The top 12 (top row, from left) Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler, Katharine McPhee, Kevin Covais, Mandisa. (Bottom row, from left) Bucky Covington, Melissa McGhee, Lisa Tucker, Paris Bennett, Ace Young and Elliot Yamin.
Time to get serious with 'Idol Pursuits'
The prelims are pau, the playoffs a fading memory, and now only 12 "American Idol" contestants remain standing. This is the real competition, now that everyone who remains can either actually sing or is so utterly adorable that America has clasped these warbling youngsters to its collective bosom. America watches. America votes. America decides which youthful dreamer is shattered and sent home squalling.
Who's your favorite? The turnip-headed Tin-Tin kid? Either of the precocious black teenage girls who are scarily comfortable on stage? The karaoke-singing Captain Ahab character? The snaggle-toothed white car mechanic? The hippy black lady? The "rockers" who do microphone curls for the camera? The bouncy Southern gal straight out of Hooterville? The gray-haired gent with a bag of tics? The faintly spazzy Noxema girl? Or the other one?
Like quail on a vice-presidential hunting trip, they'll be eliminated, one by one. Which brings us to the revival of the Star-Bulletin's "Idol Pursuits" contest. Next week, when it's down to 10 contestants, we'll run their pictures. You decide who the final three will be, in order.
Start watching. Note their strategies (songs with big tonsil-rattling endings, called "the Mariah"). Pay attention to the cruel tricks played upon them by the fiendish network (an all-Burt Bacharach night!) See who gets a millisecond of airtime more than the others in the silly car ads they produce every week. Haunt the blogs and message boards. Eschew the phrase "totally." Or just flip a coin.
The Final Three. In order.
Watch this space March 23. "Idol Pursuits" is in your hands.