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Why Carrie Will Win

Mercifully this is the last week when I'll have to mention American Idol. I only watch it in a pathetic attempt to connect with mainstream American culture. After this, I'm back on the porch with my science magazines, my history books and my futile dreams of a weedless yard.

Bo Bice had a stronger night than Carrie Underwood, though both got mired in melodrama, this strange sickness that infects a certain kind of pop music, requiring prolonged screeching notes and agonized expressions. You don't know if you're watching a singing contest or someone being tortured.

Bo seems to have more talent, performing presence and range as a singer, but Carrie will win. Carrie's so darn cute! Bo looks like a hippie freak, let's face it. Looks like someone you'd see drinking malt liquor out of paper sack. He's a "Southern rocker," a category of performer that is virtually a synonym for "now in rehab." He's old, he's already a professional, while Carrie is the amateur, the rookie, the underdog, the cutie-pie, the perfect blonde. She's a plastic figurine inside a kids meal at McDonald's. Of COURSE she'll win. And if she doesn't, the TypePad blogging tool will allow me to delete this item as though it never happened!

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 25, 2005; 8:50 AM ET
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speaking of pop-culture, have you seen the new star wars? And, say, wasn't it you who predicted that it would have a dismally disappointing opening weekend at the box office?

Just a thought.

Posted by: lizlips | May 25, 2005 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Just thinking out loud here, but maybe Joel was totally freaking KIDDING about that.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 25, 2005 11:54 AM | Report abuse

A "hippie freak", huh? My, how daring of you. I wonder if you'd make this type of cunning observation in the presence of your target. Somehow (based on your dweeb photo) I doubt it. Perhaps you're still scarred from high school. Or, maybe this entry was some attempt to mask your homosexual tendencies?? Think about it. Been having Bo Bice dreams lately??

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2005 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Bo is going to win, and I'll explain this one very sharply:

He's a white male. It's the white guy's turn to win, followed by next year's winner being either an Asain woman, or a gay guy, or perhaps a gay Asain woman(to cover all bases). Although, it won't be said (s)he's gay, but everyone will know(maybe even except for (s)him..oOOOooo) Ok, now I'm writing script. Honestly, I have never bought the "America is voting the winner" thing. If that was the case for TV, I'd have voted to Major Burns to die in the 'copter crash, not Col. Blake.

Posted by: Tievy Time Out | May 25, 2005 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Dude...Bo's gonna win it all man....I know everyone in DC HATES Carrie...been wanting to see her thrown off for too long now...Bo's gonna win it!

Posted by: John | May 25, 2005 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Most speculation seems to be that Bo is going to win based on how the judges have been positioning him as being percieved as better over the last few weeks when it became obvious that these two would be the finalists.
As for using the DC hates Carrie argument, that doesn't work, most of these votes come from rubes in the hinterlands and suburbs, plus country music is more popular than rock.
The only thing I see for Carrie is that she has a very solid base that has not allowed her to even be in the bottom once, while Bo has already been there before.

Posted by: Chris | May 25, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Responding to Will: True, it is an amazingly dweeby photo. Worse is how Thompson draws me in the magazine, makes me look fat, too. Fat and dweeby.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 25, 2005 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but at least you don't look snaggle-toothed.

Posted by: Achenfan | May 25, 2005 1:10 PM | Report abuse

There is an online campaign to get all Greeks to vote for her. She's a member of an NPC sorority and this is driving her votes...LORDIE!

Posted by: ChickieBaby | May 25, 2005 1:24 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Carrie is cute obviously. Now I have a gut feeling that Bo would win. If that is true, obviously American Idol will definitely become a stereotyped TV show after all. Think about this, first year, a white chick; second year, a black large man, third year, a chicken hopping dance by a black lady, at last, we get a white man.

Next year, it'll be either chinese or spanish singer winning the prize.

Posted by: Andrew | May 25, 2005 1:26 PM | Report abuse


the real winner is Fox T.V. and the omniscient, ravenous corporate T-Rex known as The American Idol Franchise.

Posted by: Rob | May 25, 2005 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Carrie is a trophy and she can sing, but she has the personality of a mannequin. Bo, however, has it all: talent, looks, and stage presence. And he's from a Red State.

Posted by: Peaches | May 25, 2005 1:33 PM | Report abuse

After watching last nights show it really
made me miss Fantasia. I think she will have the longest staying power because she has talent. The rest all sound like mediocre cover artist or at best very good karoke singers.

Posted by: Molly | May 25, 2005 1:35 PM | Report abuse

What is this old business about?

Are only teenagers allowed to be on TV now?

Posted by: Ack! | May 25, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Do you think people are finding their way to this blog by Googling "American Idol," having never heard of Achenblog, or even -- as difficult as that is to comprehend -- of Achenbach?

Posted by: Achenfan | May 25, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

On a positive note (is that allowed?), couldn't it be a good thing to have the next generation exposed to songs like "Vehicle" and "Whippin' Post" rather than the usual pop dreck Idol usually serves up. Idol needs Bo more than Bo needs Idol. Carrie would just disappear into a vast wasteland of mediocre country singers. Or is that redundant (positivity over!)?

Posted by: Jimi | May 25, 2005 2:09 PM | Report abuse

How gracious of you to make an effort to connect to mainstream America. What pretentious snob you are.

Posted by: DC | May 25, 2005 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps he is being quite the opposite of a snob; he sees mainstream America as superior to himself, and his lack of connection to it as a failure on his part.

Posted by: Tom fan | May 25, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey maybe I'm the only one who heard it last night because no news, media organization, or even the judges for that matter pointed out Bo's sudden silence in the last song. He either lost his breathe or forgot the words. At least Carrie got it all right and she doesnt even have her own studio.

Posted by: Joseph | May 25, 2005 2:21 PM | Report abuse

...and on to the future with the back porch science magazine reading scenario.

Thinking about global pandemics this morning after a news item on bird flu, and the fact that pandemics have a place in the history of mankind, in our development and the survival of our species, (insert deep breath)are we going to commit an error that will be fatal to our species, if we stop this thing?

Posted by: Alberta | May 25, 2005 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh jeez. It's possible to disklike or be unfamiliar with something without thinking yourself either above or below it. Way to lose the moral high ground through assumptions about strangers.

Posted by: Northwest | May 25, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think of myself as an UNpretentious snob. You know what I mean? I'm definitely a snob about a lot of stuff (i am ABOVE jug wine, almost), but I just can't pull of the "pretentious" part, I just don't have the clothes, hair, diction, cultural background, etc. I mean I'm just too Gainesville. But maybe if I hang out more in places like Georgetown I can learn to be pretentious. Give me time.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 25, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

As for Alberta's comment: Are you saying that if we DONT have a bird flu pandemic, we could be making an ecological mistake with global consequences? I think it may be too late to "let nature take its course" and try to pick up the pieces on the other side. I say hit that bird flu with everything we've got, including DDT, malathion, napalm, Pepto-Bismol,whatever.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 25, 2005 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Heh. Georgetown, indeed. Sometimes I drive through there in my P.O.S. '95 Ford Escort and watch the almighty locals cringe in my general direction.

Posted by: juliette | May 25, 2005 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The Gainesville comment got me thinking about the class column again. As humor, it works, but really you are by definition the same class as your daughters and your wife, since they live with you and the nuclear family is an economic unit. The real class differences I guess are between you and your parents, or other family members back in Gainesville. Any insights there?

Posted by: just thinkin | May 25, 2005 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Are we still talking about American Idol?

Posted by: Joseph | May 25, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

That made me so sad when Colonel Blake died in the crash. That's classic tv there. Much better than this idol stuff everyone keeps talking about.

Posted by: Memories.. | May 25, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

yes, yes we are. and on that note, mmmm... delicious bo.

Posted by: juliette | May 25, 2005 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the next reality show, American Midol -- it'll be 60 minutes of Paula Abdul whining about how her life sucks or something equally irrelevant.

And with that said, I don't care which one, Bo or Carrie, wins -- they're both talented in their own, different ways, and both will be successful when their albums are released later this year.

Posted by: Zippy | May 25, 2005 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I did notice that all Carrie's songs were pretty much the same bland country I'm-so-sad-praise-god-'merika-n'mama kind of way. At least Bo mixed it up a little with his choices of songs.

Posted by: Mara | May 25, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse


I need to hang out in Gainesville more to learn how to be more pretentious, myself.

Nothing like being patronized by both UF undergrads and the staff of the drag strip down there to give me some perspective on my particular place in the universe.


Posted by: bc | May 25, 2005 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Bo will/should win. One, he's more talented, two like the other person said, a white male has yet to win. It's about pleasing the crowd. As a black woman, I will straight up say that another black person would not have been allowed to win, because white people, who make up the majority of AI's viewing audience would be very upset about that. Now they can actually be happy either way, regardless of the outcome.

Posted by: Deb | May 25, 2005 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Another thing nobody mentioned...Ryan said at the beginning that there would be two original songs by each singer, and one of his/her past favorites from earlier in the competition. But from what Ryan and the judges seemed to say during the show, it appeared that there was only one original song by either of them, Bo's first one. ORIGINAL SONG! That in and of itself is pretty revolutionary. I'm not surprised that Randy didn't like it. Randy did a chat on a while back, and he actually took a question of mine. I was commenting that I really enjoyed (at that time--I didn't watch this season) Nashville Star better than AI because the contestants actually played instruments (for the most part) and some even did original songs, and Randy replied that he didn't think that originality would fit in the AI format.

Go Bo!

Posted by: H | May 25, 2005 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Yep -- definitely Googlers.

Posted by: Achenfan | May 25, 2005 4:14 PM | Report abuse


First off, I think you're a bit of a groveling snob - saying you watch American Idol but just because you want to keep up with pop culture?!!! Please. You watch the show because just like the rest of us pop-culture troglodytes, you like it. You are teeming with opinions on it - so you must like it.

I don't think it's a crime. It's just the time we live in. Everything about American Idol - from the Tabloid-rich 'bts' stories to the ever growing more pleasant Simon Cowell - American can't help but watch. Like Cramer - American Idol is that lothesome beast, yet we cannot look away... So tout your prowess about AI being beneath you - but know I don't buy a word of it.

Regarding who'll win, I'll be disappointed if Carrie takes the vote, but it won't surprise me. Bo Bice is so by far the better performer and singer that even if he doesn't win the vote, I predict, like Clay Aiken, he'll outsell Carrie Underwood. First off, he sings consistently on key - he takes surprising risks, and has proven he can adapt to a number of styles. As for his hippie tendencies, what of it? The baby boomers find it nostalgic - and quite a number of them are still out on the streets, humming Pete Seeger tunes, so get off your high horse.

You annoy me.

Posted by: Kelp | May 25, 2005 4:44 PM | Report abuse

You are a perfect representative of the Washington Post. Keep up the good work! Maybe you could write me a column explaining the difference between uni-polar and bi-polar stepper motors. That would be interesting. And what about those darned hybrids? It seems like there is always some darned hybrid mucking up the works, eh?

Posted by: Wallow the Rodent | May 25, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I have never watched this show. I don't think I'm ever home when it's on. Nonetheless, if I did watch, and I did vote, I don't think I'd base the votes on who's black and who's white and who's male, female, whatever. If I'm gonna have to hear the winner singing the same song over and over and over in bars, on the radio, whatever, I want it to be as tolerable as possible. Which means the person with the best (or least bad) voice should win.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 25, 2005 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I will now hold you personally responsible for the result of AI! You've put in the fix!

If Bo does not win, I'll come to your blog everyday and type comments about how inane your writing is no matter what the subject. You are going to be hearing from me about how unfunny you are and how you very offensive and a symbol of all that is wrong in modern society.

So there, prepare to be bothered!

Posted by: DC Fan | May 25, 2005 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I have a question for Joel.

Do some of the people who post here worry you? I mean, they worry me. If you read their above posts, Kelp and Wallow the Rodent are clearly out of their minds. And in very different ways. And -- here's where you come in -- you have to wonder, these are the people reading my stuff? And I ask myself, these are the people reading the stuff I like to read? Who in the hell are they?

Does that cross your mind? Thanks.

Posted by: Stunned | May 25, 2005 5:56 PM | Report abuse

It appears you were right about Carrie. I am glad that she won. I keep wondering what is the big deal about Bo Bice in the first place. Yes, he's talented, but that's about it. At least with Carrie they'll be able to market her well and she can definitely sing. Which will make Nashville happy and proud to have a new rookie in the mist.

Posted by: Anon | May 25, 2005 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Good call A-man!

I was in the Bo camp and disappointed with the outcome. First Bush, then Carrie - my brown bag of bottle-rockets has lied dormant for too many months. I'll just have to wait until Bastille Day. "let the blood of our enemies soak into our crop field furrows." Translation from the French is ponderous but La Marsaillaise's lyrical content seems to have sufficient bloodlust to qualify as patently American.

The sanctimony of otherwise trepidatious assertions is drowning the good horse sense. To those who voice gripes before fostering them, read between the lines and buy a DVORAK clavier.

Don't hate on Joel - he will find a wormhole in some distant galaxy and travel to your porch to personally deliver you the Washington Post on your birthday.

Posted by: peter | May 25, 2005 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Always being right is actually a terrible burden.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 26, 2005 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. My predictions in the Achenblog comments a few weeks ago about Bice singing for Lynyrd Skynyrd hit earlier than I thought.

I didn't have to be a genius to see that one coming, though.


Posted by: bc | May 26, 2005 8:56 AM | Report abuse

So, Stunned: You're telling us you've never heard of unipolar and bipolar stepper motors? (Just kidding! [joke tag]) Personally, I'd love it if Joel would address Supersymmetric Flipped SU(5) Grand Unified Field Theory. Perhaps that would be a good candidate for the next Dumb Tom Question.

Posted by: Tom fan | May 26, 2005 10:10 AM | Report abuse

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