In 2001, a pop culture phenomenon that drove Americans to live glued to their televisions and hike their phone bills to astronomical heights was born. That phenomenon was “American Idol,” the brain child of producer Simon Fuller. For those who have been living under a rock for the past four years, hereʼs how the show works: thousands of people, some of whom actually have talent, flock to five cities around the country to butcher classic songs and make our ears bleed. Then there is a semi-final round where some of the truly tone deaf are sent home once the novelty has worn off. Once the pool is reduced to the “top 12,” the remaining contestants perform for America while the viewing audience votes for their favorite through phone calls and text messages. Each week, a contestant is voted off until only two remain, from whom a winner is chosen.
There is a wide range of tastes and types of music in the top eight this season, a little something for everyone. Letʼs start with the ladies. For the country fans, we have 19-year-old Carrie Underwood from Oklahoma. Her bubbly personality and cutesy-pie demeanor have endeared her to the hearts of teen-queen groupies nationwide. But if youʼre more of a Whitney Houston-imitating, belt-thatlast- note-and-tear-the-place-down type of performer, then youʼll love Vonzell Solomon from Fort Meyers, Fla. Her powerhouse vocals have brought the crowd, and the judges to their feet on more than one occasion. But I canʼt forget my personal favorite, Nadia Turner. She comes out every week with her hippie style and her fantasticʻfro and tears the roof off of the auditorium with rocking renditions of songs like Melissa Etheridgeʼs”Iʼm the Only One.”
But how could I neglect the men? For those who love a good soul ballad, check out cuddly music teacher Anwar Robinson. Local boy Anthony Federov is sure to charm even the angstiest of teeny-boppers with his Backstreet Boy charm. But if rock is more up your alley, how about trying New York rock-God Constantine Maroulis? Heʼs pretty, heʼs charming and heʼs been in theater. He toured in the National Company of the Broadway musical “Rent.” And he looks really good in leather.
Or if youʼre a closet Lynard Skynard fan, I suggest Bo Bice from Alabama. His southern charm and raspy voice have melted more than a few hearts, including Paula Abdulʼs. And then there is Scott Savol, though I wouldnʼtsuggest getting too attached to him. If his lack of talent doesnʼt get him on the next plane back to New Orleans, his police record will. According to news reports, Savol was arrested in 2001 on a count of domestic violence after an altercation with his girlfriend. So, the burning question:
Who will be the next American Idol? If it were up to me, I would have to go with my girl Nadia or Bo, but, itʼs Americaʼs choice, not mine. Iʼm sure whoever wins will rise to the pop culture superstardom like his or her predecessors, Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barino.