Writers, fans predict Bo will be winner
By Barry Sublett
Living Today Editor
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When it comes to choosing the next American Idol, Brenda Marlow of Nashville compares apples and oranges — or rather, luxury vehicles.
"Bo (Bice) is like a Lamborghini Diablo SVR — asking price $300,000," she said. "Carrie (Underwood) is a Volvo S40 — asking price $23,560."
AP Photo by Ray Mickshaw|
"American Idol" finalists Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood will perform for one last time tonight before the winner is crowned Wednesday.
She's predicting the longhaired Huntsville-born rocker with affection for sunglasses and needle-toed cowboy boots will blow his competition, a blond Sunday school teacher and farm girl from Checotah, Okla., off the road.
And she's not alone. THE DAILY conducted a random, highly unscientific nationwide poll late last week. Newspaper reporters and editors from coast-to-coast predict Bo in a landslide. So do Idol fans. Our poll results matched those of music giants Rolling Stone and Billboard.com.
"From what I've seen, it's definitely Bo," said Anne Neville, a lifestyles reporter at The Buffalo News in Buffalo, N.Y. "He doesn't fit the mold of previous winners, and I think fans respect him for stepping out and being different. He's taken the most risks and that's given him a high recognition factor."
John Burke, a copy editor with The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, said Bo's a cappella performance of "In a Dream" last week "really impressed a lot of people and gave him the edge. That put him in a league by himself."
Said Prentiss Findlay, television columnist at The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.: "Bo has charisma and something new and different."
Rachelle Love, newsroom secretary for the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial, said she'd never watched "American Idol" until she heard about Bo.
"I've picked him from the very beginning. He has a great voice and great stage presence, plus he's a very attractive man."
Patty Harmon of The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, also gives the edge to Bo.
"I love his voice, but I don't like his look," she said. "That long hair has got to go."
Naturally, Oklahoma is behind Underwood.
"If Oklahoma can kick Alabama all up and down the football field, then I think Carrie can do it to Bo," said Charles Clark, lifestyle section editor for The Lawton (Okla.) Constitution.
Three newspaper editors reported little interest in "American Idol."
"We're iconoclastic here in Vermont," said Bill Anderson of the Burlington Free Press. "We don't really pay attention to popular stuff."
"No one here cares about 'American Idol,' said a reporter from The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner before she hung up the phone. "This is Alaska."
Wayne Hererra of The Honolulu Advertiser said Hawaiians aren't following this year's competition. "Last year, it was huge because we had two from Hawaii in the finals. Nobody cares this year."
Fans choose Bo 4-1
"Carrie will win because she's an all-American girl," said Isabel Ramirez, an actress from New York City. "Everyone can relate to her. Bo is a good singer, but he represents only a certain kind of audience."
Ramirez' vote for Carrie was the only one among five fans selected at random.
"Bo will take it all because his vocals are impressive and he's far more of a performer than Carrie. Her voice is amazing, but she doesn't have any stage presence," said Jack Arch, who works for the city of Meridien, Conn.
'Vocal talent is wide'
"Bo's range of vocal talent is wide," added Keith Thornton, an accountant from Detroit. "Carrie only does well on country/western stuff."
"Bo is by far the most versatile singer," said Jerry Norman, a property management consultant from Indianapolis. "Carrie has limited stage appeal. Bo is the real performer."
Marlow echoed Norman.
"Although Carrie has the best vocals between the two, she is deficient in the entertainment department and she's not versatile like Bo. She will take the country genre by storm but that's simply all she can offer. I can walk away from the television set and just simply listen to Carrie because I enjoy her better that way.
"Bo works the stage like a performer should do. His performance last week was like eating a fully loaded potato with all the fixings. All you could do was loosen your belt and rest your stomach because you were so full."
DAILY intern Jenny Thompson contributed to this story.
Tune in and vote
"American Idol" finals air tonight at 7 on FOX 54. The winner is determined by viewer votes. To vote, you must watch the show and call the toll-free numbers provided for each contestant. Cingular customers can text message votes.
The winner will be announced at the conclusion of a two-hour show Wednesday. It begins at 7 p.m. on FOX 54.
See Bo perform A Bo Watch is planned tonight and Wednesday night at 7 at Mamas Country Diner in Somerville. Huntsville's Von Braun Center also will have Bo Watch at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the arena. Admission is free. Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center is having a Bo Watch on Wednesday. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. BJCC requests you park on 19th Street. Wear sunglasses and bring support signs. FOX will feed celebration footage to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood during the "American Idol" finals.
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