After nearly a month worth of open audition broadcasts plus three more episodes of the competition's Hollywood auditions, last night's American Idol 5 broadcast ended with the Fox reality show announcing the identities of this season's Top 24 semifinalists.

With the selection broadcasts now (finally) over, American Idol 5's weekly performance shows will begin the three-week process in which home viewers will determine the identities of the show's Top 12 finalists.

Using a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday broadcast schedule similar to the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday format used for last season's American Idol 4, American Idol 5's twelve female semi-finalists will perform in a special two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, February 21, after which the show's viewers will finally receive their own chance to cast votes for their fifth season favorites.

Idol 5's twelve male finalists will follow with another two-hour performance show on Wednesday night, after which Fox will air a special Thursday 8-9PM ET/PT live results show (a scheduling move that sets up a mammoth ratings showdown between CBS' Survivor: Panama, the finale of ABC's Dancing with the Stars 2, and NBC's ongoing Olympic coverage) that will eliminate two men and two women from the competition.

The next two weeks will continue the same thrice-weekly format (with the performance shows shrinking to 90-minutes and then 60-minutes as semi-finalists are cut), and end with a live one-hour results show broadcast on Thursday, March 9 at 8PM ET/PT that will reveal the season's Top 12 finalists.

Once the finals begin, American Idol will resume the same broadcast schedule as it had last year, with the show's one-hour performance shows airing Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT and its half-hour results shows airing Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT. Beginning March 22, Fox will air Unan1mous, a new "open-ended" half-hour reality show, in the 9:30PM ET/PT time period that follows Idol 5's Wednesday results show.

American Idol 5's twelve female finalists (listed along with their Fox-issued biographies) 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.

Ayla Brown, a 17-year-old from Wrentham, MA (Auditioned in Boston)

Ayla is currently a senior at Noble & Greenough High School. She is captain of her basketball team and has scored over 2,200 points. Ayla will be attending Boston College in the fall on a full basketball scholarship. She got her start in the world of music while singing along to Disney movies at the age of 6.

Heather Cox, a 22-year-old from Jonesville, NC (Auditioned in Denver)

Heather currently lives in her hometown of Jonesville, NC, and recently graduated from Surry Community College with an accounting degree.

Brenna Gethers, a 25-year-old from Mt. Vernon, NY (Auditioned in Boston)

Born in the Bronx and raised in Mt. Vernon, NY, Brenna began singing at the tender age of 3. Brenna holds a black belt in Shotokan karate and is an avid Scrabble competitor.

Mandisa Hundley, a 29-year-old from Antioch, TN (Auditioned in Chicago)

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.

Kinnik Sky, a 28-year-old from Duluth, GA (Auditioned in Greensboro)

Born and raised in Columbia, SC, Kinnik began singing at the age of 4, and considers her singing style "old school soul." For the past eight years, she has been living in Duluth, GA, where she works as a professional actress at various theaters.

Melissa McGhee, a 21-year-old from Tampa, FL (Auditioned in Denver)

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.

Becky O'Donohue, a 25-year-old from Dobbs Ferry, NY (Auditioned in Boston)

Becky began singing at the age of 4. Becky attended Niagara University on a full scholarship and received her B.A. in Communications. Singing isn't her only talent. Becky played Division I basketball for Niagara University. Currently, she is working for an entertainment company and as a waitress in City Island.

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.

Stevie Scott, a 19-year-old from Fair Oaks, CA (Auditioned in Denver)

Stevie is currently a freshman at California State University, Sacramento, studying music. She is from a musical family, began performing at 10, and by the age of 15, began a recording career. A versatile musician who plays the guitar and piano, Stevie enjoys performing everything from R&B to opera.

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.

American Idol 5's twelve male finalists (listed along with their Fox-issued biographies) are:

Bobby Bennett, a 19-year-old from Denver, CO (Auditioned in Denver)

Bobby has been singing from the age of 7. He dreams of becoming a performer so he can make people forget about their troubles for a little while. Before making the Final 24, Bobby worked at Target.

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.

Patrick Hall, a 27-year-old from Gravette, AR (Auditioned in Las Vegas)

Patrick was born in a small town in Arkansas and began singing in church at age 4. Since then he has been pursuing his singing career while also working as a real estate manager. In 2005, Patrick married his longtime friend Laura, and they currently live with their two cats and a puppy.

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.

Will Makar, a 16-year-old from The Woodlands, TX (Auditioned in Austin)

Will was born and raised in The Woodlands, TX. Will is currently a sophomore at The Woodlands College Park High School. He discovered his talent after his two sisters made him sing "Bare Necessities" for their friends. In 1999 and 2002, Will sang with the Houston Children's Chorus for President Clinton and President Bush, respectively. People would be surprised to know that Will can impersonate Chewbacca from "Star Wars."

Gedeon McKinney, a 17-year-old from Memphis, TN (Auditioned in Chicago)

Gedeon hails from a family of seven children (four boys and three girls). Too young to join the choir, Gedeon sang on the steps of a church for his first standing ovation. He is a senior at The Yo! Memphis Academy of Visual and Performing Arts.

Jose "Sway" Penala, a 28-year-old from South San Francisco (Auditioned in San Francisco)

Sway enters the competition making his own music. Before joining IDOL, he was a member of the 6th Day singing group. Jose spends his days working in real estate and his nights entertaining crowds through song.

David Radford, a 17-year-old from Crystal Lake, IL (Auditioned in Chicago)

David is currently a senior at Crystal Lake Central High School. He has been singing "his way" since he can remember. As a child, whenever there was a spotlight, David somehow found a way to its center. In addition to singing, David plays the trumpet as well as a mean game of Ping-Pong.

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.

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