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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Friday, March 10, 2006
It’s sad to say but there are definitely moments when it’s easy to see racism still lingers in America and one the most obvious ways to get a glimpse of it is to look at how people vote on shows like American Idol. Gedeon McKinney was clearly one of the top five singers this year, yet, barring some unforeseen drop out a la Mario Vazquez last year, he won’t be hitting Idol’s main stage. All three judges did nothing but laud him with praise after every performance and his voice was reminiscent of the kind one might have heard on an oldies station, a straight classic. Gedeon, however, is a young black male, and with the notable exception of Ruben Studdard, young black males get no love in American popularity contests. Yes, Gedeon got screwed just like Nikko Smith got screwed last year. Nikko was eventually brought back into the fold when Mario dropped out, hopefully something similar will happen for Gedeon.

Many will bring up the numerous rap artists that sell millions of records, but those rap artists aren’t black America, they sell a stereotype of black America and there’s nothing America likes better than a stereotype. 50 Cent is OK to white America, although in a slightly frightening way for anyone over 30, because he tells them what they want to hear, a life filled with crime and drugs. Gedeon doesn’t stand a chance if those are the requirements for being a young black male in music.

Despite Gedeon, one of my favorites, being ushered out way too soon, I will move on with my Idol predictions. Last year I did pretty well, figuring Bo to be in the final two and actually saying Carrie was one of two girls I felt would be “the final girl standing.” This year I’ve broken the final twelve down into four groups of three, so let's get started with the first three that will be sent home.

Early Exits

Melissa McGhee (21) – She’s one of the more attractive girls left, but Melissa has a very big problem, she’s not that great a singer and the judges all know it. The annoyingly perfect Ayla Brown probably deserved this spot in the top 12, but either way it’s a spot that goes home fast.

Kevin Covais (16) – Seriously, after two awful weeks I have no idea how this kid keeps getting voted through. There have been conspiracy theories that some folks get together and vote for the worst person to try to hurt the show and that’s about the only way this kid moves on. He’s 16, looks 11, and has the demeanor of a kid who’s just waiting to get his lunch money taken from him. Kevin’s got a lot of growing up to do before he can be an American Idol

Bucky Covington (28) – Bucky seems to be a true country boy who sings great country music. Last year Carrie Underwood rode a simliar wave to victory, but I don’t see that happening two years in row. In terms of musical ability Bucky’s significantly more limited than Carrie and should be out quick. He’s a much better fit for Nashville Star.

Next Out

Taylor Hicks (29) – We’ve all enjoyed his old school voice and strange gyrations on stage, but the man with the salt and pepper hair will be making his exit before we get down to the final six. Eventually his seizure-like dance moves, and inability to adapt to other styles of music, will send him home. That being said he seems like the kind of guy who will still be smiling even on the day he gets cut.

Mandisa (29) – Double standards aren’t a good thing, but they’re a very real thing, and while it was OK for America to vote Ruben, an excessively fat man, as their American Idol, they will never vote for a fat woman. Mandisa has one of the top voices in this competition, but the worst shape. As soon as she exits the show VH1 should cast her in their next edition of Celebrity Fit Club, she seems like the perfect candidate.

Kellie Pickler (19) – Kellie’s cute, she can sing well, and her story is an intriguing one. Unfortunately for Kellie she’s simply a middle of the pack talent in this year’s competition. So while Simon may lust after her in a sort of creepy uncle kind of way, it’s a lusting that will be cut short when she gets sent home before the calendar turns to May.

Strong Competition

Katharine McPhee (21) – In my opinion Katharine is by far the prettiest girl left in the competition, which will earn her plenty of votes before she even opens her mouth to sing. Thankfully, when she opens her mouth she sings pretty darn well. I expect her to stick around for a while, especially since she’ll be the eldest girl there once Mandisa exits and there’s only so many teenagers one can listen to before they want to hear an adult.

Paris Bennett (17) – I couldn’t stand Paris when I first heard he speak. God gave her an awful speaking voice, but a terrific singing voice (and a helluva lineage.. Sounds of Blackness anyone?). What will be Paris’ downfall is her lack of experience and her annoying little head flip whenever she does well. The head flip is already bordering on seeming egotistical, even if it’s not meant to be, and no one likes a bratty kid.

Lisa Tucker (16) – This girl’s been on stage for a good portion of her life as part of The Lion King so while her age may be 16 her performance age is right up there with the older folks. Lisa’s eyebrows scare me, but other than that she should have smooth sailing through April and into May.

Best of the Best

Elliot Yamin (27) – Elliot may not have pretty boy good looks but he has one of the best voices in the competition along with a humble attitude. Whenever this guy performs, even on his off nights, you can tell he’s going to be here till the end. You can book Elliot for plenty of TV time this spring.

Ace Young (25) – Unlike Elliot, Ace has the pretty boy good looks, and much like Constantine did last year, Ace will earn votes with a simple look towards the camera. The combination of his looks and amazing falsetto voice will keep Ace on Idol for quite a while. He has the teenage girl vote locked up.

Chris Daughtry (26) – While Ace may have the teenage girl vote locked up, Chris will have all the others. Much like Bo Bice last year, Chris a rocker through and through and he’s remaining true to those roots with fantastic song choices like Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive. Chris’ voice is malleable enough to adjust to other styles, at least for the one night he’ll be asked to for a competition like this. This guy is a more modern version of Bo and, along with Elliot and Ace, stands a good chance of winning.

So there you have it. This year looks to be one for the guys and there are three distinctly different guys to choose from. There’s Elliot, who sings effortlessly, Ace, who makes the teenage girls swoon, and Chris, who can rock it out with the best of them. My early money is on Ace and Chris to duke it out in the finals.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 9:21 AM  
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