A trio of Tennesseans including Janelle Arthur of Oliver Springs advanced to the American Idol Top 10 on Thursday night and increased the odds of the state having its first Idol winner in the series’ 12 year history.
Ms. Arthur, who reached the top 10 in her third year of auditioning, will be joined by Nashville’s Kree Harrison and Paul Jolley of Palmersville. Memphis’ Nick Boddington was among the top 20 finalists. As is Idol tradition the top 10 consists of five males and five females. Tennessee is the only state to have more than one finalist in the top 10.
The three hope to duplicate the success of Rossville’s Lauren Alaina (Suddeth) who was runner-up to Scotty McCreery two years ago. Ms. Suddeth and McCreery have both been busy touring and recording since their Idol appearances. Ms. Suddeth is recording the follow up to her debut album Wildflower and was named the New Artist of the Year at the American Country Awards.
Ms. Arthur, 23, gave a shout out to her hometown located near Oak Ridge and to the state moments after host Ryan Seacrest informed her that she was in the top 10. She was also the first of the five female finalists to hear her name called. She performed the Elvis Presley hit “If I Can Dream” on Tuesday night when the top 10 ladies competed. The petite blonde country vocalist has already been dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” for her effervescent personality.
Ms. Harrison, 22, whose powerhouse vocals has made her among the favorites to possibly become the first female in five years to win Idol, wowed the judges panel of Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban with her cover of Faith Hill’s “Stronger” on Tuesday. The raven-haired demo singer, who is originally from Oklahoma City, was the last of the top 10 finalists announced.
Mr. Jolley, 23, who was raised on a farm in Northwest Tennessee, sang the Blake Shelton/Christina Aguilera hit “Just a Fool” during the Top 10 Men’s finals on Wednesday. The former Kentucky Opry regular was also the first one called to the overall top 10.
The Top 10 will compete next Wednesday night at 8 p.m. (Fox 61) and one singer will be eliminated each week until the Season 12 champion is selected in May.