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'Idol' finalists not fazed by lack of screen time

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[February 28, 2009]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Out of the first six finalists, "American Idol" viewers have seen the least of Kris Allen this season. The soulful 23-year-old crooner who left the judges feeling mixed after his rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" said Friday that he isn't upset about his lack of screen time on the popular Fox singing competition.

"I wasn't looking for the cameras and trying to put my face in there," Allen said during a teleconference.

InsuranceDespite his not-so-starring role, the twangy University of Central Arkansas student from Conway, Ark., was selected by viewer votes Thursday alongside Los Angeles natives Allison Iraheta, a 16-year-old high school student, and Adam Lambert, a 26-year-old theater actor.

Simon Cowell told Allen that the "chicks are gonna love you." But sorry, ladies: Allen's taken.

"I've been with the same woman for the past seven years," he said.

Lambert, who wailed the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" and would love to tackle Led Zeppelin in the future, was thankful that "Idol" producers featured him during the audition and Hollywood Week episodes. He thought his inclusion gave the audience the "feeling like they know me."

However, he doesn't want them feeling like he's strictly a theater performer.

"I don't listen to show tunes on my downtime," he said.

Iraheta, this season's youngest finalist so far, also comes equipped with prior show business experience. She won the 2006 Telemundo contest titled "Quinceanera" after singing in both English and Spanish. Iraheta, who wowed the judges Wednesday with Heart's "Alone," said competing on the Telemundo competition only moderately prepared her for the "Idol" spotlight.

"It helped me out with being on the stage in front of cameras a little," she said. "It's nothing compared to this."

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Allen, Lambert and Iraheta join 28-year-old church music director Danny Gokey from Milwaukee, 21-year-old musician Alexis Grace from Memphis, Tenn., and 27-year-old oil rig worker Michael Sarver from Jasper, Texas, who were selected as the first three finalists last week.

Next Tuesday, 12 more semifinalists will vie for three other spots in the competition's top 12. Then, previously dismissed semifinalists will get a second chance at stardom. After the first nine finalists are selected by viewer votes next Wednesday, the judges will pick the last three finalists at the end of a special wild card round next Thursday.


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[Associated Press; By DERRIK J. LANG]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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