Who Gives A Rat's Ass


Fantasia Barrino Crowned America’s Idol
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Feisty soul singer Fantasia Barrino was voted the newest “American Idol” on Wednesday after a nationwide television search for the nation’s next pop star.
Barrino, 19, edged out rival Diana DeGarmo at the end of the hit reality TV show that saw 70,000 wannabes audition in a bid to win a recording contract and instant stardom.
Victory was sweet for Barrino, a black single mom from North Carolina who had twice narrowly escaped being booted off by viewers earlier in the season in favor of cuter but weaker singers.
The close calls, along with the early exit of two other powerful black singers, prompted cries of racism. “This has been a very unpredictable season,” record producer and “Idol” judge Randy Jackson said on Wednesday.
Producers said a total of 65 million votes were called in by telephone or text message on Tuesday after lines were kept open an extra two hours and extra numbers added to counter logjams and busy signals that have called voting procedures into question.
“Idol” host Ryan Seacrest told Access Hollywood that the two finalists were separated by a margin of just over 1 percent.
Barrino’s style, which ranged from tender to earthy, moved the three-judge panel to tears and captivated audiences.
In an emotional final on Tuesday night watched by some 25 million viewers, acerbic British judge Simon Cowell declared her the best contestant ever in the “Idol” phenomenon which has swept more than 20 countries worldwide.
DeGarmo, 16, was the youngest contestant to reach an “Idol” final. Her show-stopping voice and poise belied her youth while her bubbly friendly personality won fans alienated by Barrino’s cheeky backchat. “My lips are big but my talent is bigger,” Barrino quipped earlier in the season.
DeGarmo, a Georgia schoolgirl who started singing when she was 5 years old, suffered uncharacteristic pitch problems in the Tuesday night finale before a live audience at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater.
DeGarmo is unlikely to go home empty-handed. Both last year’s winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken secured recording contracts. Tone-deaf contestant William Hung, who won the hearts and laughter of the nation in early auditions, has already released his own album.
“American Idol” has proved Fox TV’s biggest hit and one of the hottest shows in the nation during the past three years, averaging some 25 million viewers.
But the show has been a victim of is own success, with jammed phone lines causing frustration among fans trying to cast their votes each week.
Hours before the winner was announced, Fox Broadcasting Entertainment President Gail Berman defended the integrity of the vote, which is independently audited.
“When you have a show this big, you are going to hear from some people who are not satisfied with whatever you do … We are confident that we have the most sophisticated telephone voting system that you can put in place in this country,” Berman told reporters.