Haeley Vaughn, who was born premature and lost her dad as a kid, talks a mile a minute as she closes out "American Idol" in Denver. She wants to "pull through for her family" and be the "first black country mainstream pop singer."
Blasts out a nice version of "Last Name," great rhythm to it, Simon likes that she's different, calls her "infectious." Victoria and Kara likes her, Randy, too. She gets to bring in her sister and mom to meet the judges; they're all totally excited.
And they yell together as all the judges tell her she's going through to Hollywood, Simon is just sitting there, beaming. Best part of his job ...
A huge 26 contestants made it out of Denver. But before we go -- bikini boy is the last contestant, singing "Achy Breaky Heart." They walk out on him, don't even let him finish. He's there by himself asking for a hug, then: "They're coming back, right?!"
Uh, sure. Here are my favorites out of Denver:
1) Child fugitive Mark Labriola "loves cheese," but his good-natured goofiness ended when he showed off his great vocal tone on "Tempted." He seems like a very decent, genuine guy, I think he'll make the finals.
2) Helium-voiced Nicci Nix had a really poppy, fun tone on "Something Kind of Ooh." Simon calls her "a funny little thing" -- all I know is she lights up the screen when she's on and I'm gonna love seeing her each week.
3) Karaoke singer Danielle Hayes, who wants to make a life for herself and her kid, channeled a bit of Janis on "I'm the Only." Simon said it all: "I like you, I don't know what's going on in your life that you're almost broken, but you may have come in here just in time."
4) Simon may think "single mum" Kimberly Kerbow is "trouble," but that just means he likes her spirit -- and her pretty good voice on "The Way I Am." And her wig.
5) Accident survivor Casey James got treated as a mimbo by Kara and Victoria Beckham -- seems like a nice guy, but so far all we know is he likes taking off his shirt.
6) Tory Kelly, who at 16 seems all grown up; isn't bad on "Gravity," but seems to have made it through on her looks, with no objection from her.
Who was your favorite "American Idol" contestant out of Denver? Click on "add a comment" at the bottom of this post to tell us