Atsuko Maeda is a Japanese singer and actress known for her work in the Japanese idol group AKB48. Maeda was one of the most prominent members in the group, and placed first among all AKB48 and sister group candidates in the group's general 2009 and 2011 elections, and second in the 2010 election. She also appeared on many of its album covers. On March 25, 2012, she announced her graduation from AKB48; it was held on August 27. She has since continued with a solo singing and acting career.