''American Idol'' voters choose a mixed-up bottom three, and Nikko's loss shows that it's better to be talked about negatively than not talked about at all
Nikko Smith, American Idol

”American Idol”: A mixed-up bottom three

After three straight weeks of women being booted from American Idol‘s final 12, one of the men finally took a fall last night. But while the vast majority of EW.com readers predicted either Scott Savol or Anthony Fedorov would get his walking papers, it was actually Nikko Smith who received the lowest number of votes (for the second time this season). Scott did indeed complete the bottom two, with Vonzell Solomon inexplicably ending up as the third lowest vote getter.

Interestingly enough, it appears contestants are better off when they’re generating negative buzz on our message boards than little buzz at all. Indeed, few of you picked Nikko’s rendition of ”One Hand, One Heart” as Tuesday night’s worst performance, but not many of you mentioned it as being particularly strong, either. Scott and Anthony, on the other hand, were widely panned, but perhaps their off-key performances sent their fan bases to the phones.

That said, a few astute readers saw the writing on the wall. ”Nikko’s backup singer was better than him, which is not a good sign,” wrote Brandon. ”Vonzell is also good, but still not coming across as unique.”

The handful of people who took time to discuss Nikko’s performance on our message boards were evenly split as to its merits. ”I thought Nikko was great last night,” wrote Yvonne. ”He looked great, and he truly, to quote the sub-par judges on the show, made the song his own. He wasn’t perfectly on pitch, but he was working it.” But a poster named Disillusioned6 heard something entirely different. ”Literally, halfway through the Nikko performance last night, I thought that my ears were going to bleed and I got up and fast-forwarded to the judges comments about him. It was just plain awful.”

As for Vonzell’s presence in the bottom three, can I get a ”Hellllll, no!” from all you Idol fans? Whether or not you think she’s good enough to win the whole thing, there’s no way you can convince me she shouldn’t have been sitting safely on the couch during the results show after her potent performance of ”People.” I know EW.com reader Steve would agree with me, as evidenced by his comment: ”Vonzell is the most improved, and had the most powerful voice; I really think she doesn’t get enough credit.”

The award for the week’s most polarizing performer, just edging out Scott and Constantine Maroulis, goes to none other than Carrie Underwood. Half of you seem to have crowned her the next Idol, including Billie, who argued that ”Carrie is the one!!!! She can sing any song, all on key.” Maxi, on the other hand, hated Carrie’s rendition of ”Hello, Young Lovers.” ”She has no sense of the loss that the character has as she sings this song,” Maxi said. ”There was no inflection or depth to her rendition: She’s a dimwit who can carry a tune. Blank as a freshly washed black-board. Ugh.”

If there’s a trend in Carrie-related posts on our message board, it seems that even her fans are having their doubts (although Simon surely isn’t). ”I love Carrie to death, but she is going to have to step out of her box and perform at the same time,” wrote Lori. ”It’s like walking and chewing gum at the same time — some people just can’t.”

And finally, a shout-out to Donna, whose post succinctly summed up my impression of Tuesday night’s tragic Broadway massacre: ”None of these contestants could hold a candle to Fantasia’s rendition of ‘Summertime.’ As Carrie said last night, most of them are learning the songs for the first time (with three or four days practice). Fantasia had never heard ‘Summertime’ either, but WAY got the feeling. None of the performances last night HAD THE FEELING.”

As for Fantasia’s ”Truth Is/Believe” mash-up, while it’s possible she had a little too much feeling, I still contend this season’s contestants could take a lesson from ‘Tasia on how to bring an audience to its feet without compromising in the vocal department.

Now it’s time for you to take to our scribble boards and do as Fantasia commands: ”Act ugly!” Did America do the right thing by booting Nikko for the second time? Will Carrie have to dig deeper to avoid elimination? And how the heck did Vonzell end up in the bottom three?

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American Idol

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

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