Although American Idol is now in its fifth season '- the time when reality shows start to get stale '- this Fox reality show is still hitting all the high notes with critics and fans. As we approach the finale, we keep track of the aspiring singers who keep us tuning in every week '- and get us to exercise our index fingers on Tuesday nights. For our take on the finalists, including odds, our predictions and their celebrity look-alikes, read on. And be sure to check back each week for updates. Plus: Who should be booted next? Vote here. And check out our amusing Idol recaps after each show.
21, Los Angeles Why her: She's America's sweetheart -- and she looks like an Idol. Why not: As far as talent, Mandisa and Paris are better. What Simon says: "This show isn't just about singing. You can't just be in your own world, because the American audience will forget [your] performance three or four contestants later." Celebrity twin: Katie Holmes '- minus the crazy boyfriendOdds: She'll make it to the top five... but mostly because she's so darn girl-next-door cute. Cast your vote for Katharine here
29, Birmingham, AL Why him: He's talented, energetic and, most importantly, different. You just can't help but wonder what he'll do next. Why not: Chris and Paris are going to give him a run for his money. Besides, we so don't see him as pinup material. What Simon says: "Your appeal is that you're like every dad that's got drunk at a wedding, got on stage and sang. The difference is, you can sing." Celebrity twin: George Clooney without the Academy Award Odds: He's Taylor-made for the American Idol finale. Cast your vote for Taylor here
27, Richmond Why him: He's hard of hearing and has diabetes. You can't help rooting for someone who has overcome so much. Why not: He's the Scott Savol of last year. We just hope there are no skeletons in his closet. What Simon says: "I think you've grown in confidence. I've seen a different you, and you're starting to believe in yourself." Celebrity twin: Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Can't ya see it?Odds: Top six... if he's lucky. But he's starting to grow on us.Update: Elliott made it a long way, baby! He was in the final three, then was voted out on May 17.
26, McLeansville, NC Why him: He has the potential to become the next Bo Bice. Why not: Bo Bice didn't win. And when it comes down to it, Taylor may be a little more talented. What Simon says: "Thank God for Chris because this was the only real-world performance tonight. Best tonight by a mile." Celebrity twin: With that bald head? It's definitely Vin Diesel. Odds: We'll see a lot more of Chris. He'll make it to the final four and, hopefully, beyond. Update: Chris made it to the finale four, but that was it. In a major shocker, he was voted out on May 10.
17, Fayetteville, GA Why her: Not only is she cute; she has a rockin' voice that is full of soul and has a wide range. Why not: We can't think of a good reason. What Simon says: "It's like we're watching two different competitions tonight. The first half is alright, then the second half is brilliant. Very good." Celebrity twin: Former Passions star Lena Cardwell Odds: You won't forget Paris. She'll make it to the finals and may even win. Update: Voters forgot about Paris! She was voted out on May 3.
19, Albemarle, NC Why her: People like her. They really, really like her. Why not: She may be bested by a boy (see Taylor and Chris). What Simon says: "You're cute, likable, and if they haven't already, America's gonna fall in love with you." Celebrity twin: A cross between Carrie Underwood and Tara Reid Odds: She'll definitely be in the final five, though probably not the big winner. Update: Pickler got plucked on April 26.
25, Denver Why him: He's the pretty boy of the competition '- like Constantine last year. Meaning? The girls will work the digits for him. Why not: Looks will only carry him so far. Bottom line? He's not the best. What Simon says: "Luckily for you this audience is very easily pleased." Celebrity twin: Brian Austin Green (below) meets Eddie Vedder Odds: He'll make it to the final five or four, thanks to his female fans. Update: Ace was trumped on April 19, but we're sure he'll have a successful future acting or modeling.
28, Rockingham, NC Why him: It won't be him. Why not: He's doesn't have Ace's looks or Chris's pipes. He's been lucky so far. What Simon says: "I like you because I think you're a very sincere guy, [but you come across] as the support act for the stars of this show." Celebrity twin: Kid Rock (Let's hope there's no secret sex tape.) Odds: He'll get bucked before he reaches the final seven. Update: We were right on target! He was voted out April 12. Lisa Tucker
16, Anaheim, CA Celebrity twin: The late Aaliyah Why her: She's definitely got talent. Why not: There's a disconnect between her and the audience. What Simon says: "We think you're super-talented, but it sounds like you're singing songs your mother picked for you." Odds: She just won't be able to get the votes, so she'll be out in the next couple weeks. Update: No big surprise -- Lisa was voted out on March 29.
29, Antioch, TN Celebrity twin: A cross between Angela Bassett and Mo'Nique Why her: She's talented, sweet and unconventional. Why not: She doesn't have the Idol look. We know Ruben didn't either, but America is harder on women than they are on men. What Simon says: "Every one of these girls hates your guts because you made everyone before you look ordinary." Odds: She'll make it to the final six or five but probably no further. Update: Country music did her in! Mandisa was voted out on April 5.
16, Levittown, NY Celebrity twin: Chicken Little Why him: As cute as he is, it will never, ever happen. Why not: The list is long; time is short. What Simon says: "I do like you, but the reality is that if I heard that on the radio I would turn it off." Odds: Unless people give him pity votes, he'll be out in the next week or two. Update: Chicken Little flew the coop on March 22.