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'Alaskan Beauty' Adriana Latonio makes semi-finals on American Idol (VIDEO)

Laurel Andrews
Adriana Latonio, a 17-year-old student at Anchorage's East High School, has become the first Alaskan ever to reach the semifinals of the hit reality-TV show "American Idol." Courtesy American Idol

Adriana Latonio, 17, from Anchorage's East High School, has made the cut as a top 20 contender on "American Idol," singing Wednesday night to pop-star judges and a packed audience in Las Vegas. This was her first appearance on the show this season -- and she's the first Alaskan ever to make it to the semifinals of the reality-TV hit show now in its 13th season.

The "Sudden Death" match featured 10 girls vying to inch closer to a spot as an Idol finalist. Five girls were sent home, and five left standing: Latonio, Amber Holcomb, Angela Miller, Kree Harrison and Tenna Torres.

Latonio sang "Ain't no way" by Aretha Franklin.

She's a "little tiny thing but commands the stage the second she walks out," Nicki Minaj, an Idol judge, said about Latonio.

The top 40 contestants are in Las Vegas this week and next, where they'll to 20 semifinalists. On Thursday, it's the boys' turn to face off for a slot in the semis.

Idol airs Wednesday and Thursday nights on FOX at 7 p.m.

"Look for Latonio to appear on Idol, again, next Wednesday, Feb. 27" according to a press release from Anchorage FOX affiliate KTBY-TV.