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Ousted 'American Idol' finalist Phil Stacey handicaps the Top 4 finalists


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/04/2007 

Who better to handicap the four remaining finalists on American Idol's sixth season than somebody that's spent almost every waking moment of the last three months in their presence?

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Recently ousted finalist Phil Stacey said Idol's sixth season Top 4 -- Melinda Doolittle, Lakisha Jones, Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis -- all have different reasons why they deserve America's votes.

"I think that the four people that are left have individual strengths that set them each apart," Stacey told reporters during a Thursday conference call.  "I think Blake is most likely to be the most original contestant ever on American Idol.  He just blew it out this week with Bon Jovi.  It was incredible.  Melinda is possibly the greatest singer I've ever heard on the show.  Lakisha sings with so much passion, that it's hard to listen to her and not get chills.  And Jordin has got a range that lasts for days, and her upper notes just have so much power behind them.  Honestly, I think it's anybody's ball game at this point.  I'm going to be really looking forward to seeing how it goes from here on out."

With all the different choices Idol finalists are faced with on a weekly basis -- from song choice and musical arrangements to wardrobe -- Stacey said the best decision he made during his run was something that he hopes was visible in each of his performances.

"I think my best decision was to go into it with a positive outlook and be happy, and understand how blessed I was to be there to begin with," he said.  "I think that a lot of people started liking me more as a person when they saw that I was truly grateful just to be there because being in the bottom three several weeks in a row, could be considered hard on a person.  But my outlook was that 103,000 people auditioned for this, and I was so blessed to be there, that anytime that I got cut, I was just fortunate to be there."

One of the reasons Stacey was able to focus on his demeanor during the competition is because he never really worried about what to do with his hair.

"I think it worked for me because it was unique," said Stacey, who is bald and sometimes sported a hat during his performances.  "It wasn't something that anybody else had this particular season.  If I was on last year and it was between me and [Idol 5 finalist] Chris Daughtry being the bald guy, I don't know that it would have gone so well for me.  But it worked for me this year because nobody else shaved their heads."

Having made it as far as he did in the competition, Stacey said "inevitably" his Idol journey would have come to an end had he stuck around any longer, so he looked at the positive aspects of his elimination because he knows what's waiting for him at home.

"I wanted to win, but there is a taste of goodness in the midst of this.  I've had a good past few weeks, so I was able to go out on a high note," he said. "I'm excited about spending more time with my family.  I miss my [two daughters] really bad."

As for what advice he would give to future Idol hopefuls, Stacey suggested, "Go out there and sing songs that you can have fun with, and just be yourself."  He definitely seemed to take some of his own advice of having fun during his farewell performance of Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" on Wednesday night's live results show, as he mingled with the crowd and belted out lyrics near the judges' table.

"As I began to sing my song, I just felt this overwhelming sense of love," said Stacey.  "I felt love for the people that supported me and from the people who supported me.  A lot of that has come from Oklahoma.  It's home sweet home to us.  As you know, we have a lot of family that lives there.  It's meant the world to me.  I can't wait to come back home and hug as many necks as I possibly can for all of their support.  I know how tough it is to vote, especially for two hours, and a lot of people did.  So it meant the world to me."


(Photo credit Fox)


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