'Idol' Makes a 'High School Musical' Connection

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Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty; FOX

Two of this year’s Top 24 American Idol finalists have ties to High School Musical: HSM star KayCee Stroh, a.k.a. “the pop and lock girl,” tells PEOPLE that she and contestant David Archuleta performed together at a Park City, Utah, benefit years ago.

“I think I was about 18 and he was about 12,” Stroh, 23, told PEOPLE at the American Idol Top 24 party on Thursday night in Hollywood. “Both of us are from Salt Lake City, and there was a benefit concert and the organizer needed young kids to be the backup singers for a gospel piece. I remember we were rehearsing one day and he had a solo part. I expected him to have this cute little boy voice.”

Instead, Stroh says, “I was blown away! He packs such a powerful punch when he sings. I remember thinking instantly, ‘Boy, this one is going to be a star someday.'”

Stroh also models for Torrid, a hip plus-size clothing line, as did finalist Joanne Borgella, who had to suspend her Torrid association after signing up for Idol. … Monica Rizzo

Tell us: What do you make of the connection between the shows? Are you rooting for David Archuleta?

Plus: See all 24 finalists here!

Noel Vasquez/Getty; FOX

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