American Idol 5

American Idol 5 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The fifth season of American Idol began on January 17, 2006 and concluded on May 24, 2006. It was hosted by Ryan Seacrest. Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell returned to judge. Taylor Hicks won the competition. American Idols LIVE! Tour 2006 followed the season finale.


Auditions were held in seven cities in the summer and early fall of 2005 in the following order:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • San Francisco, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Austin, Texas (later stages of auditions were held in San Francisco because of Hurricane Katrina and the number of evacuees in Texas)
  • Foxborough, Massachusetts (Greater Boston)
Unlike Season Four, no guest judges were involved during the auditions.

Early eliminated contestants

Early auditions

  • Princess Brewer gave Simon Cowell a headache with her singing. In the finale, she received a "Golden Idol" but Brewer did not attend the show.
  • Chonna Clepper auditioned in Greensboro dressed in almost nothing.
  • Holly Corrente worked at a rehabilitation facility. Auditioned in Boston and eliminated there.
  • Rhonetta Johnson had a diva attitude, a potty mouth, and no underwear. She made negative comments, mostly about and directed to Paula Abdul after being rejected by the judges. Eliminated in Greensboro auditions. Johnson later appeared in a Rolling Stone issue discussing the lives of various rejected American Idol 5 auditioners. She won a "Golden Idol" award for the Jackson Award, as revealed during the season finale.
  • Ryan Hart auditioned in Las Vegas singing a song in the style of screamo. He was not accepted and made fun of by Randy Jackson upon leaving, but Hart couldn't depart without screaming a few (censored) words to Simon Cowell.
  • Yuliya Matus was a Ukrainian-American entertainer who auditioned in Chicago. She sang a butchered version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" despite getting a "yes" from Paula Abdul, she was turned away by Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell. She was crying as she came out.
  • Crystal Parizanski auditioned in Chicago, and she was known for her tan and quirky personality. She was nominated for a Golden Idol.
  • Tessie Mae Reid was a wannabe country music singer who auditioned in San Francisco and compared herself to Diana DeGarmo and Carrie Underwood. She sang "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Simon Cowell said that the song was too big for her voice. She said that he was wrong.
  • Joshua David "Josh" Royse is an 18-year-old from Turpin, Oklahoma who auditioned in San Francisco. He sang Hoobastank's "The Reason". Royse is a Christian musician who writes about Christianity. On the show, he also performed an original song about the American Idol audition process (title "The Greatest Feeling Of All") with another contestant he met while they were in San Francisco. He did not make it past his initial audition. The judges praised his singing but said he was not what they were looking for. Later, he was chosen by the American Idol Underground A/R team and signed a recording contract with an independent record company in California. His American Idol song was made into a music video on the American Idol website. He also has an "Idol Alumni" testimonial on the website. In addition, he has spoken in radio interviews on a handful of stations in the U.S., and has airplay for "The Greatest Feeling of All".
  • Michael Sandecki auditioned in Boston, claiming he was "The Next Clay Aiken", and he did closely resemble Aiken at his original audition. However, he sang poorly, and he blamed his bad singing on the fact that he had to "pee." The judges allowed him to go to the men's room and come back when he was done. His singing remained the same, and he was rejected. On the season finale, he won a "Golden Idol" for Best Impersonator, and was asked to sing. He started to sing "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", when somebody else walked out on stage. Sandecki turned around and nearly fainted when he saw it was the real Clay Aiken. Aiken then helped Sandecki finish the song.
  • Zachary Travis auditioned in Denver dressed in a woman's crop top, tight blue jeans with a studded belt and high heeled boots, and sang the Whitney Houston song "Queen of the Night" which was described by Simon Cowell as atrocious and Travis as being confused.

Hollywood round one

The first round of Hollywood consisted of two days of solo performances of one of 12 pre-selected songs, to a piano and background vocal accompaniment, with each singer singing on one day and touring Los Angeles on the other day.

Only 165 out of the 175 that made it to Hollywood go to Hollywood.

Of the 175 hopefuls who made it to Hollywood, 99 were selected to move on to the next round. Among those cut from competition at this time were:

  • Elizabeth Taliaferro made it in the Hollywood rounds.
  • Jeffrey "Ryan" Baysden auditioned in Greensboro. He was told by Simon Cowell, "finally, a Ryan with talent!"
  • Tim Chiles auditioned in Chicago and stuck out by way of his bald head.
  • Brandy Irby made it in the Hollywood rounds.
  • Steven David, Jr. auditioned in his Air National Guard uniform in Greensboro, danced with Paula Abdul, and turned out to be married.
  • Trevaughn Santiago an African-American man that made it in the Hollywood rounds.
  • Omar Ortiz made it in the Hollywood round.
  • David Hoover aka "Crazy Dave", sent through by Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul in Denver. Won a Golden Idol award during the season finale for "Outstanding Male Performance".
  • Samantha Pruna was a 22 year old Filipino-American from New Jersey, who auditioned in Chicago. She currently attends Rutgers University.
  • Kymyata Kelty Simon Cowell said that she made the song scary during the first round.
  • Jason Sczcygiel one of the hopefuls that are eliminated in the first round.
  • Melissa Lucas auditioned in San Francisco and was always seen with Katharine McPhee.
  • Ronnie "R.J." Norman was profiled as the "Cocky Guy" in Austin. He cried when he was eliminated in Hollywood.
  • Kendall Philips auditioned in Chicago and was well known for her overconfidence.
  • Jayne Santayana auditioned in San Francisco, sang "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker.
  • Joshua and Jarrett Simmons are the younger set of male twins that auditioned together in Chicago.
  • Zachary Smits was a 17-year-old, auditioned in Chicago.
  • Heather Ward was the African American woman who surprised the judges by singing Gretchen Wilson's country song "Redneck Woman" in Las Vegas.
  • Shawna White was 16 years old, wore pigtails that inspired yodeling from the judges, auditioned in San Francisco.
  • John Williams sang a Michael Jackson song and did a dance in San Francisco. Simon Cowell was not impressed with his "routine," but Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul put him through.
  • Kendra Winston was the mother of three children, grew up in 42 different foster care situations, auditioned in Greensboro.

Hollywood rounds two and three

The remaining 99 hopefuls competed in Round Two, which consisted of three- or four-person groups singing one of six or so pre-selected songs. Cuts were made (of individuals, not whole groups) after this round.

Approximately 60 contestants went on to Round Three, which was a solo a capella performance of one of 95 possible songs. After this, cuts were made by segregating performers into different rooms, with everyone in a given room either moving on or being cut.

Across both rounds, 55 were cut, including:

  • Meredith Bandas grouped with Leah Barrettsmith and Lauren Weckerly during the group rounds.
  • Leah Barrettsmith, one of the two sisters who auditioned together in Chicago and were profiled as "small-town" girls, sang the song "Blessed" during Chicago auditions.
  • Kenneth (Chase) Bush grouped with Taylor Hicks and Patrick Hall during the group singing. Auditioned in Greensboro.
  • Lea Cabrera grouped with Jes Hudak during the group rounds.
  • Rochelle-Elaine Dye came to her Denver audition with several friends and family who had her name spelled out in t-shirts. She said she was about to be evicted.
  • Sarah Enouen grouped with Mecca Madison and Jessica Santos during the group rounds.
  • Jessica Lee Medeiros eliminated with Jennifer, Josh, Gina and other contestants during the third round.
  • Hannah Freeman grouped with Paris Bennett and Stevie Scott during the group rounds.
  • Gina Glocksen was profiled as a dental assistant and the lead singer in an all-girl band, auditioned in Chicago.
  • Anthony Hansen grouped with one of the Brittenum twins, Jose Penala, and Elliott Yamin. Auditioned in Chicago.
  • Ricky Hayes was a music major, auditioned in Austin.
  • Jason Horn, funeral director, auditioned in Austin with "You Raise Me Up".
  • Jes Hudak grouped with Lea Cabrera during the group rounds. She had short hair.
  • Ashley Jackson, "fit model", sang with her mouth closed, auditioned in Austin.
  • Devin Johnson one of the 175 contestants that made it to Hollywood.
  • Josh Jordan, sang during the group performance together with David Radford, Will Makar, and Kevin Covais.
  • Garet Layne Johnson, profiled as the "Wyoming Cowboy," auditioned in Denver, was advised to get voice lessons before going to Hollywood. He was featured as part of a Brokeback Mountain parody called "BrokeNote Mountain," along with the two other cowboys in his group, Matthew Buckstein and Michael Evans. It was replayed during the finale after the trio won a "Golden Idol" award for "Best Male Bonding"; they also performed the song "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys."
  • Mecca Madison was an 18-year-old high-school senior and belly dancer. She auditioned in Las Vegas.
  • Celeste Scalone was a former contestant on Making the Band.
  • Tyra Juliette Schwartz came from New York and was dumped by her boyfriend shortly before auditioning in Greensboro. She was a former contestant on Making the Band.
  • Cory Sellers Originally from Auburn, Alabama. He auditioned in Greensboro and performed "The First Cut Is the Deepest" Round One in Hollywood. Sellers is currently a performing singer-songwriter in Atlanta, Georgia. (official site)
  • Jennifer Sieminski later gave a very detailed interview describing behind-the-scenes practices of American Idol
  • Jordan Southerland auditioned in Greensboro and was profiled wearing a fireman outfit on the show. He received complimentary reviews in his audition and wore the firesuit in honor of all the firemen who assisted in Hurricane Katrina and in honor of his father who was very sick and had been a fireman for 20 years. In Hollywood he performed the song "Bless the Broken Road".
  • Halicia Thompson sang the theme from A Different World and kissed Simon Cowell. She auditioned in Greensboro.
  • James Gaerries grouped with David Avram and Syd Harcourt during the group rounds. Auditioned in Chicago.
  • William Trice one of the contestants who was eliminated during the Hollywood round 3.
  • Nicole Turk grouped with Celeste Scalone, Kinnik Sky and Tyra Schwartz. She was visibly irritated by Tyra Schwartz.
  • Erica Walters one of the contestants who made it in Denver.
  • Tatiana Ward auditioned in Boston. Simon Cowell compared her to his pet poodle, and complained that her singing was too "old fashioned." Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul let her through.
  • Megan Zieger was first seen in Hollywood, where she had a bad case of laryngitis, but managed to sustain her voice.

Final cutdown

On January 23, 2006, after a considerable time lapse from Hollywood Week, and after the audition shows began to air on January 17, the judges reviewed tapes and considered early audience reaction to the contestants. Without any additional performances from the contestants, the judges then reduced the remaining 44 contestants to 24 semi-finalists in a Pasadena, California hotel. Among those eliminated at this point were:

  • David Avram #4929 grouped with Syd Harcourt and James Gaerries during the group rounds.Auditioned in Chicago.
  • Brooke Barrettsmith #9719, one of the two sisters who auditioned together in Chicago and were profiled as "small town" girls.
  • Megan Bobo #37340, one of the last two girls to be told if they were in the final 24 or not, lost the place to Kinnik Sky.Auditioned in Denver.
  • Jessica Jo Santos #78151 grouped with Mecca Madison during the group rounds.Auditioned in Las Vegas.
  • Antonio Bridges #75320 auditioned in Las Vegas.
  • Derrell and Terrell Brittenum #7958, #7959, older set of twins that auditioned together in Chicago. In Hollywood, Derrell quit after mistakenly thinking his brother had been cut. After an apology, the judges allowed both brothers to stay in the competition. They made it to the final 44, but they were disqualified in January 2006 after being arrested.
  • Murcelia "Marcy" Smith #35871, auditioned in Denver, was in the same group as Brenna Gethers and was visibly irritated by Gethers's obnoxious nature and unreliability in turning up for practice. Gethers, however, made a great show of being friendly with her on stage when Simon Cowell remarked on this after the group performance.
  • Bobby Bullard #35990 grouped with Chris Daughtry and Ace Young during the group rounds. Auditioned in Denver.
  • Bobby Dillard #31701 auditioned in San Francisco.
  • Syd James Harcourt #10300 and Will Makar were the final two men to be called into the room where the final selection for the top 24 was to take place. Auditioned in Boston.
  • Cortney Layne grouped with Nicole Ortiz, Brianna Taylor, and Becky O'Donohue during the group rounds and made to the top 44. Auditioned in Boston wearing a pink shirt.
  • Eugenia Littlejohn #35660 cried and said her dreams of ever making it as a singer were destroyed (she was only 26) when she was not selected for the final 24, provoking surprised reactions from all three judges. Auditioned in Denver.
  • Mark Adam Locklear #63998 auditioned in Greensboro.
  • William McCoy #60242 auditioned in Greensboro.
  • Nicole Ortiz #13677grouped with Cortney Layne, Brianna Taylor, and Becky O'Donohue during the group rounds. Auditioned in Boston.
  • Crystal Stark #1140, sang I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston in Chicago. Katharine McPhee got angry when Stark failed to make it.
  • Brianna Taylor #11142, sang the song "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys in Boston.
  • April Walsh #37870, sang the song "It's Oh So Quiet" by Björk in Denver. Grouped with Lisa Tucker and Ayla Brown in Hollywood.
  • Stephanie White #11425 grouped with Gina Glocksen during the group rounds. She's red-haired, has a sultry voice, and auditioned in Boston.
  • Nick Whitten #61919 grouped with Brenna Gethers and Marcy Smith during the group rounds. Auditioned in Greensboro.


The semi-finals began on February 21, with the names announced on February 15. There were three shows each week for the three weeks of the semi-finals.

There were no format changes from season 4; it featured 12 male singers and 12 female singers (24 total), with two of each being eliminated each week.

The 24 semi-finalists, announced February 15, 2006, along with their songs performed on the show, were:

Top 12 finalists

Taylor Reuben Hicks (74094) is from Birmingham, Alabama. He is gray-haired and performed "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke at his original audition in Las Vegas. At the first audition, the judges were surprised by his appearance. He is the only contestant of the season to have never been in the bottom 3 throughout the competition. He won American Idol on May 24.
  1. Levon (Elton John)
  2. Easy (The Commodores)
  3. Takin' It to the Streets (The Doobie Brothers)
  4. Living for the City (Stevie Wonder)
  5. Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly)
  6. Trouble (Ray LaMontagne)
  7. Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver)
  8. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
  9. You Send Me (Sam Cooke)
  10. Just Once (James Ingram)
  11. Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry)
  12. Something (The Beatles)
  13. Jailhouse Rock (Elvis Presley) - Top 2 05/10/06
  14. In the Ghetto (Elvis Presley) - Top 2 05/10/06
  15. Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen) - Top 2 5/17/06
  16. You Are So Beautiful (Joe Cocker) - Top 2 5/17/06
  17. Try A Little Tenderness (Otis Redding) - Top 2 5/17/06
  18. Living for the City (Stevie Wonder) - Winner 5/24/06
  19. Levon (Elton John) - Winner 5/24/06
  20. Do I Make You Proud - Winner 5/24/06
Katharine Hope McPhee's (32342) mother is a vocal coach. At the time she auditioned in San Francisco, Randy Jackson said her audition was the best he'd heard yet this season. At the end of the first semi-final round, Simon Cowell said that he had heard four very good singers that evening and that McPhee was the best among them. She is from Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California. McPhee was the runner-up on American Idol as announced on the May 24 finale.
  1. Since I Fell for You (Barbra Streisand)
  2. All in Love Is Fair (Stevie Wonder)
  3. Think (Aretha Franklin)
  4. Until You Come Back to Me (Stevie Wonder)
  5. Come Rain or Come Shine (Ella Fitzgerald)
  6. The Voice Within (Christina Aguilera) - Bottom 2 03/29/06
  7. Bringing Out the Elvis (Faith Hill)
  8. Who Wants to Live Forever (Queen)
  9. Someone to Watch Over Me (Frank Sinatra)
  10. I Have Nothing (Whitney Houston) - Top 2 04/26/06
  11. Against All Odds (Phil Collins)
  12. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (KT Tunstall)
  13. Hound Dog / All Shook Up (Elvis Presley) - Bottom 2 05/10/06
  14. Can't Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley) - Bottom 2 05/10/06
  15. I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly)- Top 2 5/17/06
  16. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland) - Top 2 5/17/06
  17. I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues (Ella Fitzgerald) - Top 2 5/17/06
  18. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (KT Tunstall) - Runner-Up 5/24/06
  19. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland) - Runner-Up 5/24/06
  20. My Destiny - Runner-Up 5/24/06
Efraym Elliott Yamin (19991) (pronounced Yah-MEEN) was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He started singing at the age of five and did not have any formal training. He auditioned for American Idol in Boston. After his first semi-final performance, Simon Cowell said that he was potentially the best male vocalist in American Idol history. Yamin lost on May 17 in one of the closest outcomes in Idol history.
  1. If You Really Love Me (Stevie Wonder)
  2. Moody's Mood for Love (James Moody)
  3. Heaven (Bryan Adams)
  4. Knocks Me Off My Feet (Stevie Wonder)
  5. Teach Me Tonight (The DeCastro Sisters)
  6. I Don't Want to Be (Gavin DeGraw)
  7. If Tomorrow Never Comes (Garth Brooks) - Bottom 2 04/05/06
  8. Somebody to Love (Queen) - Bottom 3 04/12/06
  9. It Had to Be You (Frank Sinatra)
  10. A Song for You (Donny Hathaway)
  11. On Broadway (George Benson) - Bottom 2 05/03/06
  12. Home (Michael Bublé) - Bottom 2 05/03/06
  13. If I Can Dream (Elvis Presley) - Top 2 05/10/06
  14. Trouble (Elvis Presley) - Top 2 05/10/06
  15. Open Arms (Journey) - Eliminated 05/17/06
  16. What You Won't Do For Love (Bobby Caldwell) - Eliminated 05/17/06
  17. I Believe to My Soul (Ray Charles) - Eliminated 05/17/06
Christopher Adam Daughtry (36483) is from McLeansville, North Carolina. During the audition round, he was profiled as a "Rocker Dad." He originally auditioned in Denver.
  1. Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi)
  2. Hemorrhage (In My Hands) (Fuel)
  3. Broken (Seether)
  4. Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder) - Chris chose this song due to the fact the Red Hot Chili Peppers had previously covered it in a rock style.
  5. I Walk the Line (Johnny Cash)
  6. What If (Creed)
  7. Making Memories of Us (Keith Urban)
  8. Innuendo (Queen)
  9. What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) - Bottom 2 04/19/06
  10. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? (Bryan Adams) - Top 2 4/26/06
  11. Renegade (Styx)
  12. I Dare You (Shinedown)
  13. Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley) - Eliminated 05/10/06
  14. A Little Less Conversation (Elvis Presley) - Eliminated 05/10/06
Paris Giselle Bennett (60377), the granddaughter of Grammy Award winner Ann Nesby, sang "Cowboy Take Me Away" by The Dixie Chicks at her original audition in Greensboro. She is from Fayetteville, Georgia. Her mother and grandmother are apart of the Grammy-winning group, Sounds of Blackness.
  1. Midnight Train to Georgia (Gladys Knight)
  2. Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
  3. Conga (Gloria Estefan)
  4. All I Do (Stevie Wonder)
  5. Fever (Peggy Lee)
  6. Work It Out (Beyoncé)
  7. How Do I Live (LeAnn Rimes) - Bottom 3 04/05/06
  8. The Show Must Go On (Queen)
  9. These Foolish Things (Billie Holiday) - Bottom 3 04/19/06
  10. The Way We Were (Barbra Streisand)- Bottom 2 04/26/06
  11. Kiss (Prince/Art of Noise (feat. Tom Jones)) - Eliminated 05/03/2006
  12. Be Without You (Mary J. Blige) - Eliminated 05/03/2006
Kellie Dawn Pickler (61615) is from Albemarle, North Carolina, but was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was profiled as a roller-skating waitress. Her mother left when she was two and her father has had numerous legal problems; he is now free. Pickler lived with her grandfather and originally auditioned in Greensboro. She was never in the bottom three until she was eliminated.
  1. How Far (Martina McBride)
  2. Something to Talk About (Bonnie Raitt)
  3. I'm the Only One (Melissa Etheridge)
  4. Blame It on the Sun (Stevie Wonder)
  5. Walkin' After Midnight (Patsy Cline)
  6. Suds in the Bucket (Sara Evans)
  7. Fancy (Reba McEntire)
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
  9. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (Ella Fitzgerald)
  10. Unchained Melody (The Righteous Brothers)- Eliminated 04/26/06
Brett Asa "Ace" Young (36456), who goes by his actual middle name, is from Denver and he auditioned there as well. At that time, Randy Jackson called him one of the best he'd seen so far this season. After he sang "Father Figure", Simon Cowell said that Young had the 'X-Factor' (a reference to another RTL talent show, in the UK). Young had been singing since age nine and had voice lessons.
  1. Father Figure (George Michael)
  2. If You're Not the One (Daniel Bedingfield)
  3. Butterflies (Michael Jackson)
  4. Do I Do (Stevie Wonder) - Bottom 3 03/15/06
  5. In the Still of the Night (The Five Satins)
  6. Drops of Jupiter (Train) - Bottom 3 03/29/06
  7. Tonight I Wanna Cry (Keith Urban)
  8. We Will Rock You (Queen) - Bottom 3 04/12/06
  9. That's All (Nat King Cole) - Eliminated 04/19/06
William Joel "Bucky" Covington (60460) is from Rockingham, North Carolina. He auditioned in Greensboro. He has an identical twin brother named Rocky.
  1. Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  2. The Thunder Rolls (Garth Brooks)
  3. Wave on Wave (Pat Green)
  4. Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
  5. Oh Boy (Buddy Holly) - Bottom 3 03/22/06
  6. Real Good Man (Tim McGraw)
  7. Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning) - (Vertical Horizon/Gary Allan)
  8. Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen) - Eliminated 04/12/06
Mandisa Diane Hundley (6369) is from Antioch, Tennessee. She had a successful original audition in Chicago, after which Simon Cowell made jokes about her size. He later apologized after being confronted by Miss Hundley. Like Pickler, she was never in the bottom 3 until her elimination.
  1. Never (Heart)
  2. Cry (Faith Hill)
  3. I'm Every Woman (Chaka Khan)
  4. Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing (Stevie Wonder)
  5. I Don't Hurt Anymore (Dinah Washington)
  6. Shackles (Praise You) (Mary Mary)
  7. Any Man of Mine (Shania Twain) - Eliminated 04/05/06
Lisa Gabrielle Tucker (36047) is from Anaheim, California, and she auditioned in Denver. Simon Cowell called her the "best 16-year-old" ever to audition on the show at the time of her original Denver audition. She was also a runner-up on Star Search but lost to Tiffany Evans. A week after her elimination she appeared in an episode of The O.C.
  1. I Am Changing (Jennifer Holliday)
  2. Who's Lovin' You (The Jackson 5)
  3. Here's Where I Stand (Tiffany Taylor)
  4. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) (Stevie Wonder) - Bottom 3 03/15/06
  5. Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) - Bottom 3 03/22/06
  6. Because of You (Kelly Clarkson) - Eliminated 03/29/06
Kevin Patrick Covais (10182), 16 years old, is from Levittown, New York. For his audition in Boston, he sang "You Raise Me Up". He is considered to be one of the nerdiest contestants to ever make it to the finals.
  1. One Last Cry (Brian McKnight)
  2. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye) - Bottom 3 03/02/06
  3. Vincent (Don McLean)
  4. Part-Time Lover (Stevie Wonder)
  5. When I Fall in Love (Nat King Cole) - Eliminated 03/22/06
Melissa Christine McGhee (35673) is from Tampa, Florida. She auditioned in Denver. She sang "Can't Fight The Moonlight" by LeAnn Rimes for her audition. She had not sung on camera until her first week in the top 24.
  1. When the Lights Go Down (Faith Hill)
  2. Why Haven't I Heard from You (Reba McEntire)
  3. What About Love (Heart)
  4. Lately (Stevie Wonder) - Eliminated 03/15/06


The semi-finals began on February 21, with the names announced on February 15. There were three shows each week for the three weeks of the semi-finals.

There were no format changes from season 4; it featured 12 male singers and 12 female singers (24 total), with two of each being eliminated each week.

The 24 semi-finalists, announced February 15, 2006, along with their songs performed on the show, were:


Ayla Marie Brown (14336) (born July 28, 1988) is from Wrentham, Massachusetts and is six feet tall. She attended high school at Noble and Greenough School and was a star basketball player. In 11th grade, she was the 4th woman to have ever scored 1000 points at Noble and Greenough School. During her junior year, she became only the 20th female to have ever scored 2000 points in a career at the high school stage. Her father, Scott Brown, is a Massachusetts state senator, and her mother, Gail Huff, is a local television personality at WCVB-TV. She also has a sister, Arianna Brown. She had a college basketball scholarship at Boston College. She originally auditioned in Boston, singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." After being voted off American Idol on March 9, 2006, she has continued to tour throughout the New England area, and plans to release a single in September, followed by an album in October. She performed the National Anthem at the Boston Pops.
  • Ayla Brown Official Website
  • American Idol - Contestants: Ayla Brown
  1. Reflection (Christina Aguilera)
  2. I Want You to Need Me (Celine Dion)
  3. Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield) - Eliminated 03/09/06
Shontai Kinnik Sky Marshall (63995) (born May 13, 1977) is from Duluth, Georgia. She auditioned in Greensboro. She was grouped with Nicole Turk, Celeste Scalone and Tyra Schwartz during the group rounds.
  1. Get Here (Oleta Adams)
  2. Here For the Party (Gretchen Wilson) - Bottom 3 03/02/06
  3. If I Ain't Got You (Alicia Keys) - Eliminated 03/09/06
Heather Josephine Cox (36338) (born January 1, 1984) is from Jonesville, North Carolina. She auditioned in Denver. Grouped with Halicia Thompson and Kellie Pickler during Hollywood group performances.
  1. When You Tell Me That You Love Me (Diana Ross)
  2. Hero (Mariah Carey) - Eliminated 03/02/06
Brenna Mema Gethers (14289) (born October 7, 1980 is from Mount Vernon, New York. She auditioned in Boston. Was known for her "catty" attitude.
  1. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (Stevie Wonder)
  2. Last Dance (Donna Summer) - Eliminated 03/02/06
Stephanie "Stevie" Marie Scott (36600) (born May 22, 1986 in Fair Oaks, California). She auditioned in Denver. She sang "Emotions" with Hannah Freeman and Paris Bennett during their group performance in Hollywood. She was eliminated on February 23, 2006 along with Becky O'Donohue, Bobby Bennett, and Patrick Hall. She made a cameo appearance on the Top 6 performance show of American Idol on April 25, 2006.
  • Stevie Scott Website
  • American Idol - Stevie Scott
  1. To Where You Are (Josh Groban) - Eliminated 02/23/06
Rebecca "Becky" Clarise O'Donohue (11588) is from Dobbs Ferry, New York. Her original audition was in Boston with her twin sister (who didn't sing due to recent throat surgery). Simon Cowell praised her looks, but said no to her voice. She was let through to Hollywood by Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul.
  1. Because the Night (Patti Smith) - Eliminated 02/23/06


Gedeon Luke McKinney (4460) (born October 1,1988) was the 14th place semi-finalist in the fifth season of American Idol. He comes from Memphis, Tennessee, but the Memphis auditions had to be canceled due to relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina that were taking place in Memphis. He was so poor that his school let him administer a concert, and the students paid USD$2.00 to get in, so he could enter the contest in another city. He auditioned in Chicago, and made it through the first rounds and eventually was one of the top 24 contestants. He was not given enough votes to enter the top 12, and was voted off. Gedeon McKinney's father Tony McKinney, an R&B singer who made an album "Love Me Right," died in December, 2005. "Hollywood is a place he always dreamed of going and I am living out my father's legacy, and I really thank God for that". Gedeon has three sisters and three brothers.

  • Article, February 17, 2006 An 'Idol' dream is real for Yo! teen at
  • March 11, 2006 Reality TV Magazine, article
  • Unofficial Gedeon McKinney Fan Site
  • American Idol - Contestants: Gedeon McKinney
  • Gedeon McKinney - TWoP Forums
  • Article, "McKinney honored by City Council" (March 22, 2006)
  1. Shout (The Isley Brothers)
  2. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
  3. When a Man Loves a Woman (Percy Sledge) - Eliminated 03/09/06
William John "Will" Hudson Makar (58581) (born March 2, 1989 in The Woodlands, Texas) is an American singer and was fifteenth-place on the fifth season of American Idol. He is of Ukrainian descent and studies Japanese. Will is currently a sophomore at The Woodlands College Park High School in The Woodlands, TX. He was held back a year in elementary school by request of his parents. In school, Will has starred in several musical productions. In 1999 Will sang with the Houston Children's Chorus for President Clinton, and again in 2002 for President Bush. After five years as a member of the Houston Children's Chorus, Will decided he had grown too old, and "retired." In 2003, Will, along with his three friends Louis, Bobby, and Aaron, formed a band called Last Born, of which Will held the position of the lead vocals until 2005, when he decided to pursue a solo career. Will auditioned for American Idol (Season 5)] in Austin, TX. His fans called themselves the Makaritas and/or the Makaroons. He was eliminated on March 9, 2006, which was the same week that the Top 12 was announced. He finished in 15th place. During the show, Will developed a friendship with David Radford and Kevin Covais. They had performed together during the group performance in Hollywood week. He later appeared in the audience during Queen week.

  • American Idol - Contestants: Will Makar
  • Will Makar's Official Website
  • Will Makar's Fansite
  • Will Makar Central
  1. I Want You Back (The Jackson 5)
  2. Lady (Kenny Rogers)
  3. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (James Taylor) - Eliminated 03/09/06

José "Sway" Penala (32613) (born January 23, 1978) is from South San Francisco, and he auditioned in San Francisco. He is the only Asian-American who made it to the semi-finals this season. His music career started in 1996 when he partnered with his good friend, Darrell, to form the group "DnH" - short for Drop n Harmony. Friends, Jerome and Lionel, joined the group within the next three years. The four self-starters worked hard on their craft, practicing constantly to blend their voices into the perfect mix of breathtaking harmonies. This San Francisco based group, was a favorite in the Bay Area and were likened to a Filipino Boyz II Men. At the end of 2001, Jose began a compilation with members of other Asian-American singing groups. During this initial collaboration, the four singers: Jose, Errol, Drey, and Cyrus, realized that they shared the same passion for music and similar visions of success. This led to the creation of a new group, "6th Day". He wears a Fedora hat & coat and a military dog tag at his performances during the season. He developed friendship with Elliott Yamin, Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry during this season. Elliott was also his group mate in the Hollywood week and his roommate.

  • American Idol - Contestants: Jose 'Sway" Penala
  • Jose Penala's Fansite
  • 6th Day Website
  1. Reasons (Earth Wind & Fire)
  2. Overjoyed (Stevie Wonder) - Eliminated 03/02/06
David William Radford (2436) (born March 22, 1988 in Crystal Lake, Illinois) is a high school senior at Crystal Lake Central High School. David has also been popular in singing with many students in his 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. He originally auditioned in Chicago. He was eliminated from American Idol on March 2, 2006 along with José (Sway) Penala, Brenna Gethers and Heather Cox. David also became best friends and roommates with semi-finalists, Will Makar, and Ayla Brown and finalists, Kevin Covais, Paris Bennett, Lisa Tucker, Katharine McPhee, and Kellie Pickler.

  • David Radford's Unofficial Website
  • David Radford's Official Website
  • American Idol - Contestants: David Radford
  1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
  2. The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra) - Eliminated 03/02/06
Patrick Aaron Hall (79857) (born September 24, 1977 is from Gravette, Arkansas and was seen for the first time in Hollywood. During the Hollywood rounds, Simon Cowell called him 'very likeable', and compared him to Clay Aiken. He received many positive comments during these rounds. To separate himself from the Clay Aiken comparison, however, he chose to perform Come to My Window on the first week of the Top 24. He was eliminated that week.
  • American Idol - Contestants: Patrick Hall
  1. Come to My Window (Melissa Etheridge) - Eliminated 02/23/06
Robert Jonathan "Bobby" Bennett, Jr. (36477) is from Denver and also auditioned there. He made an appearance in the March 21 episode wherein Barry Manilow performed that night.
  1. Copacabana (Barry Manilow) - Eliminated 02/23/06

Song themes

  • March 14 ~ Stevie Wonder
  • March 21 ~ 1950s music
  • March 28 ~ 2000s music
  • April 4 ~ Country
  • April 11 ~ Queen
  • April 18 ~ Great American Songbook
  • April 25 ~ Love songs
  • May 2 ~ Songs from year of birth/Billboard Top 10
  • May 9 ~ Elvis Presley
  • May 16 ~ Three songs per contestant
    1. Clive Davis's choice
    2. Judges choice
    3. Free choice
  • May 23 ~ Three songs per contestant
    1. Song previously performed by contestant
    2. Another song previously sung by contestant
    3. Original Song for American Idol 5: "My Destiny" (McPhee) or "Do I Make You Proud" (Hicks)

Performers on results shows

The Finale

On the finale, Carrie Underwood sang "Don't Forget to Remember Me" solo along with the song "Through the Rain" with the 12 finalists. Also, the finalists performed 2 medleys: one medley was for the female finalists and the other for the male finalists. Several special guests performed with one of the Top Five Idols: Al Jarreau (Paris Bennett), Live (Chris Daughtry), Meat Loaf (Katharine McPhee), Mary J. Blige (Elliott Yamin) and Toni Braxton (Taylor Hicks). Also, Prince performed without an Idol while Clay Aiken performed with lookalike (circa Clay's 2003 audition look) auditioner Michael Sandecki. Towards the end of the program, the finalists performed "Thats What Friends are For" with Dionne Warwick as well as other songs in the Burt Bacharach canon, with Burt Bacharach playing the piano. Several auditionees from the first round returned to accept "Golden Idol" awards, and to sing. A group of 3 failed auditioners (Layne Johnson, Michael Evans, and Matthew Buckstein) performed in a parody of Brokeback Mountain called "Broke-Note Mountain" (though there was no mentioning of homosexuality). The trio "The Broke-Note Cowboys" then performed the Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson song Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. In a pre-taped segment, finalist Kellie Pickler ate lunch with Wolfgang Puck at his brasserie as a way of making fun of Kellie's admitted lack of knowledge. Finally, just before the results were announced, Hicks and McPhee performed "(I've Had) The Time of My Life". The chairman of TeleScope Inc., the company which manages the American Idol results, came at the end of the show with the result card.

Semi-Finals/Finals elimination chart

Female Male Top 12 Top 24

Stage: Semi-Finals Finals
Week: 2/23 3/2 3/9 3/15 3/22 3/29 4/5 4/12 4/19 4/26 5/3 5/10 5/17 5/24
Place Contestant Result
1 Taylor Hicks Winner
2 Katharine McPhee Btm 2 Btm 2 Runner-Up
3 Elliott Yamin Btm 2 Btm 3 Btm 2 Elim
4 Chris Daughtry Btm 2 Elim
5 Paris Bennett Btm 3 Btm 3 Btm 2 Elim
6 Kellie Pickler Elim
7 Ace Young Btm 3 Btm 3 Btm 3 Elim
8 Bucky Covington Btm 2 Elim
9 Mandisa Elim
10 Lisa Tucker Btm 2 Btm 3 Elim
11 Kevin Covais Btm 3 Elim
12 Melissa McGhee Elim
13-15 Gedeon McKinney Elim
13-15 Ayla Brown Elim
14-16 Will Makar Elim
14-16 Kinnik Sky Btm 3 Elim
17-19 José Penala Elim
17-19 Heather Cox Elim
18-20 David Radford Elim
18-20 Brenna Gethers Elim
21-23 Patrick Hall Elim
21-23 Stevie Scott Elim
22-24 Robert Bennett, Jr. Elim
22-24 Becky O'Donohue Elim

Prediction websites


See DialIdol for more information DialIdol is both the name of a computer program for Microsoft Windows and its associated website that began tracking contestants during Season 4 but sprang to prominence at the start of Season 5. The program allows users to automatically vote for the American Idol candidates of their choice using their PC's modem. The program then reports back to the main website, which keeps track of the results based on which contestant has the most busy signals. Based on the data received, the website then predicts which contestant will be eliminated. As of May 25, 2006 its predictions for Season 5 were 87% accurate.


This was the first season in which the free U.S. public service website,, started to openly present voting results (starting with the top 12 and onward) that it claims are from Cingular and American Idol. It has experienced controversy over the fact that its results change throughout the day until the results show.


See American Idol controversy for more information

  • In January 2006, twins Derrell and Terrell Brittenum were charged with forgery and theft after allegedly using a false identity to purchase a car. This occurred after the "Hollywood" portion of the show was filmed, and the twins were subsequently disqualified.
  • Simon Cowell said that he didn't like "last year's winner" as much as Kellie Pickler. He has since said that it was a heat of the moment thing, as Carrie had performed on the show the week before and was not very fond of the performance.
  • In January 2006, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) expressed concern about the show's portrayal of some contestants: "The real offense here was in the producer's decision to add insult to injury by turning a contestant's gender expression into the butt of a joke." Damon Romine, Entertainment Media Director, on January 20.
  • In January 2006 The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, NAAFA accused the show of being discriminatory towards its plus sized contestants.
  • In February 2006, it was discovered that José "Sway" Penala was reportedly signed to E-Real Records with his band 6th Day, at the time of his audition.
  • Two rumors about finalist Katharine McPhee circulated during early March and throughout the season. The first was that she was quitting the show and wouldn't show up for the March 7th airing. The second was sparked by the loose fitting blouses she had been wearing, leading viewers to suspect she was pregnant. Katharine denied both rumors when interviewed by host Ryan Seacrest on the March 7th show.
  • During the March 28th show while Mandisa Hundley was singing, her name and phone number came up, but changed for a few seconds and showed Taylor Hicks' name and phone number. At the end of the show the numbers were right.
  • Mandisa Hundley was voted out after country week, whereby her rendition of "Any Man of Mine" was not well received as a good song choice. The reason behind her elimination was speculated to be her statement of 'This song goes out to everybody that wants to be free, your addiction, lifestyle and situation may be big, but God is bigger' before she sang her rendition of "Shackles (Praise You)" by Mary Mary. Many Americans speculated that the "lifestyle" stated was regarding the homosexual lifestyle, which she denied, clarifying that the lifestyle she was referring to was her lifestyle of addiction to food. Mandisa is a former employee of the Southern Baptist Convention, having joined the Convention in 2000 as a telephone sales representative for their LifeWay book division, and later in their women's enrichment events area, and later Beth Moore's Living Proof Live events. (Mrs. Moore's books are published by LifeWay.)
  • On the April 25th show, whose theme was Greatest Love Songs and featured guest coaches Andrea Bocelli and David Foster, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe forced contestant Taylor Hicks to change his song a day before air time (and the same day as the dress rehearsal). Hicks' chosen song was "Try a Little Tenderness," but Lythgoe, in a radio interview, claimed the song was more appropriate for a Blues Brothers week and was not a song that Andrea Bocelli would sing. Hicks changed his song at the last minute to "Just Once" (James Ingram) and appeared very uncomfortable on stage. Hicks fans were distressed, feeling that a) Hicks' original choice of song was very appropriate to the theme; b) The producers changed the song at the last minute even though they must have known Hicks' choice the previous week as they must obtain clearance for all songs; c) Lythgoe's statement that it was not a song Andrea Bocelli would sing was dubious, as other song choices that were approved were songs sung by Bryan Adams ("Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," sung by Chris Daughtry) and Donny Hathaway ("A Song for You," sung by Elliott Yamin).
  • During the East Coast transmission of the May 2 show, Paris Bennett was bleeped while singing Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You" at the exact point where an obscenity appears in the lyrics. However, Fox confirmed that the song was not bleeped when it was broadcast on the West Coast. Forum posters on the West Coast said Bennett sang the radio edit of the song which excludes the obscenity, leaving viewers nationwide wondering why Bennett was precensored during the earlier live transmission. Paris was eliminated in the results show the day after.
  • Following Chris Daughtry's eliminaton, some Idol fans claimed calls they dialed to Daughtry's line during the first few minutes of voting were misdirected. According to them, the first of his two numbers was answered by a recording of Katharine McPhee (who was also in the bottom two that night) giving thanks for their vote rather than Daughtry. Others reported similar behavior dialing other lines, such as dialing Elliott Yamin's line and hearing a recording of Daughtry giving thanks for their vote.

Major releases


Cover Artists Information Digital Downloads
Top 12 Finalists Encores
  • Released: May 23, 2006
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Chart Positions: -
  • RIAA Certification: -
  • U.S. sales: -
Alphabetical order by song title
  • "Father Figure"
(#108 US)
  • "Midnight Train To Georgia"
(#52 US Pop)
  • "Moody's Mood For Love"
(#73 US Pop, #76 US Digital)
  • "Takin' It to the Streets"
(#69 US, #42 US Digital)
  • "Think"
(#121 US, #90 US Pop)
  • "Wanted Dead or Alive"
(#43 US, #11 US Digital, #37 US Pop)


Cover Artist Information
Taylor Hicks Do I Make You Proud/Takin' It to the Streets
  • Released: June 13, 2006
  • Label: Sony BMG
  • Chart Positions: (2006): #1 (US), #1 (Canada), #16 (World)
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • U.S. sales: 526,000
Katharine McPhee Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny
  • Released: June 21, 2006
  • Label: Sony BMG
  • Chart Positions: #2 (US Hot Single Sales), #6 (Canada)
  • RIAA Certification: Uncertified
  • U.S. sales: Unknown
Kellie Pickler Red High Heels
  • Released: September 25, 2006
  • Label: BNA Records
  • Chart Positions: (2006): #17 (US Country), #65 (US), #69 (US Pop)
  • RIAA Certification: Uncertified
  • U.S. sales: Unknown
Daughtry It's Not Over
  • Released: November 21, 2006
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Chart Positions: - #38 (US), #27 (US Pop), #50 (Airplay), #17 (AC), #25 (Digital), #27 (Mainstream Rock)
  • RIAA Certification: Uncertified
  • U.S. sales: Unknown
Taylor Hicks Just to Feel That Way
  • Released: 2007
  • Label: Arista Records
  • Chart Positions: Unknown
  • RIAA Certification: Uncertified
  • U.S. sales: Unknown
Bucky Covington A Different World
  • Released: January 16 2007
  • Label: Lyric Street Records
  • Chart Positions: Unknown
  • RIAA Certification: Uncertified
  • U.S. sales: Unknown
Kellie Pickler I Wonder
  • Released: TBR
  • Label: BNA Records
  • Chart Positions: Unknown
  • RIAA Certification: Uncertified
  • U.S. sales: Unknown


Cover Artist Information
Kellie Pickler Small Town Girl
  • Released: October 31, 2006
  • Label: BNA Records
  • Chart Positions: #1 (US Top Country), #9 (Billboard 200), #12 (Canada Top Country Albums)
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • U.S. sales: 372,090
Daughtry Daughtry
  • Released: November 21, 2006
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Chart Positions: #2 (Billboard 200)
  • RIAA Certification: Platinum
  • U.S. sales: 1,121,033
Taylor Hicks Taylor Hicks
  • Released: December 12, 2006
  • Label: Arista Records
  • Chart Positions: #2 (US Billboard 200), #43 (Canada), #5 (United World Chart)
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • U.S. sales: 540,000
Katharine McPhee Katharine McPhee
  • Released: January 30, 2007
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Chart Positions: Unknown
  • RIAA Certification: Unknown
  • U.S. sales: Unknown
Bucky Covington Unknown
  • Released: April 17 2007 (tentative)
  • Label: [[

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.It uses material from the Wikipedia article "American Idol (Season 5)". Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions this article may contain.

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