Anoop Desai


Anoop Desai (americanidol.com)

"American Idol" Season 8 contestant Anoop Desai hails from Chapel Hill, N.C. He auditioned in Kansas City, thanks to his friends for pushing him to it. The UNC graduate student strolled in casually cool in shorts and flip-flops and told Randy he could call him "Anoop Dog," which got a laugh from the panel. With his performance of "Thank You" by Boys II Men, he soon surprised them with his "soulfulness," as Paula put it. Although Simon called his look "a bit geeky," he got four yeses and headed to Hollywood. He's since passed Hollywood Round No. 1 with Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" and still appears to be very well liked by all judges.

No magic here, just real talent. Twenty-one-year-old Anoop Desai listens to R&B and studies folklore at the university. He has two Facebook pages; a fan club from UNC and and "American Idol"-themed group page, but no MySpace. We'll keep watching to see how far Anoop Desai's voice will take him.

--Leslie Anne Wiggins