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Idol Chatter

carlypicfromai.jpgThis week on “American Idol,” contestants sang songs from the canon of music theater genius Andrew Lloyd Webber. The field had been narrowed to six contestants, and each worked one on one with Webber to prepare their song. Carly Smithson, an Irish woman (now married to a US citizen) who had auditioned two seasons prior but had to drop out due to visa issues, had chosen the ballad “All I Ask Of You” as her song. Webber, however, felt that Smithson’s voice was better suited to her second-choice song, “Superstar,” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” The song is sung in the musical by Judas and questions whether Jesus is real and credible. The lyrics are: “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, who are you, what have you sacrificed? Jesus Christ Superstar, do you think you’re what they say you are?”The show’s three judges agreed that Smithson’s spirited, lively performance was strong and one of the night’s best. They, along with many in the audience, were shocked when she was voted off on Wednesday’s elimination show over contestants like Jason Castro, who had gotten poor reviews, and Brooke White, who had flubbed the lyrics to her song and made the band start over.Some commenters on “American Idol’s” official FOX forums expressed displeasure with Smithson’s song choice. Today’s New York Times even picked up the story and called attention to the controversial history of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”Many “Idol” contestants have been criticized in the past for their song choice, but that usually means they chose a song that didn’t flatter or show off their voice. This is one of the only times a contestant’s song choice put them in jeopardy not because of the notes but because of the lyrics.For what it’s worth, Smithson says she’s OK with being off the show. “I’m actually not that sad to be leaving,” she said in an interview. “I enjoyed every minute thoroughly, but we’re back in two weeks to start preparing for the tour and the finale. So it’s like a small break and I’m going to be back. I think I made enough of an impact to reach a good fan base and now I just get to be me without a theme night and make a really cool record.”

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