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May 25, 2005
Bo Bice Then Carrie Underwood Sing A Trio of American Idol IV Final Performances

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On Tuesday, May 24th Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood took one step closer to becoming the 2005 American Idol. More than 40 million Americans were expected to show up and vote for the finalists. Host Ryan Seacrest is one of the few people who knows how close the competition has become. Ryan revealed to us that last week, less than 2% of the votes separated Bo and Carrie. So, whose steps will give them the title?

Season Four Top Twelve finalists were in the house on Tuesday night to cheer on their favorites now that they are not in the running. A few of the finalists included Constantine Maroulis, Anthony Fedorov, Nikko Smith, Jessica Sierra, Scott Savol, Nadia Turner and a guy that looked like Anwar Robinson but with a different hairdo. Perhaps their applause was what rocked the house on Tuesday. Boy, was it loud!

Jasmine Trias and George Huff from Season Three were also in the audience.

It took two coin tosses to determine who would go first. After the first coin fell through a grate in the stage floor Carrie won the second toss. She chose to go second. In the end, her choice was more strategic on the back end of the evening because she was the last to sing.

Like last year, the two finalists were invited to choose a favorite song previously sung this season. This year, their second and third songs were to be originals.


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Round One: Bo Bice's Rendition of "The Long, Long Road"

For Round One of the Season Four Finale, Bo chose a song that America was not familiar with. Neither were the judges.

Randy had good news and bad news. The bad news was he didn't like the song Bo had chosen. He called it weird. The good news was it didn't matter. Randy said:

It doesn't matter what you sing. It don't matter what you do. You still brought it home in the end. Good job.

Paula wished Bo congratulations first before offering any critique. She said:

First of all, it's hard to sing a song that nobody knows, but I get the chills when I see everybody vibing with you, it's a true mark of a great singer. That's what I'm feeling right now. It doesn't matter what you sing Bo. You could sing The Webster's Dictionary. It all sounds good to me. So Amen on that.

Simon called Bo's first song "dreary." He told Bo he looked like his chemistry teacher, which is not a good thing. Simon challenged Bo to do a lot better in order to walk away with the title.

Bo welcomed the "constructive criticism."

Of the seven fans present in our media room on Tuesday night, only one could say, "Bo knocked the socks off that song." That one was a twenty year-old long hair loving, rock 'n' roll gal named Lisa.


Round One: Carrie Underwood's Version of "Inside Your Heaven"

Carrie's first song choice was Inside Your Heaven, the same song Bo sang in Round Three.

Her outfit was unassuming, but her voice was award-winning.

Tim said after her first song, "She just won."

Randy said, "Wow, wow. This is an amazing night." He also had good news and bad news to offer Carrie. Just like Bo's song, he also didn't care for Carrie's. He called the front end pitchy. But he said the good news was that she brought it home at the end -- just like Bo. "You can really, really sing," Randy said.

Randy affirmed that Bo and Carrie were the "right" two left standing in this competition. After the first song, he called the contest even.

Paula also wished Carrie congratulations for making it to the finals. She said, "You had a few not-so-great notes, but who in the heck cares."

Simon liked Carrie's song better. He agreed with Randy's assessment regarding her "pitchiness." The bottom line, he said:

Round One goes to you.

In speaking with host Ryan Seacrest after the judges critique Carrie got choked up.

Nerves played a significant part throughout the entire show.

However, where Vonzell Solomon likely garnered additional votes when she showed her emotion I would venture to guess that Carrie's emotion didn't last long enough to help her earn many more.


Round Two: Bo Sings "Vehicle" by The Ides of March

Bo's favorite song sung this season was a rock tune by The Ides of March.

Randy said:

That's what I'm talkin' about. Great song. Great vocal. Now I'm happy. That was hot.

Paula said, "You couldn't have performed that better than you just did right now. That's the true, authentic Bo that we all know and love."

Simon welcomed Bo back. He said, "Now we have ourselves a competition."

Bo's smile said it all.

Each of his family members were wearing Bo Bice sunglasses and t-shirts in honor of their #1 fan.


Round Two: Carrie Sings Classic Country

Carrie once again nailed it. She sang Independence Day by Carrie's idol Martina McBride.

Randy said, "Welcome back. That was the Carrie I love. It was an amazing vocal. You worked it out. Congratulations! That was hot."

Paula called her brilliant. "Great vocal." she said. "Great vocal."

Simon begged to differ. He called it strange. Had Simon chosen the song for her from previous weeks, he would have selected Crying.

Simon said, "Round Two goes to Bo."


Round Three: Bo Gives His All With "Inside Your Heaven"

Bo nearly didn't make it to the microphone for the first note of his last song.

However, the minute he landed on the stage he had won our best dressed, most "rugged elegant" competition of the night. Bo wore black jeans, a jazzy button down African-looking shirt and a white jacket.

His rendition of Inside Your Heaven was smoother than Carrie's.

Randy called his third song "brilliant." He welcomed him forever into his Dawg Pound.

Paula praised him for giving it his all. She showed her true colors when Simon spoke up and told Bo he out sang Carrie on the same song. After that reaction it became very clear who Paula hopes will win.

Paula raised up her arms and cheered as Simon said:

It's the only time I've seen your nerves throughout this entire competition. It obviously shows how much this means to you.

I think you did out sing Carrie on this song.

And Bo, this may be the last chance I get to say to you in the competition. It has been for us an absolute pleasure having you on the competition.

Linnea, our Swedish guest said after his performance, "Ah. I want my boyfriend to sing like that."

Bo called the experience "magical."

He thanked the cast, the crew for all of their efforts. And he thanked everyone who cast his or her vote in his direction.


Round Three: Carrie Sang "Angels Brought Me Here"

Wearing a mid-length simple black halter dress and a long multi-strand white shimmering necklace, Carrie sang Angels Brought Me Here.

Before the song was finished she once again got teary-eyed.

Her family was subdued in their applause. However, the rest of the audience went wild.

Randy said as he stood up and applauded, "This is the first time I've given you this this season, but you got the Dawg standing ovation, man."

Paula, who was wearing her own gorgeous jewelry again tonight, gave major kudos to Carrie, as well.

She praised her all that she has accomplished in the last six months. "It is a lifetime of achievements," Paula said. "And you'll never face anything more scary in your life."

Carrie shook her head in agreement.

As Paula had done moments earlier, Simon showed his colors in his last critique of the season.

He told Carrie and the American public watching that what she did tonight was probably enough to win.

Simon said:

You know Carrie, you've got a lot of guts. You're competing against someone who is older than you, that's had more experience.

Again, I felt the emotion on that song.

But Carrie, I think you've done enough to win this competition.

And the crowd went wild. So, did two people of the seven in this Peanut Gallery here in San Francisco.

At the tail end of the show, the live audience and those at home got a brief recap of those who came before Bo and Carrie. The most priceless shot was Randy's reaction when Simon grabbed Paula's face and pretend to kiss her.

The recap of the season brought back fun memories and sad ones. The saddest was when Constantine was voted off.

Randy summed up the season by saying, "I think this is our best season ever, and I'm so happy that American Idol on the stage has a Country girl and a Southern rocker."

Paula agreed with Randy.

Simon said humbly, "I'd like to thank America for listening to me this year."

"Thank you America," he said.

Lisa, our Swedish "daughter" from last year had an interesting perspective on the style of the two top contenders.

A fan of both the contestants, she said:

Carrie's voice is like a sour candy. The minute it lands in your mouth you are aware of its presence.

Bo's voice is more like ice cream. It melts when it lands in your mouth.

Unfortunately, for us at home, the show as a whole lacked charisma. The performances did not come off as strong as many, if not most, of the performances throughout the season. Call it nerves. Whatever the case may be we did not feel the same magic that was clearly "in the house" at the Kodak Theater.

During all three songs, it seemed that Carrie pushed her voice too hard.

And Bo seemed nervous for the first time during the entire competition.


Four Hours To Cast Seven Votes

After trying to vote for what felt like an eternity the seven of us ended up casting only one vote for each of our favorite contestants.

Over the first two hour window and perhaps 100 attempted calls, about 80% of the time we got a busy signal.

Finally, we got through. This is how one American family in San Francisco and LA voted.

Carrie's fans:

Tim
Jessie

Bo's fans:

Jennifer
Malin
Lisa
Linnea

Our seven year-old was the only one who ended up "undecided." She says she plans on buying both of their albums when they are released. Niki said, "I can't wait to get them both on my iPod!"

When our fellow American Idol fans from our extended family called to give their assessment of the final performance, it was clear that two additional votes were heading Bo's way from Pasadena, California.

Pretending like we had called one of Bo Bice's three numbers, I answered the phone and heard:

Thanks for voting for me, Bo.

Watch tomorrow night on FOX sponsored in part by Cingular Wireless.

It was my brother Brad pretending he was Bo Bice.

Brad also said we could live vicariously through our friend Nord Eriksson, after he was lucky enough to receive primo seats at the Kodak Theater on Tuesday night.

Hands down, Nord said, "Bo owned the stage and was the best performer of the two."

On the flipside, he said that while Carrie was nervous he recognized that she is perhaps the more marketable of the two contestants.

Nord felt twice the magic that we felt at home. Lucky Dawg!

At the time of this post, an AOL poll showed that Bo had 54% of the votes vs. Carrie who had 46% of the votes.

When Tim learned this he got out of bed and gave his Vote for Carrie efforts one more try.

However, just as we cancel each other out in political elections I was quick to make a last ditch effort for Bo, as well.

Finally at 12:21 am, we got through again.

Thank you to all 100,000 contestants who auditioned last summer. Thanks to the judges who persevered through much controversy this season. Thank you to our host Ryan, to the band, to the producers and to FOX.

Inspire & Be Inspired.

Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful, "Dawg Pound Forever" living!

~ Jennifer Carolyn King, Rugged Elegance, LLC


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