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Melissa McGhee becomes the first 'American Idol 5' finalist eliminated

By Reality TV World staff, 03/16/2006 

American Idol voted out the first of its twelve fifth season finalists during last night's live results show, with Melissa McGhee, a 21-year-old from Tampa, FL, being eliminated from the Fox reality talent competition as a result of receiving the fewest home viewer votes.

Melissa had entertained the show's audience by singing "Lately" during Tuesday's Stevie Wonder-themed American Idol performance show, after which home viewers cast 32.5 million votes for the twelve contestants.

Although Melissa's performance included a brief moment in which she forgot some of the lyrics to the Stevie Wonder song, American Idol judges' comments had remained largely positive. "In my opinion, this was your best performance so far," judge Simon Cowell had remarked following Melissa's Tuesday night performance.

Ace Young, a 25-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, and Lisa Tucker, a 16-year-old from Anaheim, CA, had joined Melissa as this week's bottom three American Idol 5 vote-getters. After keeping the threesome in suspense through a commercial break, Idol host Ryan Seacrest revealed that Ace had finished with the third fewest votes, leaving Melissa and Lisa to learn their fate alone.

Melissa took the news of her elimination well, telling the Idol host that she expected to be the first finalist booted.

Lisa had performed "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," during Tuesday night's show, a performance that Simon had deemed one of the night's best. Ace had performed "Do I Do."

American Idol 5 finalist Melissa McGhee performs on Idol's Tuesday, March 14 performance show. See more American Idol 5 photos in our American Idol photo gallery (photo credit Ray Mickshaw/FOX.)
Given his status as one of the show's early frontrunners, Ace's inclusion in the bottom three vote-getters came as a surprise to both American Idol's judges and studio audience.

"I don't get it... I don't get it, not at all," Idol judge Paula Abdul vented after Ace -- previously positioned as the season's male sex symbol by Idol's producers -- learned of his bottom three status. "I think America has to remember you have to vote for every single person you like, whether they are #1 or they are #12."

Idol's studio audience also disagreed with the announcement, booing loudly when Ace's bottom three status was revealed. Although Idol judge Randy Jackson also admitted to being "a little shocked" about Ace's lack of home viewer support, Simon remained unfazed. "Well, the public prefers other people... that's what it's all about," he remarked.

Next week will see another of Idol's finalists eliminated, with the eleven remaining contestants once again taking to the stage during Tuesday's special two-hour 8-10PM ET/PT performance show and later learning their fate during Wednesday's 9:00-9:30PM ET/PT live results show. The performance show will have a "Music of the 50s" theme and feature a guest appearance by Barry Manilow. After the results show, Fox will premiere Unan1mous, its new "open-ended" reality series.

The eleven contestants still competing in American Idol 5's finals are:

Paris Bennett, a 17-year-old from Fayetteville, GA (Auditioned in Greensboro)

Paris began singing at the age of 4. She has performed in numerous concerts and has opened for many groups, including Bow Wow. Paris is a skilled dancer in hip-hop, jazz and modern African dance.

Kevin Covais, a 16-year-old from Levittown, NY (Auditioned in Boston)

Kevin is a junior at Island Trees High School in Levittown, NY. He has been performing since he was 10 years old and has appeared in productions such as "Guys and Dolls" and "Godspell." Kevin also is a member of the Chorale in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and the Nassau/Suffolk Jazz ensemble.

Bucky Covington, a 28-year-old from Rockingham, NC (Auditioned in Greensboro)

Bucky lives in his hometown of Rockingham, NC. At the age of 19, he picked up a guitar for the first time and soon after joined his first band. About two years ago, Bucky switched to a country/beach/rock band and realized that his talent crosses many types of music.

Chris Daughtry, a 26-year-old from McLeansville, NC (Auditioned in Denver)

Chris discovered his singing ability in algebra class. A gifted guitar player and songwriter, Chris has already recorded a CD with his band Absent Element. For the past three years, Chris has been a service advisor for a car dealership in Greensboro, NC. In 2000, Chris married his wife Deanna and became a stepfather of two.

Taylor Hicks, a 29-year-old from Birmingham, AL (Auditioned in Las Vegas)

Taylor is a blue-eyed soul singer who has played every honky-tonk imaginable. A talented writer and harmonica player, Taylor enters the competition with almost 29 years of singing experience, as he has been singing since he could crawl.

Mandisa Hundley, a 29-year-old from Antioch, TN (Auditioned in Chicago)

Born and raised in Citrus Heights, CA, Mandisa moved to Nashville to study singing at Fisk University. She has performed with such artists as Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill and Charlie Daniels.

Katharine McPhee, a 21-year-old from Sherman Oaks, CA (Auditioned in San Francisco)

Katharine was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was exposed at an early age to the joy of singing by her mother, a vocal coach. After high school, Katharine attended the prestigious Boston Conservatory for one semester and majored in musical theater.

Kellie Pickler, a 19-year-old from Albemarle, NC (Auditioned in Greensboro)

Kellie is a waitress who currently lives in Albemarle, NC, and enjoys singing, dancing and shopping for shoes. Kellie has been singing for as long as she can remember, but only began performing for crowds four years ago.

Lisa Tucker, a 16-year-old from Anaheim, CA (Auditioned in Denver)

Lisa is currently a senior at Kennedy High School. She was the original "Young Nala" in Disney's Los Angeles production of "The Lion King" and was voted by Variety as one of the "Top Ten Talents to Watch." Lisa also plays the guitar and piano and is a songwriter.

Elliott Yamin, a 27-year-old from Richmond, VA (Auditioned in Boston)

Elliott began singing at the ripe age of 5. His mother, who was a professional singer, is his inspiration and biggest fan. For Elliott, being on AMERICAN IDOL has allowed him to pursue his dream of singing professionally.

Ace Young, a 25-year-old from Los Angeles, CA (Auditioned in Denver)

Ace is the youngest of five brothers. Ace grew up in Boulder, CO, and began his singing career at age 9. He started performing at 11 in local malls and recreation centers. Ace lives in Los Angeles and works in sales and home remodeling.

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