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[03/10/06 - 12:00 AM]
Top 12 Finalists Revealed as Ayla Brown, Kinnik Sky, Will Makar and Gedeon Mckinney Are Eliminated from the "American Idol" Competition

[via press release from FOX]

TOP 12 FINALISTS REVEALED AS AYLA BROWN, KINNIK SKY, WILL MAKAR AND GEDEON McKINNEY ARE ELIMINATED FROM THE "AMERICAN IDOL" COMPETITION

THE COUNTDOWN TO THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL CONTINUES; NEXT WEEK, GUYS AND GIRLS COMPETE TOGETHER ON "AMERICAN IDOL" TUESDAY, MARCH 14, ON FOX One Finalist Will Be Sent Home On the Results Show, Wednesday, March 15

The amazing fifth season of AMERICAN IDOL reached a crescendo last night, when the Top 12 finalists were revealed. With 46 million votes cast after Tuesday and Wednesday's performance shows, the viewers decided who should remain in the quest to become the next AMERICAN IDOL. It was revealed that the journey ended for Ayla Brown, Kinnik Sky, Will Makar and Gedeon McKinney after they received the fewest votes. Brown, from Wrentham, MA, sang "Unwritten," while Sky, of Duluth, GA, sang "If I Ain't Got You." Makar, who lives in The Woodlands, TX, entertained the audience with "How Sweet It Is," and McKinney, from Memphis, TN, sang "When a Man Loves a Woman." Season four contestant Bo Bice returned to the AMERICAN IDOL stage, performing his hit single "The Real Thing."

Next week, the competition on television's hottest show heats up when the guys (Kevin Covais, Bucky Covington, Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Elliott Yamin and Ace Young) and the girls (Paris Bennett, Mandisa, Melissa McGhee, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler and Lisa Tucker) compete head-to-head for the first time on Tuesday, March 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed). The theme for the performance show will be "the music of Stevie Wonder." Tune in the following night to see who receives enough votes to stay in the competition and who is sent home on the live results show Wednesday, March 15 (9:00-9:30 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

Meet your 12 Finalists:

PARIS BENNETT - (17) 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.

MANDISA - (29) 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.

MELISSA McGHEE - (21) 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 - (21) 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 - (19) 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 - (16) 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.

KEVIN COVAIS - (16) 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 - (28) 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 - (26) 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 - (29) 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.

ELLIOTT YAMIN - (27) From Richmond, VA (Auditioned in Boston) - Elliott began singing at 5 and 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 - (25) 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.

Fourteen-time Emmy-nominated AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder of 19 Entertainment, Ltd.; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; Nigel Lythgoe, President, 19 Television; and Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.

Go to AmericanIdol.com for all of your AMERICAN IDOL news. Check out the photos from the different audition cities, along with special, behind-the-scenes information on AMERICAN IDOL.





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· AMERICAN IDOL (ABC)





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