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So much for those N.C. 'Idol' contenders this year

North Carolina residents hoping for the next Scotty McCreery, Fantasia Barrino or Clay Aiken on this season of "American Idol" are likely disappointed with the show's Top 20 males and Top 20 females.

Two Tar Heel residents were sent packing before the final cut to the Top 40, which was shown Thursday night.

Particularly surprising was the elimination of Kez Ban, right, a 27-year-old street musician and fire performer from Durham. Kez Ban had received a lot of airtime earlier this season because she was like no one else — a quirky troubadour wearing boots wrapped in crime-scene tape. But her unique voice blew the judges away.

'American Idol' auditions come to Charlotte

The last time “American Idol” held auditions in North Carolina -- Greensboro in 2005 -- the state ended up with three singers in that season’s Top 10.

The Tar Heel state will get another chance to load the deck with homegrown talent on June 19, when “Idol” makes an audition pit stop in Charlotte.
 

Scotty Watch: And the Final Four are ...

North Carolina moved a step closer to its second “American Idol” tonight as Scotty McCreery was named one of the Final Four finalists of this, the show’s 10th season.

The Garner High School junior is less than three weeks from the May 25 finale. Scotty has reached the highest spot for a Tar Heel resident since Season Five of “Idol,” when Chris Daughtry made the Final Four. The sole “Idol” winner from North Carolina is Fantasia Barrino of Season Three. (Raleigh’s Clay Aiken was second in Season Two.)

Scotty won praise this week for the variety he showed in his two Wednesday performances – Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” and Elvis Presley’s “Always On My Mind.” On tonight's show, Scotty joined the other finalists for a version of The Turtles’ “Happy Together” that showcased – in a bad way – how different their five voices are.

What to Watch on Wednesday: CMA's big night and Glee returns

43rd Annual CMA Awards (8pm, ABC) - Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley (left) host. Performances by the hosts as well as Kid Rock, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw ... basically anyone who is anyone in country music will be there. Something to watch for: Vince Gill is scheduled to sing a duet with the band Daughtry.

Glee (9pm, Fox) - Glee returns with a terrific episode in which Kurt competes against Rachel in a diva-off to see who gets to perform "Defying Gravity." Meanwhile, when the school can't pay for a wheelchair-accessible bus for Artie for a trip to regionals, Shuster challenges the glee club to raise the money. Quinn's pregnancy causes a money crunch for her also, so she pressures Finn to help out with the bills. And Sue must hold open tryouts for the Cheerios squad. Oh how the mighty fall...

Return to Duty (9pm, MTV) - Don't forget the documentary special on "Real World: Brooklyn" alum Ryan Conklin's second tour of duty in Iraq.

Top Chef: Las Vegas (10pm, Bravo) - Nigella Lawson is the guest judge tonight, as the six remaining contestants must create a hotel-themed breakfast-in-bed dish.

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