A look at ‘Idol’ also-rans
By GREG ENDICOTT, Sacramento Bee
(MN) – Well, it’s finally down to the last two contestants on “American Idol.” The music superstar hopefuls endured months of Paula Abdul’s mall rat outfits and nonsensical ramblings (she never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings), Randy Jackson’s overuse of the word “dawg” and meaningless critiques (“You did your thing”) and Simon Cowell’s nasty putdowns (“Don’t take this personally, but …”). Now, either Clay Aiken or Ruben Studdard will be named the next big thing in pop music.
Let’s take a look back at the contestants in order of elimination and see what we have learned this season:
1. Vanessa Olivarez: The pink-haired Bette Midler wannabe proved that calculated wackiness and bragging about a sizable backside don’t get you far.
2. Charles Grigsby: The seemingly sweet guy had the deadly combination of a weak voice and no stage presence. He was sent back to his job stocking shelves at the supermarket.
3. Julia DeMato: Avoid this Connecticut hairdresser’s signature moves: staring out like a deer caught in the headlights and doing a little “If I move too much my tight pants will rip” two-step.
4. Corey Clark: Even Abdul’s inexplicable adoration of this no-talent didn’t help when he lied about his rap sheet. Clark had been arrested for allegedly beating up his sister. He was disqualified from the competition.
5. Rickey Smith: “Hercules! Hercules!” Enough said.
6. Kimberly Caldwell: The Texas blonde was a little too insincere and overconfident. Let’s hope she’s not as phony with her boyfriend (former contestant J.D. Adams) as she was on stage.
7. Carmen Rasmusen: The Utah teen came into the contest apparently thinking it was sheep-calling competition. Hold back that vibrato, girl!
8. Trenyce: Trenyce seemed to have watched one too many VH1 “Divas” specials. You can wink and tap your fingers on the microphone ’til the cows come home, but if you don’t connect with the audience, you’re history.
9. Joshua Gracin: The would-be Garth Brooks had the patriotic vote. He’s a U.S. Marine based at Camp Pendleton. Just do us a favor, Josh, and never sing Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate” ever again.
10. Kimberley Locke: The Nashville beauty started out weak with her rendition of “Heatwave,” but she came back strong and made it all the way to No. 3. Her mistake may have been telling judge Cowell that he “sucks.” A tacky move from a classy woman.
Clay and Ruben will get one last chance to impress viewers in their final competition at 8 p.m. Tuesday.