''American Idol'': Vonz gets the bronze
For her fans' sake, we hope she'll end up more like minor hitmaker Kimberley Locke than like missing-in-action Nikki McKibbin and Jasmine Trias. Either way, though, Vonzell Solomon joined those three women on the list of American Idol third-place finishers when her three-song combo of ''I'll Never Love This Way Again,'' ''Chain of Fools,'' and ''On the Radio'' earned her fewer votes than rivals Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood this week.
Many EW.com readers felt Baby V.'s Idol dreams may have been squelched by pitch problems and an inability to connect with the material on Tuesday night. ''Vonzell needs to worry about her vocals, not blowing kisses to everyone,'' wrote Bubba, while a reader named Petra expressed concern that the chipper diva had caught ''a case of fembot-itis from Carrie, with her setting getting stuck on perma-smile.''
Sam Gerbil, meanwhile, took a very specific stance on the Vonz's abilities: ''Vonzell is gorgeous, but her singing was waaay off,'' he wrote. ''When she doesn't like and/or know a song well, it shows. . . . She choked on 'I'll Never Love This Way Again' and was forcing the rhythm for the Donna Summer classic 'On the Radio.' She was slightly off and robotic on the arm-waving at the beginning of the song, and she didn't infuse any new life into the arrangement.''
Some of you, however, felt Vonzell faced an even bigger obstacle than her own vocal flaws: Bo Bice. Felix wrote to say that while Vonzell had received all his votes since the finals began, he was so impressed by Bo on Tuesday that he split his 100 votes: 75 for Mr. Bice, 25 for the Vonz.
Felix found plenty of kindred spirits on our message boards, as scads of you joined the Bice Squad after listening to the Alabamian's exquisite one-two punch: the a cappella ''In a Dream'' (which, as I've said before, immediately made me consider revising EW.com's list of the ten all-time best Idol performances ) and the soaring ''Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.''
Kathy, for one, declared this horse race over. ''Years ago, there was great racehorse (even the young people should know his name): Secretariat. Now, what they probably don't remember is there was another fine horse that would have won the Triple Crown by the name Sham. He was a great little horse, but try as he could, there was no way that he could touch Secretariat, a champion who was just too above any 'normal' talented racehorse. Poor Sham, born in the wrong year. Analogy: Bo is just so far ahead of the others. He is unbelievable. Perhaps any other year Carrie or Vonzell might win, but when someone is so clearly gifted, then there is not much you can do.''
One anonymous poster, however, found one way Vonzell and Carrie outshine their male rival. ''Carrie smiles great with clean white teeth, and Vonzell has the same beautiful smile all the time. It is very pleasant to watch white and clean teeth when they sing and smile.''
Whether or not exceptional oral hygiene is a factor, however, Linda Chapman is rooting for Carrie to spring an upset in next week's finals. ''I think Carrie has it all together,'' she wrote. ''She is like a young Barbara Mandrel. She lights up the stage and brings heart and soul to any song.''
Regardless of the outcome, several readers had interesting predictions and/or advice for Vonzell, Bo, and Carrie as they head into their post-Idol careers.
''Von should grab three or four ex-Top 10 Idol females and create a group like Destiny's Child or TLC,'' wrote Elecchem. ''They would rock and take the charts by storm.'' Come to think of it, we haven't heard much lately from Trenyce, Jennifer Hudson, Vanessa Olivarez, or even Diana DeGarmo. Somebody call their agents!
As for Carrie, well, ''she is going to be one of the greatest country singers ever,'' wrote Karen, ''as long as no one makes her do dance moves in a video.''
And Daisyj had a word of caution for Bo. ''One of the most disturbing things I've heard on this show,'' she wrote, ''was when Simon said, 'I like you singing that kind of song better than the rock,' after Bo covered Elton John. It gives me a bad feeling about what they are planning to do to our favorite Southern rocker once they get the American Idol label on him. Call me paranoid, but I bet there's some executives who think he'd be a lot more valuable singing cheesy power ballads for the indefinite future. Remember, Michael Bolton started out in a rock band too.''
To which we say, keep on rockin', Bice-man. Keep on rockin'.
Do you think the right person got eliminated this week? Will we be hearing Vonzell on the radio, or will the former letter carrier go postal and return to her routes? And does Carrie have a chance next week?