On ''American Idol,'' after flubbing the lyrics to her Stevie Wonder song, Melissa McGhee becomes the season's first eliminated finalist

By Michael Slezak
Updated July 03, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

”American Idol”: The first finalist goes

There are plenty of mistakes you can make during the American Idol finals without having to pay the ultimate price. For instance, you can try out a disastrous new hairstyle (like Bucky Covington). Or perform with only a smidgeon of your previously displayed charisma (like Kellie Pickler and Elliott Yamin). You can even deliver your song in a painful warble and then sass off when Simon Cowell rips your performance to shreds (à la Kevin Covais).

The one thing you cannot do, however, is mess up your lyrics, as perpetual underdog Melissa McGhee found out during Wednesday night’s Idol results show. The Florida native, who struggled with the words to Stevie Wonder’s ”Lately” on Tuesday’s performance show, repeatedly substituting ”recognition” for ”premonition,” received the lowest number of viewer votes, becoming the first season 5 finalist to get the old heave-ho.

Many EW.com readers thought she had it coming. ”Forgetting the lyrics is unprofessional,” Rooney argued on yesterday’s TV Watch message board. ”I realize that well-known singers do it all the time, but Melissa only had one song to learn.” Still, the raspy-voiced songbird handled her elimination with panache, admitting to host Ryan Seacrest that her sad fate came as no surprise.

The evening’s other two residents of the bottom three — Lisa Tucker and Ace Young — were slightly more unexpected, though as I contended yesterday, both Lisa and Ace are among the contestants who ”might be better off spending the next couple of weeks mailing head shots to their local cabaret lounges and dinner-theater directors” than actually dreaming of a major-label recording contract. Indeed, Ace’s ”Do I Do,” his third consecutive performance plagued by serious pitch problems, proved that luscious locks and male-model posing do not necessarily an Idol make. Lisa, meanwhile, who received the second-lowest number of votes, is going to have to realize that merely staying on key won’t win her a sizable fan base. Unless she can shake that lingering whiff of precocious pageant kid that she brings to every performance, she’ll be a goner before April Fool’s Day.

What do you think? Did Melissa deserve to go? Would you have substituted another contestant for either Ace or Lisa in the bottom three? And which contestant do you think is most likely to be ousted next week?

Episode Recaps


American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

  • TV Show
  • 16
  • 574
  • ABC