American Idol 7: Carly Smithson Elimination Interview
Carly Smithson was never able to put it all together.  The Irish, tattooed singer was highly-touted coming into the season, thanks to a failed first album and conspiracy theories about American Idol bringing in ringers.  She advanced to the Top 24, then the Top 12, and was mostly deserving of that advancement.  Her voice is a big one, but Carly never seemed to live up to her perceived potential. She did end up giving America a handful of good performances, and acquired a large fan base, big enough to keep her around until the final 6 on this season's American Idol.  She was eliminated last night, very unexpectedly, but seemed OK with her dismissal.  Carly likely realized that she wasn't going to win the whole competition anyways.  Today, Carly held a conference call with the media about her time on American Idol, and we were there.  She was refreshingly candid and upbeat.  These are the highlights. 

Carly knows that at that stage, in the Top 6, no one was feeling safe.  Everyone thought they could be going home.  Mostly, she's thankful for the whole opportunity to begin her career.  She says that she's not upset at all about leaving – she'll be back in two weeks to start preparing for the tour.  She sees it as a little break – once you get to the top ten, you're playing with house money.  She thinks that the judges set the standard so high for her, and that the judges were harsher towards her than others.

Meeting Mariah Carey was big for her, and she loved how laid back Mariah was and it taught her how to act as someone in the business.  She was a waitress for a few years starting in 2003 - she never told anyone that she was a singer.  She worked at the same restaurant in Atlanta where Michael Johns used to perform.  For New Year's, they needed an act, and that's when Carly got back into singing.

She's really happy to be out of the Idol bubble - not winning means she can get away from the binding themes, and make a record that she really wants to make. Next week, she was planning on sing “Sweet Caroline” for Neil Diamond week.  She was going to slow it down and do a ballad version.  Man, I hope that doesn't mean that we won't be hearing that song. 

She agrees with Randy's sentiment last night that Idol is a popularity contest at this point.  She thinks that she came in with some bad press, and that in the beginning of the season when the singers are accumulating their fan bases she suffered a little bit.  She didn't consider Broadway week to be all that difficult – Lloyd Webber's song book is vast enough to accommodate everyone.  She thought that Mariah week was more difficult. 

Carly discusses the two times she auditioned – she watched her season 5 audition and thought it was exactly the same as her season 7 audition.  She thought Simon was placing her to a higher standard and he really didn't want her to be the pop-rock singer that she sees herself as.  Interesting. 

She has a ton of great things to say about Lord Webber – he spent a lot of time with every singer and legitimately wanted them do well.

In regards to the first album she made she doesn't think that American Idol was her second chance, per se.  That first record crashed and burned – the record company imploded, and the album received no press.  It was basically dumped. 

Overall, she's very happy to be where she is.  She is excited to get away from doing covers.  She has a back log of music written and she can't wait to get into the studio.  Listening to her speak, I like her a lot more than I did beforehand.  She's a very down to earth, positive and honest person. 

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)