America’s Idol – Bice, America await results

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bo or Carrie? America will know tonight.

American Idol finalists Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood performed for voters once more Tuesday, and now await America’s response on who will be the next Idol. Results will be announced tonight during a two-hour special on FOX, beginning at 7 p.m.

Bice, who resides in Helena, entered Tuesday’s competition as a slight favorite after offering three of his best performances last week, including an a capella rendition of Badlands’ &uot;In a Dream.&uot; However, many AI prognosticators predict the voting between Bice and Oklahoma’s Underwood will be among the closest in the show’s four seasons.

Long road to Hollywood

Bice and Underwood are the two finalists from more than 100,000 people who auditioned nationally.

For the past three months, they have performed for America every week, hoping to garner enough votes to stick around. While Bice did make the bottom three one week, both he and Underwood have been considered favorites since the beginning.

The two performers have different musical styles and backgrounds. Bice, 29, is known for his long hair and Southern rock style. Underwood, 21, is the attractive blonde known for singing country music.

That represents a change for the previous three seasons, when the finalists generally specialized in contemporary or rhythm and blues.

Millions will watch

Tonight’s show should be one of the most watched television programs this year, excluding the Super Bowl.

American Idol episodes are regularly in the top five of Nielsen ratings, with 20-plus million viewers each episode. FOX is billing tonight’s episode as the &uot;biggest night of the television season.&uot;

Fans of Bice and Underwood were given extra time to vote once – or dozens of times – for their favorite Idol Tuesday night. Each contestant was assigned three phone numbers for a four-hour voting window.

Last week’s three contestants (Bice, Underwood and Vonzell Solomon) garnered more than 37 million votes.

Fourth Idol

The winner will become the fourth American Idol.

The previous three Idols include Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard of Birmingham and Fantasia Barrino. All three have enjoyed success in the music industry. If Bice wins, he will be the oldest American Idol in history, and the first &uot;rocker&uot; to win the title.

Local support

Bice fans will gather at several locations throughout the area tonight to offer support.

Incahoots Restaurant in Helena is expecting large crowds tonight, as it has been the Wednesday hangout for Bice fans for several weeks.

Several thousand people are also expected to pack the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex tonight for a Bo Bice rally hosted by American Idol. The free event begins at 6 p.m