Michael's likeability makes him a Top 12 finalist for American Idol

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -  America has voted and Jasper native Michael Sarver is in the Top 12 finalists.

Michael didn't get much praise Tuesday night 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.

The Top 36 have been divided into three groups of 12 contestants.  Three finalists from each group of 12 will be chosen.  Then the judges select three wild-card contestants from the remaining 27.  Michael made the first cut and advances to the Top 12 finalist competition.  The other two finalist from Group 1 are Alexis Grace and Danny Gokey.

American Idol has released the names of the contestants in Group 2 and Lufkinite Kendall Beard is not among them, which can only mean that the East Texas native will be in Group 3, which is scheduled to compete on March 3rd.

Group 2 members are Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Jasmine Murray, Jeanine Vailes, Jess Langseth, Kai Kalama, Kris Allen, Matt Breitzke, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy Corkrey, Mishavonna Henson, Nick Mitchell.  They will compete next Wednesday, February 25th 7 p.m. on FOX.

The competition has now entered the voting round where the audience can weigh in on who   advances in the competition and moves one step closer to become the next American Idol.

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.

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 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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Idol

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