Ready, Set, Sing!
updated 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/29/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
reminds you of: Last season's innocent, Carmen Rasmusen
memorable moment: Flaunting her hula dancing skills for Simon
flower power: The Mililani, Hawaii, high school senior also plays the ukulele and always sports a flower in her hair: "I want it to be my signature."
Fantasia Barrino, 19
sounds like: Macy Gray
memorable moment: The High Point, N.C., native's boast that "My lips are big, but my talent is bigger."
mommy's girl: The single mom of Zion, 2, says her daughter "likes to sing the songs I sing. [But] she's going to be a rapper!"
John Stevens, 16
reminds you of: Conan O'Brien
memorable moment: Squeaking through to the finals even after bungling the words to "Tell Her About It"
retro flair: The East Amherst, N.Y., high school junior says of his Sinatra-esque sound, "I bring something so old that it's new."
Amy Adams, 24
reminds you of: Cyndi Lauper
memorable moment: Simon telling her, "I look at you and I think Cabaret Idol."
take two: Rejected by producers last season, the Bakersfield, Calif., hairstylist tried again—after reading Simon's book: "It was helpful."
Diana DeGarmo, 16
sounds like: a young Christina Aguilera ("back when she was nice," as Simon put it)
memorable moment: Defending her bubblegum-hued garb. "I'm not giving up on pink!"
Her Heart Will Go On: The Snellville, Ga., native turned 16 with a visit to Celine Dion's Vegas show. Afterward, "She said that no matter how hard I work, it'll pay off."
Matthew Rogers, 25
reminds you of: Garth Brooks
memorable moment: The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native donned a pink ribbon for his mom, Sam, who is battling breast cancer.
go to the tape: A former college football player, he TiVos every Al "because I like to run back and watch the competition."
reminds you of: Rickey Smith, from last season's Al
memorable moment: Nearly fainting when Simon chose him as his wild-card pick
eggstra special: While a University of Oklahoma student, Huff cooked omelets in the school cafeteria, paving the way for Al: "I think the Lord said, 'Okay, George, since you are grateful in that, here you go.' "
sounds like: Mary J. Blige
memorable moment: Simon telling her "You're like a beautiful designer dress, and when you take it home, there is a slight rip in it." Huh?
name game: LaBelle is a Seattle high school junior whose full name is Leah LaBelle Vladowski; her parents were singing stars in their native Bulgaria.
sounds like: a young Whitney Houston
memorable moment: Randy and Paula giving her a standing ovation for "All By Myself"
on the job training: The Oakland, Calif., wedding singer—who is married to Danny Cox, 33, a baker—says her former gig was good practice: "The bride and groom have requests, and I would have to sing it whether I like it or not."
sounds like: Lauryn Hill
memorable moment: Simon singling her out for praise during one particularly bad semifinals round
pancake past: Velasco took a break from waitressing at an IHOP on her native Maui (her parents own the eatery) when Al came calling.
sounds like: Jennifer Holiday
memorable moments: The silver jumpsuit, the pink ruffles, Simon telling her to find a stylist who can see. "My sister is my worst [fashion] critic. Simon has a lot of catching up to do."
cruise control: Pre-Al, the Chicago native crooned aboard a Disney cruise ship: "They said, 'You're too good to be here.' "
Jon Peter Lewis,24
reminds you of: A cross between Beck and Back-street Boy Brian Littrell
memorable moment: His fevered dance to "A Little Less Conversation." (Think Frodo on Red Bull.)
hitting the high notes: A pre-med student at BYU-Idaho, "JPL" is an early favorite on fan Web sites. He also boasts classical music training: "If I have to do an aria, I can."