Celebrity Meet 'American Idol' 's Top 24 A kickboxer! A nanny! An ex-boyfriend of Britney's! Get to know the singers vying for the top prize. By Cara Lynn Shultz By People Staff Published on February 15, 2008 05:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 24 MICHAEL JOHNS Fox Age: 29Hometown: A native of Perth, Australia, Michael now lives in Los Angeles.Big Praise: His performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" during Hollywood Week was called the "best audition of the day," by judge Simon Cowell.On Being the Oldest Contestant: "One cool thing about getting older is that you do feel more comfortable in your own skin ... But as you get older, you can step back easier and say wow, this is never going to happen again and you have to appreciate every nuance here." 02 of 24 CARLY SMITHSON Fox Age: 24 Hometown: Originally from Dublin, she now lives in San Diego. On Her Own: A former tattoo-shop manager, she made her singing debut in Les Misérables in Dublin's Olympic Theatre. Her Tattoos: "I have one in my mouth which says "Eire" which means Ireland. I have the cross on my back, which I will have removed and then I want to get a whole big phoenix from my neck down to my butt ... I love Japan, so that's why I got a geisha on my arm." 03 of 24 DAVID ARCHULETA Fox Age: 17Hometown: Miami, Fla., but grew up in Murray, UtahAgainst the Odds: David overcame vocal paralysis to wow the judges in San Diego with a powerful performance of "Waiting on the World to Change."How He Handles the Pressure of the Spotlight: "I just remind myself, 'Okay, what am I here for?' I want to be singing. I just have to keep that in mind. It will help me make the right choices and do the right thing." 04 of 24 RAMIELE MALUBAY Fox 05 of 24 SYESHA MERCADO Fox Age: 21Hometown: Sarasota, Fla., but she now lives in MiamiFinding Her Voice: During Hollywood week, Syesha memorably lost her voice and almost didn't make it to the Top 24.How She Did It: "I had to talk myself up and think positive and focus on getting better instead of telling myself I'm sick. I just focus on getting better." 06 of 24 JASON CASTRO Fox Age: 20Hometown: Born in Dallas, he now lives in Rowlett, TexasJason the Builder: Jason was majoring in construction science at Texas AampM University before auditioning for American Idol.Favorite Love Song: "Hey there Deliah" by the Plain White T's. It's just a beautiful story." 07 of 24 DAVID COOK Fox Age: 25Hometown: Tulsa, Okla., but he grew up in Blue Springs, Mo.Rock of Love: A faux-hawked member of two rock bands (Axium and MWK), he performed the tender Bryan Adams ballad "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" at his audition.His Musical Idol: "My father is my musical idol. I grew up watching him playing guitar and so in a sense the seeds were planted early ands everything blossomed from there." 08 of 24 BROOKE WHITE Fox Age: 24 Hometown: The Mesa, Ariz., native now lives in Van Nuys, Calif. Keeping It Clean: The former nanny has never seen an R-rated movie. On Dropping Out of Beauty School: "I'm a beauty school dropout! It's just because I found music and I decided that's what I needed to do. I still do hair. I do my sister's hair in the bathroom." 09 of 24 DAVID HERNANDEZ Fox Age: 24Hometown: Glendale, Ariz.Winning Them Over: After a nervous audition in San Diego, David earned the judges' respect with his rousing rendition of "Love the One You're With" during Hollywood week but Simon told him that he had doubts about whether he could go far in the competition.On Simon's Comments: "I'm actually grateful he said that because if he would have put me through with flying colors I may have felt I had it more and in the bag and not challenge myself. Him saying that actually wants to make me step up my game more." 10 of 24 KRISTY LEE COOK Age: 24Hometown: Now living in Selma, Ore., she originally hails from Seattle.Tough as Nails: A nature girl who lives in a log cabin and raises horses, she's also a kickboxer training to be a cage fighter!Her Big Appetite: "I eat like a football player, I swear, I do. I grew up with good home cooking and that kind of stuff so I just have the biggest appetite." 11 of 24 AMANDA OVERMYER Fox Age: 23Hometown: Mulberry, Ind.Full Speed Ahead: A true-blue rocker – just check out her two-toned hair! – Amanda likes to ride her motorcycle when she's not belting out the Janis Joplin-style tunes.On Riding Her Harley Davidson: It's a great way to just get out and relax and take in the scenery. In my situation, it's a way for my family to get together. Because we all live you know two or three hours apart, but we all ride, so we'll find a general meeting point and ride." 12 of 24 CHIKEZIE Age: 22 Hometown: Inglewood, Calif. Making the Cut: The former T.S.A. screener auditioned for American Idol previously – but didn't make the cut till now. What His Name Means: "It's Nigerian in its heritage. My name actually translates to something well created by God." 13 of 24 ASIA'H EPPERSON Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 19Hometown: Joplin, Mo.A Good Impression: She won over the judges before she even sang, with Paula complimenting her appearance and Simon admiring her smile.Her Musical Idol: "I love Mariah Carey. She�'s always been my absolute favorite, by far. I used to go to the video store and rent videos of her live performances and pop 'em in and watch �'em and I would cry and cry." 14 of 24 JASON YEAGER Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 28Hometown: Branson, Mo., but was born in Grand Prairie, Texas.This and That: Jason was a member of the boy band True This.His Celebrity Crush: "I'm a huge Carrie Underwood [fan]. She�'s a cutie patootie! I was kind of jealous �when I found out she was dating Tony Romo because I�'m also a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. I literally felt like she had cheated on me." 15 of 24 ALAINA WHITAKER Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 16Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.Getting 'Carrie'-d Away: The high school junior, who sang Faith Hill's "Stronger" in her audition, looks and sounds like another famous blonde Idol contestant – Carrie Underwood.Her Favorite Food: "I like to keep it simple. I love Honey Bunch of Oats and Lucky Charms." 16 of 24 DANNY NORRIEGA ELIMINATEDAge: 18Hometown: Azusa, Calif.Repeat Performance: Although his nerves got the best of him the last time he auditioned, Danny's rendition of "Proud Mary" impressed the judges, who unanimously put him through. Simon even said he had a "very good" voice!His Musical Influences: "I used to love the Spice Girls. I used to be obsessed with Selena and Britney Spears. Now I like artists that send messages through their music like M.I.A. or Pink." 17 of 24 LUKE MENARD Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 29Hometown: Crawfordsville, Ind.Cashing Out: After working for a finance company in Chicago, Luke toured with an a cappella group called Chapter 6.Why He Wants to Win: "If they vote me the American Idol, I'm going to do everything I can within my power to please people with music and with my lifestyle, and just being a positive role model to kids that might look up to me." 18 of 24 KADY MALLOY Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 18Hometown: Houston, TexasCopy Cat: A spot-on mimic, Kady does a killer impression of Britney Spears.What She Misses: "I have a chihuahua named Peanut. He is at home. I miss him so much. I have a video of him on my phone where he is licking my hand and I watch it every night before I go to bed." 19 of 24 ROBBIE CARRICO ELIMINATEDAge: 26Hometown: Melbourne, Fla.Blast From the Past: A former member of teen pep group Boyz N Girlz United, Robbie dated Britney Spears when opening for her 1999 tour.On Touring: "I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was honestly a very, very good experience for somebody who was sixteen years old and getting to travel around the world and just doing what I love to do." 20 of 24 ALEXANDRéA LUSHINGTON Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 17Hometown: Douglasville, Ga.Getting Competitive: No stranger to reality TV, Alexandréa appeared on Star Search and Showtime at the Apollo.How Idol is Different: "[On Idol] we get to do photo shoots and interviews and we get to rehearse and sing in front of America and we get voted for and I think that's the huge difference. It's not just a showcase, it's an actually opportunity for us to achieve our dreams." 21 of 24 AMY DAVIS Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 25Hometown: Born in Lowell, Ind., she now lives in Cedar Lake.With the Band: The Purdue University grad has sung with several groups, including a Pink Floyd tribute band!An Unusual Crush: "I am completely in love with Optimus Prime ... He's the father Transformer and is the guy that is in control and a leader." 22 of 24 COLTON DAVID BERRY ELIMINATED Age: 18 Hometown: Staunton, Va. An Early Start: The high school senior began singing in Church when he was just 5 years old. On Becoming a Celebrity; "I come from a small town in Virginia and we have a five to one ratio: cow to person. �I�'ve been on the cover of the newspaper every day for the last week!" 23 of 24 JOANNE BORGELLA Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 25Hometown: The New Yorker now lives in Hoboken, N.J.Top Model: A plus-size model, Joanne once sang the National Anthem at Giants Stadium.Her Favorite Designer: "I love Michael Kors!" 24 of 24 GARRETT HALEY Fox ELIMINATEDAge: 17Hometown: Raised in Alamosa, Colo., he now lives in Elida, Ohio.Reaching Out: Garrett is already thanking fans – through his MySpace headline!His Good Luck Charm: I have a ring that I wear that I kiss before I go onstage and I have pennies in my shoe."