Next week get ready for the British Invasion all over again. The remaining American Idol finalists will be performing “British music-themed” songs, though I’m not sure why they aren’t just “British songs.” Am I missing the contingent of US singers posing as British singer-songwriters? Or are there songs with British themes? Anyway, next week the UK takes back over, but this time with less taxes
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- The petite powerhouse has called McKinney, Texas home for the last 10 years, but her Liverpool roots are very noticeable when she speaks. After all, Hollie spent nearly half of her life in England — from her birth in 1993 to her family’s move to the United States in 2002.
- The 18-year-old singer’s family still has close ties to Liverpool and recently returned for a visit.
Hollie had to miss out, but given that she was in Hollywood qualifying for the Top 24 at the time, we think she’ll get over it!
- Sweet-faced Hollie Cavanagh auditioned for American Idol Season 10 and made it to Hollywood Week before being cut from the Top 40. Hollie is now back for Season 11 and has made it into the Top 13.
- Hollie, 18, was born in Liverpool, England, but now hails from McKinney, Texas. In her Season 10 Road to Hollywood interview, Hollie says her brothers are her biggest inspiration “because they support me and are behind me one hundred percent of the way. She says becoming a singer is her “biggest dream.”
- Hollie, who says she started singing after feeling the rush from performing at a talent show in middle school, also plays soccer for McKinney Boyd High School.
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- American Idol Season 11 contestant Joshua Ledet is one of the top 13 finalists, singing his way into the judges’ (and viewers’) hearts. Joshua, 19, attended Westlake High School in Louisiana. Besides belting his sweet heart out, Joshua works for the police department and attends Lamar University.
- Joshua began singing at age 3 in his dad’s church, basking in the glow of the parish’s support. It just felt so great to see all those people smiling and screaming. I knew it was something I wanted to do the rest of my life.” Joshua has always been an Idol fan, he says in his Road to Hollywood interview. “I’ve wondered, ‘Why can’t that be me on stage, doing the same thing they’re doing?’”
- After Joshua’s performance in the semifinals, judge Jennifer Lopez was so thrilled with his singing she said she wanted to punch him. After watching how well he’s done in the subsequent rounds, we pretty much want to punch him too! (In a good way… in a good way.)
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- Phillip Phillips, the boy so talented his parents named him twice. This 20-year-old American Idol Season 11 contestant grew up in Sasser and Leesburg, Georgia, and has made it into the Top 13 contestants for this season. In his Savannah audition, Phillip performed an animated rendition of Stevie Wonder’s hit, “Superstition.”
- According to Albany Uncovered, Phillip started playing music when he was 14, and is a frequent performer in Albany, Georgia, gigging with the band G&S or with his younger sister. In addition to singing, Phillip also plays the bass, piano, and drums. Phillip names Dave Matthews, Johnny Lang, Mumford & Sons, and Tool among his musical influences.
- Don’t expect Phillip to be singing a ton of love songs; he tells The Albany Journal: “I don’t like gushy love songs or songs that are just stupid and make no sense at all. If you write a love song, make it different — don’t just write, ‘I love you baby, you are so wonderful …!’ It aggravates me.”
- During the Top 11 performance show, Phillip revealed that he underwent gall stone surgery shortly after prepping his song with Jimmy Iovine and mentor Will.i.am. The surgery may have hurt, but it certainly didn’t hurt his performance: Phillip wowed the judges with his take on The Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle” and continues to impress with his subsequent performances.
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- When 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez says she’s been singing her whole life, she means it. By age 11, the powerhouse singer had already appeared on America’s Got Talent, where she wowed with her cover of “I Surrender.” Five years later, she’s still stealing the show — this time as a contestant on American Idol Season 11.
- Jessica was born in Chula Vista, California to Gilbert and Editha Sanchez. Her father, a Texan, has Mexican heritage, and her mother was born in the Philippines. They later relocated to San Diego, where the talented singer is now a high school student.
- Though we didn’t see much of her before her Vegas performance of “The Prayer,” she proved herself worthy of more screen time. Jessica wowed the judges — and us — with her take on Jennifer Hudson’s “I Love You I Do” in the Semifinals, which earned her a spot in the Top 13. For her Top 13 performances, Jessica took on a big song — Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” — and nailed it, according to the judges. In the weeks since, she has slayed one performance after the next, making her a definite competition frontrunner — or at least that’s what we thought. In the Top 7 week, America was stunned when Jessica landed at the bottom of the heap and faced elimination, but the judges choses to use their save on her. Phew!
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- Skylar Laine Harden is an American Idol contestant from Brandon, Mississippi, who auditioned in Houston, Texas during Season 11’s national talent search. Skylar’s a young country girl at heart who tweets she “can’t hide her redneck side.” You can listen to a handful of Skylar’s original songs on her Myspace page.
- As seen in her touching audition, Skylar works at her family’s grocery store, Beatty Street Grocery, which has been hit hard by the struggling economy. The 18-year-old is also reportedly working toward a degree in nursing.
- Skylar’s Twitter profile says she loves to play guitar, piano, write music, and perform. An avid Miranda Lambert fan, Skylar says her dream is to record her music and plans to travel to Nashville to do so. Other fun facts, courtesy of Skylar’s Twitter stream: she owns a truck, loves tacos, and is super close with her sister Blair.
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