Four Country Singers Among the Top 40 on ‘American Idol’ Season 12?
There's been no shortage of country music talent so far this year on 'American Idol,' and according to a published report, four country singers have landed among the Top 40 contestants who will go on to compete on the show in its twelfth season.
Though Hollywood Week is fresh on TV, those rounds actually took place a couple of months ago. Contestants and their families are sworn to secrecy, but inevitably, every year some of the names get out before those shows make it to air.
This year it looks like Janelle Arthur has made it into the Top 40. The 22-year-old blonde singer wowed the judges at her audition in Charlotte this year by singing Keith Urban's 'Where the Blacktop Ends.' She is back for the third time; she made it to Hollywood Week in 2010, and last year she made it to the Las Vegas rounds before being cut. Arthur may have a bit of an advantage -- she has a great deal of poise on camera, which may be owing to her prior experience.
22-year-old Paul Jolley is also rumored to be among the Top 40 for Season 12. The singer auditioned with the Rascal Flatts hit 'I Won't Let Go,' which he sang as a tribute to his late grandfather. The judges lauded the young singer, who already has plenty of experience under his belt. He released his debut album at age 16, and has opened for the likes of Chely Wright, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin, Roy Clark and Tammy Cochran.
Kree Harrison's life story is as compelling as any country song. She lost her father in a plane accident when she was 12, and her mother died in a car accident when she was 16. Harrison is already a Nashville veteran, she's had a publishing deal, performed on Rosie O'Donnell's show, and was signed to Lyric Street Records briefly when she was younger. If she progresses far enough, 'American Idol' could provide her with the exposure and fanbase she needs to become a breakout star.
Finally, Jimmy Smith is also rumored to have made the cut this year. The 25-year-old aspiring country star sang a soulful version of the Rascal Flatts hit 'Bless the Broken Road' at his audition, winning unanimous praise from the judges. He has a very marketable voice and look, and if he gets far enough in the competition, he should have no problem getting a Nashville record deal even if he doesn't win.
'American Idol' will continue to weed out the contestants on its way to announcing the Top 40 on Wednesday night (Feb. 13), as the ladies get their chance to shine in Hollywood Week.