Irish singer Smithson voted off American Idol

Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:21am EDT
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By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The music of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber marked the end of the road for "American Idol" finalist Carly Smithson on Wednesday after fans of the hit TV talent show cast the fewest votes for her rendition of "Superstar."

During Tuesday's performance, the six remaining contestants were asked to sing a Webber song after being coached by the famed British tunesmith, who wrote such musicals as "Cats," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Evita."

The Irish singer, who lives in San Diego, gave a strong performance on Tuesday of the hit from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," drawing uniform praise by the show's judges as among her best.

But after 38 million votes were cast by the show's fans, Smithson came last.

"I apologize for giving you a compliment last night, the kiss of death," the show's curmudgeonly judge Simon Cowell told Smithson after the vote was revealed. "You can leave with your head held high."

Smithson was joined in the bottom two in Wednesday's vote by 21-year-old Syesha Mercado. She sang a sassy version of "One Rock 'n Roll Too Many" from the musical "Starlight Express" and was also praised by the judges for a strong performance.

While Smithson had appeared in the bottom three on several occasions during the show's seventh season, the vote was unexpected.

Pundits had forecast two other singers would be in trouble. Brooke White flubbed her lines of "You Must Love Me," from the movie of "Evita," and made the band stop and restart. Jason Castro gave a performance of "Memory" from "Cats," which judge Randy Jackson called a "train wreck."   Continued...

<p>Finalist Carly Smithson poses at the American Idol Top 12 party honoring the finalists in the 'American Idol" television reality series in Los Angeles, California March 6, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>