By Joel Hanek
This may be the first time in "American" Idol history that the most buzzed-about contestant is someone who hasn't even been on the show yet. Andrew Garcia, an "Idol" auditioner who was featured in a preview for next week's round of episodes, is already picking up a lot of Internet buzz. Was last night's "Idol" that lackluster, or is this guy really going to be that big?
Although Mr. Garcia has an active Twitter account, a YouTube ID and a MySpace page, little is known about this young singer. Various posted photos show him posing with a child (possibly his son), but all of the music and video content that was uploaded is no longer accessible or has been replaced with a stark sign informing the visitor that the item has been "removed by user." Some fans have been left in disarray without the songs — in fact, one commenter on his MySpace page asks, "Why did you take your song off? I listened to it everyday!"
So has the eager army of "Idol" fans stumbled upon a struggling, enigmatic and charismatic singer who has already been blessed by Simon Cowell's Midas touch, or is this just a guy who is business and Internet savvy? Both possibilities are realistic, especially since this is also the first season that there has been an alleged "leaked" list of the top 24 contestants. It lends a new dynamic to the show: With this privileged knowledge out in the open, the minds behind "American Idol" are in less control of building the stories and characters of the contestants. One could argue that the power has slightly shifted towards the contestants themselves.
Either way, we won't know who this Andrew Garcia guy is until next week. But until then, we can speculate: Is it legitimate buzz or is he a great simply a savvy opportunist? Let us know in the comments!