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Teenager with Hawaii ties makes final 13 on 'American Idol'

By Derrik J. Lang

AP Entertainment Writer

LAST UPDATED: 09:21 a.m. HST, Mar 02, 2012

LOS ANGELES >> "American Idol" is down to the top 13 singers, including 17-year-old student Deandre Brackensick, who grew up singing Hawaiian music and has Hawaii family and friends.

Smooth 21-year-old pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., quirky 22-year-old nonprofit organizer Heejun Han of New York, and spunky 18-year-old country crooner Skylar Laine, from Brandon, Miss., were among the finalists revealed Thursday on the Fox singing contest. They and seven others received the most viewer votes after the 13 male semifinalists performed Tuesday and the 12 female semifinalists sang Wednesday.

The other viewer-selected finalists included soothing 18-year-old vocalist Hollie Cavanaugh, of McKinney, Texas; 20-year-old alt-rock musician Colton Dixon, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; 25-year-old "gentle giant" Jermaine Jones, of Pine Hill, N.J.; booming 19-year-old student Joshua Ledet, of Westlake, La.; soaring 16-year-old vocalist Shannon Magrane, of Tampa, Fla.; 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, of San Diego; and soulful 28-year-old teacher Elise Testone, of Charleston, S.C.

"America, you're on fire, because this is an amazing top 10 brewing," said judge Randy Jackson.

Once the fan favorites were all revealed, the show's panel picked five remaining semifinalists to deliver a last-chance tune in hopes of becoming one of the judges' "wild card" selections. The judges ultimately chose Brackensick, of San Jose, Calif.; 19-year-old receptionist Jeremy Rosado, of Valrico, Fla.; and 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt, of South Kingstown, R.I., to be among the top 13.

"I love somebody who can fight through the tears and still deliver," judge Jennifer Lopez told a weepy Van Pelt.

The finalists will return to the stage to sing next Wednesday for the first round of season 11's finals. "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest announced Thursday that the male singers would perform Stevie Wonder songs, while the female contestants would pay tribute to the late Whitney Houston, who died last month.

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Oahuan wrote:
Hawaii ties? In his Bio he didn't even mention Hawaii. LOL!
on March 2,2012 | 06:18AM
mrluke wrote:
Hard to tell from the photo. Is Deandre a he or a she?
on March 2,2012 | 06:54AM
DoraJoe wrote:
Why is it that Hawaii ALWAYS mentions "Hawaii ties" for every Tom, Dick and Harry, Mary or Jane??? I understand "born and raised", but this gets ridiculous! It reminds me of someone the state claims as a "son", but he never mentions his "Home State" as Hawaii unless he and the family need a "vacation". Let's stop it already! Media, get a grip! So annoying.
on March 2,2012 | 08:02AM
janne wrote:
Well, I'm just happy that the judges picked the right 3 and gave them another chance!
on March 2,2012 | 08:14AM
Fred01 wrote:
Who cares? How is this news in Hawaii?
on March 2,2012 | 11:04AM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
I agree with DoraJoe - big deal hawaii ties. He was not born and raised here because his parents are from here. You can be born and raised here because your parents are of the military. Then they give their children a hawaiian name and they don't even know the meaning or they get it from some internet. A real born and raised here is parents with birth certificate that states Territory of Hawaii. Give me a break - HAWAII TIES. IS THAT GOING TO HELP THIS PERSON WIN. MENTION YOUR STATE.
on March 2,2012 | 12:18PM
Fred01 wrote:
Who cares if you are "born and raised" here? That usually just means you are small minded and bigoted.
on March 2,2012 | 02:37PM
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