The voting round of American Idol has begun - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

The voting round of American Idol has begun

Kendall Beard Kendall Beard
Kendall Beard Kendall Beard
Kendall Beard Kendall Beard
Kendall Beard Kendall Beard
Michael Sarver Michael Sarver

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -  Jasper native Michael Sarver didn't get much praise Tuesday tonight from the judges for his vocals, but each one thought his likeability factor was  high. He was commended by all four judges for his ability to connect with the audience.

Judge Paula Abdul said Michael showed a different side of himself and thought he did well.  Judge Simon Cowell said he wasn't impressed with Sarver's performance saying, "I'm not going to lie to you and say great vocals, but if you make it through it's because America likes you.  Sarver's mother was waiting for him after his performance and when asked what advice she gave him before he went on stage she said she told him to "sing pretty." 

This is the voting round of the competition. To vote for Michael Sarver dial 1-866-IDOLS08 or text your vote Text "Vote" 5708.

Lufkinite Kendall Beard is also in the Top 36 and is expected to compete again soon, however, she was not in Tuesday's line-up. 

It's now up to you to decide who advances in the competition and moves one step closer to become the next American Idol.

The 36 hopefuls will be split into three groups of 12, and for three consecutive weeks, one group will perform each week. The live performance shows air Tuesday, February 17 8/7c, Wednesday, February 25 8/7c and Tuesday, March 3 8/7c on FOX.

At the end of each performance show, viewers will be able to vote for their favorite contestants for at least two hours in their region.

Many East Texas Idol watchers will be tuning in to catch 23 year old Kendall.  Kendall is a native of Lufkin who has managed to move forward in the competition among the tens of thousands of hopefuls  from across the nation who started out auditioning for a shot at the top spot during Season 8. 

Kendall's style has been described as a powerful blend of modern rock and roll, a touch of rhythm and blues and a pinch of country.  Click here song clips for an example of Kendall Beard's music at CD Baby.

Twenty-seven year old Michael Sarver of Jasper says he has the fifth most dangerous job in the world.  He's an oil rig worker, but he's counting on his singing talents to make him a superstar. 

Chatter on the web describes Sarver as the "rocker element" in this year's American Idol contest.

The format for the next few weeks will be the 36 finalists are divided into three groups, with one group performing each week. The top-three vote-getters in each group advance to the finals. Then the judges select three wild-card contestants from the remaining 27.

Here are the members of the first group of 12, scheduled to take the stage on Tuesday: Braddy, Boskovich, Carlson, Del Torro, Desai, Fowler, Gokey, Grace, Keith, Sarver, Tohn and Wright.

What are your predictions for the top three in this group?

The American Idol winner receives a one million (US) dollar record deal with a major label, and is managed by American Idol-related 19 management.  In some cases, other finalists have also been signed by the show's management company (who has first option to sign contestants) and received record deals with its major label partner.

Other Top 36 American Idol contestants:

Adam Lambert 26 years old Home: Los Angeles, CA Audition: San Francisco, CA   Alex Wagner-Trugman 19 years old Home: Studio City, CA Audition: Phoenix, AZ     Alexis Grace 20 years old Home: Memphis, TN Audition: Louisville, KY   Allison Iraheta 16 years old Home: Los Angeles, CA Audition: San Francisco, CA     Anne Marie Boskovich 22 years old Home: Nashville, TN Audition: Jacksonville, FL Anoop Desai 21 years old Home: Chapel Hill, NC Audition: Kansas City, MO     Arianna Afsar 16 years old Home: San Diego, CA Audition: Phoenix, AZ     Brent Keith 28 years old Home: Blanchester, OH Audition: Louisville, KY    Casey Carlson 20 years old Home: Minneapolis, MN Audition: Kansas City, MO Felicia Barton 26 years old Home: Virginia Beach, VA Audition: Louisville, KY Danny Gokey 28 years old Home: Milwaukee, WI Audition: Kansas City, MO Jackie Tohn 27 years old Home: Silver Lake, CA Audition: New York, NY     Jasmine Murray 16 years old Home: Starkville, MS Audition: Jacksonville, FL   Jeanine Vailes 27 years old Home: Sherman Oaks, CA Audition: San Francisco, CA Jesse Langseth 25 years old Home: Minneapolis, MN Audition: Kansas City, MO Jorge Nunez-Mendez 20 years old Home: Carolina, PR Audition: San Juan, PR   Ju'Not Joyner 26 years old Home: Bowie, MD Audition: New York, NY   Kai Kalama 26 years old Home: San Clemente, CA Audition: San Francisco, CA Kendall Beard 23 years old Home: Austin, TX Audition: San Juan, PR   Kris Allen 23 years old Home: Conway, AR Audition: Louisville, KY   Kristen McNamara 22 years old Home: Napa Valley, CA Audition: Louisville, KY   Lil Rounds 23 years old Home: Memphis, TN Audition: Kansas City, MO Matt Breitzke 27 years old Home: Bixby, OK Audition: Kansas City, MO   Matt Giraud 23 years old Home: Kalamazoo, MI Audition: Louisville, KY   Megan Corkrey 22 years old Home: Sandy, UT Audition: Salt Lake City, UT   Michael Sarver 27 years old Home: Jasper, TX Audition: Phoenix, AZ   Mishavonna Henson 18 years old Home: Irvine, CA Audition: Phoenix, AZ   Nathaniel Marshall 18 years old Home: Malone, NY Audition: New York, NY     Nick Mitchell 27 years old Home: Brookfield, CT Audition: New York, NY     Ricky Braddy 25 years old Home: Nashville, TN Audition: Louisville, KY   Scott Macintyre 23 years old Home: Scottsdale, AZ Audition: Phoenix, AZ   Stephen Fowler 26 years old Home: Beachwood, OH Audition: New York, NY Stevie Wright 16 years old Home: Phelan, CA Audition: Phoenix, AZ   Tatiana Nicole Del Toro 23 years old Home: Los Angeles, CA Audition: San Francisco,CA Taylor Vaifanua 16 years old Home: Hurricane, UT Audition: Salt Lake City, U T Von Smith 22 years old Home: Kansas City, MO Audition: Kansas City, MO

You can read more about the history of the show at

KTRE-TV and will keep you up to date on Michael's and Kendall's journey as results from the American Idol contest are released.

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