And Then There Were Only Two


If you’re an American Idol junkie, as I openly confess that I am, then you know that Fox TV’s music elimination competition has pared the competitors down to its final two contestants. After starting out last summer with tryouts across the country for tens of thousands of American Idol wannabes, the program ends next week with a showdown between its final two singers, with the winner, determined by fan voting, being crowned the 11th American Idol.

Unfortunately, for this article, I can’t yet fill in the names of Idol’s two finalists. Friday’s Roundup deadline comes before Thursday’s elimination show. As I write this, the lone remaining female contestant, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez will be squaring off this week against the two remaining males - 19-year-old soul singer Joshua Ledet and 21-year-old alternative-rocker Phil Phillips.

So, who’s going home this week? Well, that’s really a tough call. In my opinion, each of the three remaining contestants has as good a shot as the others to reach next week’s finals.

Jessica has perhaps the purest voice and the greatest range of the three. Joshua, in addition to having a superb soulful sound, has by far the most stage presence and performs consistently with the most emotion and energy. Phil, who has his own unique style, is a cute Caucasian male whom every female teen voter would give her right arm to date. So, on that basis alone, he also has a legitimate shot at the title.

I was really sad when Holly was voted off of the show last week when it was down to the Top 4. She probably didn’t have the best “pipes” of the four contestants still in the hunt, but she just seemed like such a sweet, classy and fun young lady, without a pretentious bone in her body. I think she would have made a great Idol.

Overall, I think this year’s American Idol has been Fox’s best season yet. The vocal talent has been better than ever, the side entertainment has been great and it was nice to see that all three judges from last year returned for this season.

But what I think has helped more than anything to upgrade American Idol this year (which actually extends back to last year, as well) is the addition of a full-time, season-long mentor for the contestants, rather than having a different celebrity recording artist each week coach, which was the Idol’s policy through 2010.

With a full-time mentor in place, the contestants seem more confident and their song choices are almost always spot-on, which contributes to the entire program having a more polished feel to it.

This week’s music trivia question is: What is the first name of American Idol’s 2010-2011 mentor? This 59-year-old music producer began his career in the mid-1970s as a recording engineer and worked with such groups as the Raspberries, John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. He went on to produce albums for U-2, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and Dire Straits.

Is this year’s mentor’s first name A) Johnny; B) Jerry, C) Jimmy; or D) Jeremiah?

This week, if you are the sixth caller with the correct answer to this week’s trivia question, you’ll win a $25 gift certificate to Payson Wireless, courtesy of owner, John Griffith, who says “We are located in the Swiss Village, are locally owned and operated and we’re all about service.”

Last week’s music trivia

Now, let’s see how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was: What was country music artist Eddy Arnold’s well known nickname? Was it A) Fast Eddy; B) The Tennessee Plowboy; C) Golden Throat; or D) Mama’s Boy?

The correct answer was the Tennessee Plowboy.

Congratulations to this past week’s first-time music trivia winner, Steve Davis, who won a gift certificate to Chili’s Restaurant.

A little about Steve

He was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y. and graduated from Albany State University. He has two sons: Stephen, a professor at the University of Kentucky, and Chris, who is finishing his bachelor’s degree in education from A.S.U. (Maybe if Chris takes his time, he’ll be able to transfer to A.S.U.’s Payson campus and finish here.)

Steve moved to Payson two years ago from Bullhead City to accept a job with Child Protective Services. Six months ago he switched fields and now works as an associate broker with Four Seasons Realty.

In his spare time, Steve enjoys golfing, fishing and traveling. His music preference is 1960s Rock & Roll and he is proud to say that he was one of the over 400,000 people from across the country who attended the 1969 Woodstock music festival. His favorite artists are the Rolling Stones, Beatles and Neil Young.

Have a great week!

DJ Craig (928) 468-1482



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