American Idol, So Long to the Stripper

When the news broke a couple of weeks ago that American Idol contestant David Hernandez once had a job at a strip club in Phoenix, and that he regularly performed lap dances for the male clientele, and that he raked in the bucks because he had a "look" that everyone liked, and that he might have worked in other clubs too... Idol producers nonchalantly told us they didn't care, the past was the past, and David would not be cut from the competition.

Perhaps Idol viewers didn't see it that way. After a performance Tuesday night that was as karaoke-esque as we've seen all season, David became the first of the top 12 to say "ta-ta."

Ex-Stripper Dismissed from American Idol Photo Gallery: American Idol's Top 12

Was it his embarrassing, if not unseemly, previous occupation that earned him the lowest number of votes this week? Or his atrocious performance? We'll never know for sure.

It's kind of too bad if you ask me. It's true that I put David in my bottom three this week after his uber-cheesy rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There." But before Tuesday, I thought

David was one of the odd-on favorites in the competition. I doubt he would have won it all, but I certainly didn't think he'd be the first to go home. And after he sang, I thought viewers might forgive him a lousy performance and send Kristy Lee Cook packing (who really was the worst of the bunch Tuesday night). Which is why I think the whole StripperGate thing might have hurt him more than anyone suspected.

Take heed Carly Smithson. Idol fans may not be as forgiving of a scandalous past as you think. Carly, if you haven't heard (and if you haven't you've been living in a cave), is the Idol-ite who had a record deal a few years ago. It didn't pan out, but a lot of folks have been crying foul that Carly shouldn't be in the competition because of her pseudo-professional background. Just like with David Hernandez, Idol producers (and the judges too) pooh-poohed the public outcry and said there was nothing prohibiting Carly from taking part. Just to be clear, I don't think it's a big deal either. But I didn't think David H's stripping past was anything to write home about either. And Idol voters apparently felt differently.

I don't think it's the scandals per-se that people don't like. It's the deception. David never said anything about being a stripper... not on his Idol page, not when asked what jobs he used to have, and not when asked his most embarrassing moment. Be up front about it and I think people are willing to forgive and/or overlook. Act like you're hiding something, and people will assume it's really bad.

Carly has come somewhat clean about her previous deal. But only after there was a lot of hue and cry. It remains to be seen if people are still holding a grudge, or whether they've moved on.

So the stripper says farewell. With David gone, it's still anyone's competition. David Archuleta, the leading warbler among the lads, had a pretty big stumble this week when he forgot the lyrics to "We Can Work It Out." David Cook and Chikezie Eze both had stellar performances and promise to give the 17-year-old Archuleta a run for his money.

On the girls' side, I think Kristy Lee Cook isn't long for this world. She should have left this week. Ramiele better step up her game next week or she could be in serious

trouble too. Meanwhile Brooke White, Amanda Overmyer and Carly are the gals to keep an eye on.

Before I go, can I just rant a little about Wednesday's elimination show?

First of all, why is this show an hour? I know I've asked this question before, but at least when you had four Idol-ites to get rid of, the time passed more quickly. It is simply

ridiculous how much they drag this out. I think the worst time-filler is making all three contestants with the lowest votes re-sing their songs. Like we really want to hear the three

worst songs over again.

Second of all, could there have been any more blatant plugs for Horton Hears a Who? I lost count after Jim Carrey's umpteenth unwanted appearance on the show. (Is it

just me, or does he look old?) Just because of that, I refuse to see the movie. They're not getting my 10 bucks. That'll show FOX I bet.

Third of all, we saw the first official Ford music video commercial. Another video destined for the home collection of at least 12 people.

Lastly, the viewer calls. Oh. My. Word! Was anyone screening these calls? It didn't look like it. We heard viewers ask Jason Castro, "If you could be like any one of the judges, which one would it be?" I've heard better questions on The Dating Game. Jason said he'd want to be like Paula. Oh Jason. You poor, poor lost soul. Don't you know there are millions of people in America trying not to be like Paula? They attend meetings in church basements and only use their first name.

Next week, the top 11 battle it out. I'll be watching.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.

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