Carly Smithson is out and suddenly the conspiracy theories are flying. Once respectable pop music critics are whining that suddenly Idol is a popularity contest, not about singing. Others are theorizing that perhaps Christians who find Jesus Christ Superstar offensive are to blame for Carly's axing.
People: Idol has been on seven years. It is a popularity contest. Pop music is about POPULARITY, hence the word POP. It doesn't have to be about the best singer -- which Carly could never be -- and it's not about Christians complaining about a nearly 40 year old theatrical standard. We're in the top 6, someone has to go. Carly just didn't connect with enough people to beat the others and, in my view, her vocals and her lack of stage presence (and those unattractive tattoos) were far from special. When you read the following transcript, Carly's high unlikability factor will become most apparent.
No point fretting that much anyway given that in many cases, the real winners in the marketplace are those who have been able to make albums away from the Idol machinery.
That said, here are Carly's last words on the subject from a teleconference call:
Getting cut: I think at this stage ... top six ...not one person feels safe anymore, and we’re all just so grateful for the experience. I’m not that sad to be leaving. I enjoyed every minute thoroughly, but you know we’re back in two weeks to start preparing for the tour and the finale. I made enough of an impact to be able to reach a good fan base, and now I get to be just me without a theme night and make a really cool record.
Whine, whine, whine: You know early on in the show they had set the standard so high for me, and they were a lot harder on me than other contestants and I think it kind of got to me for a maybe a few weeks, and I think by the time I met Mariah Carey I had kind of changed my mind. She was just so cool and so normal and so nice.
Forgetting words (after Brooke's major gaffe): There’s a lot of words in Jesus Christ Superstar, so, yes, I fumbled on a few of the lyrics. And I was coming up to the performance and I was talking to Andrew in the back. I knew all the words in the moment, but I knew as soon as I got on the stage I was going to fumble a few, and I was so irritated at myself when I got off the stage. Last night I got them all right, but I did change one and Andrew knew about it. But I called Simon the king of the crop instead of the pick of the crop, but that was on purpose. I thought that would be funny.
Neil Diamond song she'd planned for Tuesday: Sweet Caroline. And I wanted to do kind of balladish — because I did such up-tempo this week— I was going to actually do it with like a cello and a piano and make it like a slower like just a big, big, big song. Because it’s such a recognizable song. Neil Diamond, he’s got such amazing songs. He’s got such a huge catalog, and even songs that I think we were all kind of amazed that he knew or that he did that we know. You know? [If anyone can figure out what Carly's been saying, feel free to post a comment.]
More simpering excuses from Carly: Women vote for this show, you know it’s obvious and you know they vote for the boys. The boys are adorable and I definitely feel that the girls had more of a struggle this year with trying to get the popularity vote.
[If that nonsense is true, would someone explain how it is that FOUR out of six Idol winners have been women and that both male winners have basically bombed in the marketplace? Carly's insufferable, no wonder she lacked the support to take her into the Top 5.]
The mentors: [Andrew] was one of our most amazing mentors. Every mentor taught us something different. Like Mariah really showed me that she’s just a person. You know I don’t know what a star is, and I came into this you know like — they kept wanting me to be a star, and I was like well, you know I’m a bartender I don’t know what a star is supposed to act like you know? And I met Mariah Carey and she’s just a regular person, but Andrew Lloyd Webber he took so much time with us and really cared about every song that we were doing and every choice that we made. ... And Dolly Parton had such a great, I don’t know, just such a positive outlook on everything. I’ve never come across a woman that just walks into a room and it just lights up.
More excuses, on her failed 2001 debut album released as Carly Hennessy: Everybody feels that it was like a second chance. I’m not sure I even like had a first chance. Like I did get signed before, but it just never really happened and it never came out. You know it went to stores, but it was never promoted. It just kind of like crashed beneath my feet. The record label imploded, so I don’t know. You know I learned a lot from my first experience, but I understand it was a second experience, but I feel like it was my first chance.
Prediction on who's winning: I don’t know, it could be anything. You know, Castro could look into the camera and bat his eyelids and go into his amazing falsetto voice; and Brooke could you know just melt someone’s heart; David Archuleta could just — you know they give these amazing performances every week, and everyone’s so different that I honestly don’t— I have no idea like who it could be between. I mean nobody saw Michael Johns going home, nobody saw Alaina Whittaker going home, nobody saw Amanda going — you know there was all these shocking eliminations. My favorite went a long time ago. My favorite was Amanda Obermeier; she was fantastic, fantastic.