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March 6, 2009
'American Idol': Four who feel very lucky!


List turning the "American Idol" Top 12 into the Top 13 among the reality show's efforts to grow and retain its audience.

Hello, we're still watching!

Anyway, my guess is the four judges had it already in the works to send four contestants through in last night's wild card round instead of three. The greatest gift (in my humble opinion) is that knee-scraping Tatiana Del Toro was finally and once and for all booted off the show. That after singing "Saving All my Love" not once, not twice but three times during the competition.

"Why fix something if it's not broken," she whined to the judges.

"Rubbish!" quipped Simon Cowell. With that, she was gone.

"Idol" reporters had a chance to talk to the four wild cards who now complete the Top 13 (pictured). Here's a sample of what they had to say.

Jasmine Murray, 17, Starkville, Mo.

Q: You're a singer who likes songs with big finishes. Do you see that as a plus moving on?
A: Christina Aguilera is one of my favorite artists. And I thought "Reflection" was an appropriate song for me. It paid off last night. Looking ahead, it depends on the theme of the week and the song I pick - and certainly how America votes.

Q: Have you done a lot of public performances?
A: I've been involved with pageants for a while, so I've gotten used to being on stage. And I sang at the Miss America Pageant a couple of years ago. The "Idol" stage is different because you're being judged. But my experience makes me less nervous.

Q: Who out of the wild card contestants were you surprised didn't make it through?
A: They were all amazing. I don't know how the judges made their decision last night. Everyone was so talented. I'm happy for the ones who made. I know the ones who didn't have big futures ahead of them. I would be doing the same thing - keep singing.

Q: How do you balance school work and "Idol?"
A: I do the work from my school, which my teachers send. It's about three hours a day. Here it's a shorter day. I go to a school of the arts back home, and my school day is 7:45 in the morning until 5:15. That's OK because I think education is very important.

Anoop Desai, 22 Chapel Hill, N.C.

Q: You looked utterly shocked last night when you thought it was over. How did you feel during those 10 seconds before you got the good news?
A: It was the difference between having all your dreams dashed and having them made alive again. I'm just glad I'm still here. Afterward, Simon and the judges and producers apologized!

Q: Last night, you gave a shout out to "Eve." What was your relationship with Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina who died a year ago?
A: Everyone on Carolina's campus knew Eve. When we graduated last May we all wore buttons with her name on them. I carry that button when I perform and during the results shows to remind me of her. It was difficult (the anniversary of her death). I've been thinking about it since I got back in the wild card. But I got to see the memorial at UNC streamed out here.

Q: Why did you decide to perform a song you already had sung, "My Prerogative?"
A: That song has become an anthem for me since Hollywood Week, so I thought it was appropriate. After all, it's my prerogative. The judges said I did it better this time, and it was great performing it in front of an audience.

Q: So it looks like you'll miss March Madness at Chapel Hill and this weekend's Duke/Carolina clash. Does that bum you out?
A: You have no idea. The last Carolina/Duke game I was watching in a hotel room with (contestant) Ricky Braddy, who's a Tar Heel fan. We were watching the game, and ESPN blacked it out! So I spent two hours pacing back and forth. I'll have to get creative this weekend and during the tournament and have someone keep me up to date.

Megan Joy, 23, Sandy, Utah

Q: Do you like having a fourth judge? And how will it impact your song choice? Do you play an instrument?
A: It's been pretty crazy, but it's exciting to have a fourth judge and her input. Kara (DioGuardi) is tough, but it's great to get that kind of feedback. If I was allowed to I would sing any song by Bjork, but it couldn't be too crazy or weird. And no on the instruments. I would love to learn to play the piano or guitar if anyone wants to teach me.

Q: What musical genre would you fear performing the most?
A: I'm a little unsure what I would do with country week. I don't listen to country music. But I'll tear it up!

Q: What do your tattoos mean?
A: It's a castle with a night sky above it. In the stained glass window, there's a king and queen - me and who knows. The prince is my son; the fairy godmother is my mom. I look at my life as a fairytale. There are other tattoos - two stars for me and my mom and my name "Joy" on my hip. The sleeve tattoo isn't finished yet.

Q: What name will you go by from now on?
A: Corkrey is my ex-husband's name, and I want to get past it. Megan Joy is what I'm going by even though Joy is my middle name.

Matt Giraud, 23, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Q: What do you think happened with your take on the Coldplay song ("Viva la Vida") in the first round?
A: I felt the judging was a little harsh, and I couldn't sleep that night. People thought I was going to do it well, and I let them down. I've moved on. The Jackson 5 song I did last night ("Who's Lovin' You?") is in my bones. I can sing this song. But I don't know why I didn't think of it the first time.

Q: So will you stick with R&B, or will you keep moving forward? Are there any mentors you want to work with?
A: I've heard some rumors about certain theme weeks in the works that I can pull off. I love gospel and soul and country. I want to play the piano and work the audience. As far as mentors, Billy Joel would be ridiculous. That would be a dream. Maybe Elton John or Alicia Keys. Someone once called me the white boy Alicia!

Q: What types of music were you playing back home, especially since you grew up near Detroit?
A: A lot of gospel. I played 'N Sync, and I got into jazz and Motown. And, when I about 19, I played an out-of-tune piano in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Ypsilanti (Michigan). I never got tips. I was just learning.

Q: What did you think of Simon dishing out fashion advice to you?
A: I trusted the ("Idol") wardrobe people with that outfit. They said go for it. Who takes fashion advice from him anyway?!

The first night of competition for the Top 13 is at 8 p.m. Tuesday on FOX40. Word is there will be a guest appearance by none other than Kanye West. If you're gonna start watching, now would be a good time!

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