Competing in tonight's "American Idol" semi-finals are, clockwise from left, Mililani's Jasmine Trias (also shown below), George Huff, Lisa Wilson, John Stevens IV, Heather Piccinini, Susan Vulaca, John Preator and Tiara Purifoy.

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"American Idol": Airs at 7 p.m. today on KHON/Fox

Mililani's Jasmine Trias

Get heard

Flex those finger muscles and make sure your speed-dialer is working if you plan on casting your vote for this week's batch of "American Idol" contenders.

Hawaii contestant Jasmine Trias and each of the other "Idol" contenders tonight will be assigned his or her own toll-free number and AT&T Wireless text message number following their performances. Write it down for voting that will open at the end of the show, at 8 p.m. The lines will remain open for about two hours.

Results will air beginning 7:30 p.m. tomorrow on KHON/Fox, when we'll find out whether we're sending one or two of our own into the final rounds, with Maui's Camile Velasco already awaiting her next turn.

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Hawaii audiences were galvanized by Camile Velasco's impassioned serenade and proudly applauded Jonah Moananu's robust performance, but the islands' latest finalist in the "American Idol" competition has remained something of an enigma ... until now.

Seventeen-year-old Maryknoll senior Jasmine Trias will perform tonight as part of the fourth group of 32 finalists in the nationally televised star search. Yet, unlike Velasco and Moananu, who were featured prominently in earlier "American Idol" episodes, the diminutive diva from Mililani has received virtually no face time in the weeks leading up to tonight's round.

"It's all good," says a cool and confident Trias of her omission by the show's producers. "I don't think they're doing it intentionally. I think they work hard to keep it fair game for everybody, so there's probably a reason for that. My family was kind of disappointed, though."

Far from envious of the attention received by Velasco and Moananu, Trias even phoned in votes for her fellow Hawaiians during their turns at the polls. "I think they did great. I think they represented Hawaii very well," she said.

While Trias is among this year's youngest competitors ("AI" entrants must be at least 16), she is by no means the least decorated, having won several local singing competitions, most notably Oceanic Time Warner Cable's "Road to Fame" showcase. Trias has already been through competitive experiences that should serve her well in tonight's bout.

"I've been performing for a while, so I kinda know how to handle the nervousness and stress," she said. "I already know what to expect, so you just try to calm yourself down with that. You just have to have a strong mindset and a positive mindset. Confidence is key."

Still, Trias isn't immune to the jitters, but she believes she is prepared to deal with it. "I usually get nervous the second before I perform," she admits. "But once I sing the first note, I'm fine. It's like you're in a trance -- like you know what you're doing, but you don't know what you're doing at the same time because you're just letting the music carry you."

Trias' considerable range has earned her favorable comparisons to such celebrated singers as Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera by those privy to her vocal talents. That suits her just fine, as she considers the aforementioned, along with Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin, among her personal idols. "I also have an Alicia Keys CD in my player right now," she says. "I think she's awesome."

In her quest to match the lofty accomplishments of pop's most exalted icons, Trias' performance tonight could be a monumental turning point in her career. Not that she feels the pressure to do anything out of the ordinary. In fact, in many ways, ventures the aspiring songbird, it's just business as usual.

"I'm just along for the ride," she says with casual pragmatism. "I'm just going to go for it, give it my best, and that's all I can do."

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