American Idol Gets It Wrong

Carly Smithson“American Idol’s” claim to be a singing competition and not just a popularity contest took a hit tonight (April 23), when Carly Smithson, arguably the most vocally talented female singer left, was eliminated, while the dreadlocked Jason Castro was voted on to the next round.

I have said, for some time, that Carly was going to have trouble going the distance, as she was older, married (to a guy who is tattooed over his entire body, including his face) and Irish by birth. She also couldn’t expect much of a “sympathy” vote, as she had previously had a recording contract.

The result was that a vastly inferior singer (Jason Castro) who performed poorly during his last outing sailed through, while Carly was sent packing.

Even more outrageous was the other singer given a position as “second lowest,” Syesha Mercado. It is true that Syesha’s personality has been missing in action over the past several weeks, but she flaunted it on her last outing, singing the best she has all season. To have that rewarded by placing in the bottom two must be a bitter pill. Surely Brooke White, who forgot the opening line to her song and stopped to start over, did less well on April 22nd, but that made no difference whatsoever, as Brooke is “the nice one.”

The smart money still favors “the Davids” for the Final Two, those being David Archuleta and David Cook. It probably was no coincidence that they were the first two called out onstage and told that they were “safe,” as they probably had the highest vote totals.

As Carly exited, Simon Cowell apologized for giving Carly a compliment on her last night of competition, when she sang “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” calling it “the kiss of death.” And he may just have been right, although Carly was doomed for several other reasons. But none of those reasons were vocal talent.