend. On March 13, 2012, he was disqualified for concealing arrests and outstanding warrants. He is the second American Idol contestant to be disqualified during the finals, as Corey Clark was disqualified in the second season, and he came in twelfth place.
Jeremy Rosado (born March 24, 1992) is from Valrico, Florida. Rosado previously auditioned for American Idol four times. He was eliminated on March 8, 2012, and came in thirteenth place. He is the fourth wild card finalist to be the eliminated first in the finals, with his female predecessors being Leah LaBelle (season 3), Jasmine Murray (season 8), and Ashthon Jones (season 10). His musical influences are Francesca Battistelli, Kirk Franklin, and Israel Houghton.
In this season, maintaining the previous season's format, there are 12 weeks of the finals and 13 finalists, with one finalist eliminated per week based on the American public's votes (exceptions include Top 13-week, where the judges were able to decide who would go home based on the lowest votes between the male and female contestants, and Top 12-week, where Jermaine Jones was disqualified). Previous season's winner Scotty McCreery recorded the Tim McGraw song "Please Remember Me" as the send-off song played when a contestant is eliminated. Jimmy Iovine resumed duties as a weekly mentor to the contestants, frequently assisted by guest mentors. This season, the fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and Soyon An were employed as image advisers for the Top 10 finalists.
On March 7, 2012, the women performed Whitney Houston songs and the men performed Stevie Wonder songs. Ryan Seacrest stated that it will be a competition between the male and female contestants. As a result, the bottom three of each gender, as well as the male and female contestant who received the lowest number of votes amongst their gender, were announced the next night, and the judges chose who went home. However, this will not count as the supposed "Judges' Save" which can only be used once in the competition before the Top 5. Between Jeremy Rosado and Elise Testone, each of whom received the lowest number of votes for their respective gender groups, the judges used the Top 13 Save on Elise Testone and chose to eliminate Jeremy Rosado from the competition.
Due to a hidden criminal past, Jermaine Jones was disqualified prior to the Wednesday performance show. Footage of executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick confronting Jones was shown in what would have been his performance slot, in between Van Pelt's and Laine's performances. A clip of his rehearsal, singing "Somewhere Out There", was shown after his removal from the competition. Voting continued as scheduled with one of the remaining 11 contestants eliminated in addition to Jones, unlike the season 2 disqualification of Corey Clark.
Each contestant performed two songs: a Billboard number-one hit from the 21st century and a song from the classic soul era. Normally two finalists would be eliminated the week after using the judges' save. However, only one finalist was eliminated.