Highlighting American Idol's Curly Contestants

American Idol's finalists are rife with wavy, curly and kinky hair. As the season moves forward, will their stylists encourage them to go straight or will they stick to their curly guns?

Ladies first

Karen Rodriguez

Karen Rodriguez—Type 3a

Spotlight on Karen Rodriguez

New York City native Karen Rodriguez, 21, auditioned for American Idol via MySpace, but Karen knows her way around a stage too, having previously appeared on a Spanish-language television singing competition. In awe of Jennifer Lopez during her original audition, she even sang J. Lo's "If You Had My Love" at auditions in Hollywood—while J. Lo sang along silently. Telling J. Lo, "You don't know how much you inspire me" probably wasn't a bad call, either. Certainly, she made an impression on all the judges.

More Curly Women

Tatynisa Wilson

Tatynisa Wilson—Type 3c

Lauren Turner

Lauren Turner—Type 3a

Ashton Jones

Ashton Jones—Type 3c

Thia Megia

Thia Megia—Type 2b

Kendra Chantelle

Kendra Chantelle—Type 2a

Haley Reinhart

Haley Reinhart—Type 2b

Curly men, too—and talented all the same

Casey Abrams

Casey Abrams—Type 2b

Spotlight on Casey Abrams

Greatly impressed with Casey Abrams, Idol judge Randy Jackson told him, "You're funny, you're fearless, and that's what I love about great artists." After all, doesn't it take courage for a man to own a Jessica Rabbit song from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Talented, easy-going and refreshingly real, his approachable personality certainly had something to do with winning over the judges. And he obviously isn't afraid of owning his emotions, either. Selected as a finalist, he crashes over his chair, runs to hug each of the judges, and tells them "I love you guys." Now that's a man.

More Curly Men

Robbie Rosen

Robbie Rosen—Type 2a

Brett Loewenstern

Brett Loewenstern—Type 3b

Special Mention

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the heartfelt feelings surrounding the surprise departure of Idol contestant Chris Medina.

Curly Haired Men, through Thick and Thin

Chris Medina

Chris Medina

Chris Medina's elimination from the competition on Season 10 of "American Idol" may have shocked viewers Wednesday night—and moved Jennifer Lopez to tears—but Chris Medina himself wasn't surprised, considering the talent he was up against—whom he called, "really awesome, talented, wonderful, young, good looking singers." Chris says, “I was surprised by everyone’s reaction.” “People got wrapped up in who I was as an individual contestant on the show, with the story and with the singing. There was a rooting for the underdog kind of thing going on... but to me, living in my own skin, I think they got it right.”

Calling himself "the underdog" is spot on, maybe even an understatement. You may not have heard Chris's story—if you live in a cave with no internet access. Chris, 26, proposed to his fiancée Juliana after dating for six years. Two months before their scheduled wedding, Juliana was in an auto accident that left her brain-damaged and in a wheelchair. Juliana's bridal shower became a fundraiser for medical expenses. Chris is now a full-time caretaker for Juliana. "I was about to make vows just two months from the accident—through thick and thin, 'til death do us part, for better or worse," he said. "What kind of guy would I be if I walked out when she needed me the most?"

No wonder J Lo let the tears flow.

Let the curly competition begin! Go curlies!