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'American Idol' finalist Josh Gracin recalled to Marine duty, leaves live tour


By Wade Paulsen, 07/02/2003 

If music is in Joshua Gracin's future, Uncle Sam wants to reclaim his present. E! Online reports that Gracin, 22, the fourth-place finisher on Fox's American Idol this spring despite being on active duty in the U.S. Marines, has been recalled to his unit and will have to leave the upcoming live tour of Idol finalists.

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A Marines spokesperson said that Gracin, a lance corporal in the 1st Force Service Support Group, was "unable to complete his required training in the allotted time" and so would have to return to his unit, despite initial assurances from the Corps that Gracin would be able to participate in the tour. "The schedule was too demanding for him to be a parttime American Idol and still be a fulltime Marine," concluded the spokesperson.

Interestingly, the producers of Idol have decided not to invite 12th-place finisher Vanessa Olivarez to replace country-pop crooner Josh on the tour. Thus, the tour will only include 9 of the 12 finalists, since Corey Clark also will not participate due to his failure to reveal his felony arrest (which, had he revealed it, might have made him ineligible to participate in the finals at all, as was the case with fellow semifinalist Jaered Andrews). Still participating, though, are Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Kimberly Locke, Trenyce, Carmen Rasmusen, Kimberly Caldwell, Rickey Smith, Julia DeMato and Charles Grigsby.

Bias alert: in a truly nasty dig at Josh, the author of the E! Online article included the following paragraph in the story:

The Marines denied Gracin was the reason the 1st Force Service Support Group remained in Southern California. The Marines did not deny Gracin was a tool.

We hesitate to praise Josh's singing, since his vocal styling was too limited to justify his fourth-place finish on a show focused on pop, not country. Thus, we don't object to the writer's comment that Josh was kept home so he "could butcher 'Bad Blood' on Idol." Nevertheless, we think calling him a "tool" (even with regard to his role in helping Marine recruiting) goes beyond the bounds of reasonable sarcasm under the circumstances.

We hope that Josh has indeed helped people rethink what type of people become servicemen or servicewomen on active duty for their country, and we wish him good luck both during the remainder of his service and in his post-Marine career.

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