Terry Morrow: Janelle Arthur of Oliver Springs wades through 'American Idol's' top 10

Janelle Arthur fights to stay in the top 10 on “American Idol” starting tonight.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Janelle Arthur fights to stay in the top 10 on “American Idol” starting tonight.$RETURN$$RETURN$

An Oliver Springs resident has now tied a record for East Tennessee talent on “American Idol.”

Up until the vote on this past Thursday night, only Didi Benami of Loudon County, in 2010, was able to crack the top 10 on the Fox talent competition. But after the viewing public voted last week, Janelle Arthur of Oliver Springs has also reached the top 10.

Arthur was the first female to be announced as a finalist on “Idol.”

Week-to-week, viewers vote on Arthur and decide if she continues in the competition.

She isn’t alone in Hollywood. Friends and family from Oliver Springs have been in the audience weekly to cheer her on.

Of the four judges — including country superstar Keith Urban — rapper/ singer Nicki Minaj appears to be Arthur’s biggest fan among the judges, who all fawn for Arthur. Minaj called Arthur “my marshmallow,” “my lady bug” and her “superstar country girl.”

“You came alive today,” Minaj told Arthur, 23. “This is the best you’ve ever sounded.” Minaj’s prediction? That Arthur will be a “humongous country star.”

On the next edition of “American Idol” (8 p.m. Wednesday, WTNZ, Channel 43), Arthur is expected to perform as will her nine rivals. Each week, viewer votes will determine if she stays or not.

Website wetpaint.com, which follows “American Idol” closely, recently listed “five reasons Janelle Arthur will win.’”

Among its reasoning: the “WGWG trend (white guys with guitars winning the most recent seasons) is “so yesterday” and “America wants something new and fresh.” The sites says she is “the whole package” and “unflappable.”

So far she’s not had a major misstep on the show, a good sign she may be in it for the long haul.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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