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‘American Idol’ picks 24 semifinalists

The majority of the contestants come from the South
/ Source: The Associated Press

The 24 “American Idol” semifinalists are split equally between the sexes, but when it comes to geography the South prevailed.

Eleven of those who will compete in the semifinals are from southern states. The lowest representation was from the West, with two Nevada residents and one Californian making the cut on Wednesday’s show.

Judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul narrowed the field from thousands of hopefuls nationwide, but viewers will be deciding the winners and losers starting next week.

The No. 1-rated Fox series, which is reaching up to 30 million viewers an episode in its fourth season, will air three times weekly for the next three weeks. The men will perform Monday and the women Tuesday, with four contestants eliminated Wednesday.

Cross-gender competition begins March 15, when the program returns to twice-weekly airings, with the finale May 24-25.

After last season, dominated by female contestants including winner Fantasia Barrino, producers decided to give men a boost by splitting the semifinalist spots equally between the sexes.

Capitalizing on the show’s popularity, the bimonthly “American Idol: The Magazine” was launched this week, available on newsstands.

“You watch the show, follow your favorites, vote every week and let us know your preference for the next ‘American Idol,”’ the series creator, Simon Fuller, tells readers in a letter in the magazine.

Included are scorecards that viewers can use to keep track of the show and profiles of the 75 contestants who made it through the selection process to Hollywood.

The 24 semifinalists competing for the title and a record contract:

Bo Bice, 29, Helena, Ala. Has performed live and recorded with Johnny Neel of the Allman Brothers.

David Brown, 20, New Orleans. Had classical training and studied music business in college.

Anthony Fedorov, 19, Trevose, Pa. The Ukrainian-born Fedorov is a college student who sings on weekends in New York City.

Judd Harris, 27, New York City. A New Orleans native who came to New York to study music and is the lead singer for Visible From Space.

Constantine Maroulis, 29, New York City. A graduate of the Boston Conservatory, he has a hard rock band called Pray for the Soul of Betty.

Joseph Murena, 26, Smithtown, N.Y. Works at a courthouse in Suffolk County and is studying acting and voice in New York City.

Anwar F. Robinson, 25, Elizabeth, N.J. Teaches at a New Jersey middle school and is a member of a group called The Perfect Combination.

Scott Savol, 28, Shaker Heights, Ohio. Father of a 4-year-old, he plays the trumpet and performs at city and church functions.

Nikko Smith, 22, Town & Country, Mo. Has performed at jazz and blues clubs, is the son of Hall of Fame baseball player Ozzie Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Travis Tucker, 21, Manassas, Va. A college math education major who describes his style as R&B with hip-hop.

Mario Vazquez, 27, New York City. Was a member of the City Kids Repertory Group and works with emerging New York musical artists.

Jared Yates, 18, Danville, Ill. A high school senior who performs in school events and lives near an apple orchard.

Amanda Avila, 23, Las Vegas. Studied singing, dancing and acting and was a backup singer for Motown star Smokey Robinson.

Lindsey Cardinale, 20, Ponchatoula, La. A university student who plays guitar, piano and drums.

Janay Castine, 17, Lawrenceville, Ga. A high school senior who’s been singing since age 3.

Mikalah Gordon, 17, Las Vegas. A high school junior who performed at the White House with the Helen Joy Young Entertainers.

Melinda Lira, 19, Hanford, Calif. Played volleyball and basketball and sang in high school, works for a sporting goods store.

Sarah Mather, 22, Wilmington, N.C. A community college graduate who is a member of a Top 40 cover band.

Aloha Mischeaux, 18, St. Louis. Studied music and drama and has participated in dance competitions.

Celena Rae, 29, Fort Worth, Texas. A newlywed who attended a Dallas art institute for fashion marketing who is studying voice.

Jessica Sierra, 19, Tampa, Fla. Works as a nanny and has performed at talent shows, corporate events and in church.

Vonzell Solomon, 20, Fort Meyers, Fla. Attended a high school for the arts and has a martial arts black belt.

Nadia Turner, 28, Miami. A bartender and waitress and member of the Tool Box, a rock-soul Christian band.

Carrie Underwood, 21, Checotah, Okla. A college senior, she plays guitar and piano and rescues stray animals.