The Little “Bette Midler” of ‘American Idol’ First To Be Ousted of the 12 Finalists

Atlantan first to exit ‘Idol’ finals
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

In a bit of a surprise, “American Idol 2” viewers booted Atlanta hair colorist Vanessa Olivarez Wednesday night, the first of 12 finalists to be eliminated.

Olivarez, a spunky 21 year old with unusual fashion sense, was the only Atlantan in the finals in contrast to the original “Idol” last summer, which included three Atlantans and the son of a former Atlanta police chief to boot.

Before the show, “Idol” pundits online predicted others to be more likely to be eliminated, including Charles Grigsby, 24, of Oberlin, Ohio and Kimberly Locke, 24, of Nashville. In fact, in an unscientific American Online poll, with 377,540 votes, Olivarez was ranked eighth out of 12, though with only 3 percent of the vote.

“Thank you all so much and you haven’t seen the last me,” a composed Olivarez told TV viewers after getting eliminated, “so keep watching, okay?” Indeed, when “Idol” promoters take the group on tour in the summer, Olivarez will be there.

Unfortunately for Olivarez, before about 25 million viewers Tuesday night, judges gave her mixed feedback after her rendition of the Supremes song “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Paula Abdul, always the cheerleader, even offered mild criticism, saying, “It was a little pitchy, but it was a lot of fun.” Simon Cowell said she was reminiscent of Bette Midler, which was not necessarily a compliment from his lips: “I saw you as more of an entertainer than what we’re looking for in this competition.”

That presumably means more Las Vegas showstopper than whatever definition of “Idol” Cowell has in his mind. And apparently, viewers agreed.

“Idol” each week eliminates the person with the fewest votes.”Idol” producers did not reveal exact vote totals out of 13.5 million votes cast, but Julia D’Amato, 23, of Brookfield, Ct. and Locke were the other low vote getters after Olivarez.

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