After four weeks of open audition broadcasts and two more episodes that gave viewers a look at the competition's Hollywood round, last night's American Idol 6 broadcast ended with the mega-hit Fox reality show finally revealing the identities of this season's Top 24 semifinalists.

Although the South has traditionally been a hot bed of American Idol talent -- former Idol finalists Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice, and Taylor Hicks all came from Alabama and Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, and Bucky Covington are all from North Carolina -- only a handful of Idol's sixth season semifinalists are from the southern part of the United States and neither Alabama or North Carolina are represented in this year's semifinals.

Instead, Idol 6's Top 24 group has a distinct West Coast feel, with nine of the semifinalists calling either California or Washington state home. Washington's strong representation (three of the semifinalists call it home) seems particularly ironic given the state also played host to Idol 6's Seattle open auditions -- an audition stop that Idol's judges and producers repeatedly claimed to have brought out the show's worst talent ever.

Idol's sixth season Top 24 group is also older than previous seasons. Only three of this season's group are teenagers, and half of the 24 semifinalists are 25 or older. Three semifinalists have already turned 29 since last summer's auditions which required contestants to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and three more are currently 28. Unlike last season, there are no 16-year-old semifinalists.

With the selection broadcasts now finally over, American Idol 6's weekly performance shows will now begin the three-week process in which home viewers will determine the identities of the show's Top 12 finalists.

Using the same Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday broadcast schedule that last season's American Idol 5 utilized, American Idol 6's twelve male semifinalists will perform in a special two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, February 20, after which the show's viewers will finally receive their own chance to cast votes for their sixth season favorites.

Idol 6's twelve female semifinalists 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 move that will pit the broadcast against CBS' Survivor: Fiji -- that will eliminate two men and two women from the competition.

The following two weeks will continue the same thrice-weekly format (with the performance shows shrinking to 90-minutes and then 60-minutes as additional semifinalists are cut), and end with a live one-hour results show broadcast on Thursday, March 8 at 8PM ET/PT that will reveal American Idol 6's Top 12 finalists.

Once the finals begin, American Idol will settle back into its usual broadcast schedule, with the show's performance shows airing Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT and its half-hour results shows airing Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT.

American Idol 6's twelve male semifinalists (listed along with their Fox-issued biographies) are:

Rudy Cardenas, a 28-year-old from North Hollywood, CA

Rudy currently lives in North Hollywood, CA, but grew up in Denver, CO. He was born in Venezuela and has a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Colorado.

Jared Cotter, a 25-year-old from Kew Gardens, NY

Jared grew up in Kew Gardens, NY, and currently lives in West Orange, NJ. He has a degree in business management from Five Towns College, Long Island.

Sundance Head, a 28-year-old from Porter, TX

Sundance currently lives in Porter, TX, and is the son of Roy Head (who had a No. 1 song in 1965, "Treat Her Right"). His life has been centered around music and he can play five instruments.

Paul Kim, a 25-year-old from Saratoga, CA

Paul currently lives in Saratoga, CA, and is working as a pool maintenance technician. He grew up with a love of soul music and enjoys gardening.

Blake Lewis, a 25-year-old from Bothell, WA

Blake lives in Bothell, WA, and began "beat boxing" in his senior year of high school. He was a member of a youth choir group that traveled to Europe.

Sanjaya Malakar, a 17-year-old from Federal Way, WA

Sanjaya currently lives in Federal Way, WA, and comes from a family of singers. He spent four years in Hawaii performing with the Hawaii Children's Theater.

Chris Richardson, a 22-year-old from Chesapeake, VA

Chris currently lives in Chesapeake, VA, and is a supervisor at a restaurant. He was born in Belgium into a military family and performs at local clubs.

Nicholas Pedro, a 25-year-old from Taunton, MA

Nick currently lives in Taunton, MA, and made it to Hollywood last season. He has performed at talent shows and is an account executive.

Brandon Rogers, a 29-year-old from North Hollywood, CA

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.

Phil Stacey, a 29-year-old from Jacksonville, FL

Phil currently lives in Jacksonville, FL; however, he grew up in Cincinnati. He has a degree in vocal performance and is a singer in the Navy. He is married with two children.

Chris Sligh, a 28-year-old from Greenville, SC

Chris currently lives in Greenville, SC, and is the son of missionaries. He spent 10 years with his family in Germany. Since attending Bob Jones University, he has traveled and performed with a band.

AJ Tabaldo, a 22-year-old from Santa Maria, CA

AJ currently lives in Santa Maria, CA, and has been singing since the age of 5. He is a supervisor for a shipping service.

American Idol 6's twelve female semifinalists (listed along with their Fox-issued biographies) are:

Alaina Alexander, a 24-year-old from West Hollywood, CA

Alaina currently lives in West Hollywood, CA, and has been singing all her life. Her favorite artist is Mariah Carey. She has been pursuing a career in music but almost gave up her dream until she made it on American Idol.

Antonella Barba, a 20-year-old from Point Pleasant, NJ

Antonella is from Point Pleasant, NJ, She attends Catholic University in Washington, DC, pursuing an architecture degree. She began singing in sixth grade and once toured with the Monmouth Conservatory of Music in England.

Melinda Doolittle, a 29-year-old from Brentwood, TN

Melinda currently lives in Brentwood, TN. She is a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville and has a bachelor's degree in Commercial Music. She is a backup singer on stage and in the studio.

Stephanie Edwards, a 19-year-old from Savannah, GA

Stephanie currently lives in Savannah, GA. She sang at the famed Apollo Theater when she appeared on It's Showtime at the Apollo. She has won every singing contest she has ever entered.

Gina Glocksen, a 22-year-old from Naperville, IL

Gina currently lives in Naperville, IL, and works as a dental assistant. She also performs in a cover band. She tried out for American Idol last season and made it to Day 4 of the Hollywood Round.

Leslie Hunt, a 24-year-old from Chicago, IL

Leslie currently lives in Chicago, IL. She is a dog walker who is studying to become a dog trainer. She also plays the piano.

Lakisha Jones, a 27-year-old from Fort Meade, MD

Lakisha grew up in Flint, MI, and began singing at age 5. Gospel is her favorite type of music but she has trained formally in classical music.

Amy Krebs, a 22-year-old from Federal Way, WA

Amy currently lives in Federal Way, WA. She has been singing since she was a small child and attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She is fluent in German and lived in Germany for three years.

Haley Scarnato, a 24-year-old from San Antonio, TX

Haley currently lives in San Antonio, TX. Haley, who recently became engaged, has been performing as a freelance singer since she was 15 years old and considers Celine Dion her hero.

Jordin Sparks, a 17-year-old from Glendale, AZ

Jordin currently lives in Glendale, AZ. She began singing when she was only 18 months old. She won the "Arizona Idol" contest. Her favorite band is Something Corporate.

Sabrina Sloan, a 27-year-old from Studio City, CA

Sabrina currently lives in Studio City, CA. She attended the Northwestern University music and theater program and has performed across the country with the touring production of "Hairspray."

About The Author:Steven Rogers
Steven Rogers is a senior entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and been covering the reality TV genre for two decades.

Nicole Tranquillo, a 20-year-old from Philadelphia, PA

Nicole currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, where she is a vocal major at the University of the Arts. She began taking voice lessons when she was 12 years old.

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