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February 27, 2009
'American Idol': A chat with the next three to crack the Top 12


Nick Mitchell (aka "Norman Gentle") is still looking for gainful employment, and will have to find another contestant to pick on.

Last night's "American Idol" results show put through three more contestants to the Top 12, and Nick wasn't one of them. Even though it looked crazy to see him up against the heavily favored Adam Lambert as the final two to hear their fate.

More than 25 million votes were cast this week (up a million from the first Top 12 competition). Marching, er singing, on will be Adam, Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen (pictured).

"Idol" reporters got a chance to chat with each of them individually, and here's what they had to say about their experiences so far - and the long road ahead!

Allison, 16, Los Angeles:

Q: How did you come to pick "Alone" as the song that introduced you to "Idol" voters, especially since it's been performed on past shows?
A: I love the song. I love the band Heart, and I thought about it beforehand. Carrie Underwood sang it, and it was amazing! But I focused on how I would perform it, not change it.

Q: Judge Simon Cowell touched on your pre-performance interview with Ryan Seacrest, saying it was "boring." How will you approach his comments about your personality?
A: I was sooo nervous before I sang. I'll definitely chill a little bit more before my next performance. I just need to relax.

Q: There have been quite a few Latino singers on the show. What would it mean to be the first to win?
A: That would be really cool! My parents are from El Salvador. All my life I've been singing in both Spanish and English.

Q: You're one of the younger contestants. Do you think about waiting a couple years to audition, and are there any advantages or disadvantages to being 16?
A: I've been wanting to audition since I was 9 and watching the show. I don't think my age matters. What it comes down to is that we're all here for the same thing.

Q: Are you a natural redhead?
A: I wish! Then I wouldn't have to worry about dyeing my roots every five weeks. My natural hair color is black. I think I'll be red the next couple of months and then maybe change to purple.

Adam, 27, Hollywood:

Q: Simon had mixed comments about your performance on Wednesday. How do you interpret that?
A: I'm a risk taker. I'm not easy listening, and I won't be digested well by everybody. The judges are professionals. I'll listen, but it's important to maintain your integrity. I won't be wailing at the top of my lungs every week. People would get tired of that.

Q: What was it like being the last to perform?
A: I was very happy to close the show because it made me fresh in everyone's minds when they voted.

Q: Is there any song/genre you'd be terrified to sing? And whose musical career do you admire?
A: I like challenges, and I don't think range wise I'd be scared of any song. Styles, maybe. Country week might be a stretch for me if that comes up. As for artists, David Bowie has been really cool. He takes risks both lyrically and vocally.

Q: Are you getting tired of all the musical theater questions? And, speaking of which, what was your first stage role?
A: Well, I don't listen to show tunes in my spare time. And now I get to sing what I like. At age 10 I was cast in a production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." I was Linus, the kid with the blanket.

Q: The judges definitely are being picky. Are you strategizing? And has your strong presence on the Internet provided any tips?
A: I think strategy is half the competition. Picking a song and working on the arrangement, you use your brain. When you perform, you turn off the brain and work it. I'm aware of the YouTube presence, but I try not to dwell on the comments too much. It's like market research. You find out what the fans like.

Kris, 23, Conway, Ark.:

Q: What's been the biggest challenge for you since Hollywood Week, and were last night's results a surprise, especially with Megan Joy Corkrey next to you?
A: I've had to learn to perform without my guitar! I was really, really shocked last night.This group had a lot of talent. Anyone could have made it through. Megan did a great job, and she's a lovely person who will go far in the music industry. I feel very lucky.

Q: We haven't seen as much of you as some of the other contestants. So do you think Simon's comments about "chicks will dig you" helped?
A: It (lack of exposure) went through my head a little bit, and I hoped it wouldn't matter because more people watch the live show. Simon's comment probably helped. I kind of like being the guy in the background. But I've been with the same woman for seven years!

Q: What theme week would be strong for you?
A: I would love the Beatles. They have so many songs. It would be the coolest thing to have Paul McCartney as a mentor.

Q: You were standing next to Nick Mitchell last night at the end. Did his act irritate the members of your group?
A: Nick wasn't mocking the show. He's just an entertainer, and he's really good at it. We liked him so much.

It will be a busy week next week for "American Idol." The final 12 contestants perform Tuesday with live results and three more getting through on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, it's the return of the "Idol" wild card to determine the final three spots. All shows are at 8 p.m. on FOX40.

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