‘American Idol’ Tracker: A glimpse at destiny denied


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Tuesday on the ‘Ellen’ show, the guest performers offered a peek at what might have been and a glimpse at the first stage appearance, out of captivity, of the next great sensations ‘American Idol’ will have unleashed upon the world.

Standing on a snow-flecked outdoor stage in downtown Chicago where Ellen was filming her 10th-anniversary week, Michael Johns, the Duende from Down Under, took the mike alongside the most electrifying, likely greatest performer in ‘American Idol’ history, the sensational Carly Smithson, to sing U2’s ‘One’ and ‘Hold On, I’m Coming’ backed by Rickey Minor and the ‘American Idol’ band. (You can watch the video here).


It is impossible to watch this video, see the incredible stage charisma and singing powers these two possess and not feel sadness, not wonder what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame night might have been if these two were a part of it.

Since Carly’s ouster, I have received more e-mails on the subject -- 98% percent outraged -- than I have on any other topic I have written about in my career. Two weeks later, the grief and anger still bubble over and the e-mail still pours in, and I still relate to those sentiments entirely. Indeed, when Carly visited the Idoldome Tuesday night the crowd erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation on her pre-show entrance.

But in the end, it is hard to feel too much anger at the show which brought Carly and Michael into our lives to start with. We grownups may have to accept that we are second-class citizens behind the speed dialing tweens in ‘Idol’ nation. But one cannot argue with the will of the people. Or one can, and one certainly would like to impose a dictatorship over the ‘Idol’ process -- but one must recognize, grudgingly, that there are perhaps larger principles at stake.

And the bigger picture, as the ‘Ellen’ video shows, three months after we first met Carly and Michael, that they are both prepared for much bigger things. Having come forth from ‘Idol,’ they now shall take on the world. But first, the finals, the tour...

- Richard Rushfield