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Saturday, February 18, 2006


The Women of American Idol

It is with no small degree of shame that I admit to watching the national travesty known as American Idol; unlike my other reality show obsessions, I believe A.I. is complete crap, an exercise in schadenfreude with no artistic or ethical basis. Furthermore, I think last year's winner, the country bimbo Carrie Underwood, is a terrible singer and indicative of the moral decay of our country. How's that for an opening paragraph?

But for the rest of you who, like me, slog through the show's histrionics hoping for a diamond in the rough (it did once...Kelly Clarkson, who's now a Grammy winner), here are my four favorites to win from the 12 female finalists, who begin in earnest next week. The boys will follow in a separate post tomorrow:

Lisa Tucker (Anaheim, CA) - Only 16 years old, but she's already a pro, having toured in Disney's The Lion King. A performer since the age of 2, she's got an experience and professionalism that escapes people twice her age.

Paris Bennett (Fayetteville, GA) - The 17-year-old granddaughter of soul legend Ann Nesby, she's easily got the most formidable singing chops of these four. Will her short height and less-than-star looks hold her back. (Remember, it didn't hurt Fantasia.)

Ayla Brown (Wrentham, MA) - On a basketball scholarship at Boston College, she is willowy and kind of unassuming in person. Her voice, however, is a strong, clear instrument. Don't know if she's got the juice, but if they want a white girl, she's the one.

Mandisa (Antioch, TX) - Almost 30, she's the woman of size who turned Simon's cruelty back on him in the final cut this week. She's got a gorgeous voice, and if sexism doesn't hold her back (Ruben won, and no one complained), she'll be among the finalists for sure.

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