Idol's Final Round of 12 Expands to 13

Desai makes the cut in surprise expansion of next round
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2009 7:03 AM CST

(Newser) American Idol gave fans a surprise with its remaining batch of finalists last night, the AP reports. After three wild card finalists were chosen to bring the total up to the usual 12, Simon Cowell announced that 22-year-old college student Anoop Desai also would advance to the next round as an unprecedented 13th finalist.

Desai will join the other three previously dismissed wild card picks—Jasmine Murray, Megan Corkrey, and Matt Giraud. Semifinalist Tatiana Del Toro's emotional plea to be included won no sympathy from the judges—although host Ryan Seacrest had to be reminded it was a family show after telling her she could stay on her knees. The 13 will begin competing for the title next Tuesday.