Carly Smithson's 'Idol' post-mortem
By M&C Smallscreen Apr 25, 2008, 17:29 GMT
03/06/2008 - Carly Smithson - 2008 American Idol Top 12 Party - Arrivals - Astra West, Pacific Design Center - West Hollywood, CA, USA © Tina Gill / PR Photos
Carly Smithson's take on American Idol's seventh season has become a boy's popularity contest. "Women vote for this show. It's obvious, and they vote for the boys," Smithson told online journalists during a Thursday conference call.
"The boys are adorable. I definitely feel like the girls had more of a struggle this year with trying to get the popularity vote. I think the boys are definitely charming the females a lot. I think it was definitely a bit of a struggle for the ladies."
The 24-year-old Irish girl, now a native of San Diego, was eliminated from Idol's seventh season after "over 38 million" home viewer votes were dialed in.
"Everybody keeps asking me why I'm not devastated and crying for being eliminated," Smithson said. "I'm free to make a record, start writing and all that kind of stuff -- be with my husband and hang out in the real world. The Idol bubble is kind of weird."
"I'm actually not that sad to be leaving," she said. "I enjoyed every minute thoroughly, but we're back in two weeks to start preparing for the tour and the finale.
I think anywhere after Top 10 is just a bonus. I think I made enough of an impact to reach a good fan base and now I just get to be me without a theme night and make a really cool record. I'm excited."
Smithson broached her bad press regarding her early recording contract early on in the competition.
"I think that I kind of started out on the show with some bad press. I don't think it really helped me that much," she explained. "I think early on people accumulate their fan base, and every week I gave as good as I could. I enjoyed every moment on the show. I really did. Everything was just amazing -- the response that I had."
Her LP, "Ultimate High" was released by Vivendi Universal SA's MCA Records which reportedly spent two years and around $2.2 million producing and promoting it, the album was released under Smithson's maiden name of Carly Hennessy and was a sales disaster.
"I'm very proud of the first record that I made, but at the same time, I was 15. How experienced with life are you at 15 years of age?" Smithson asked reporters. "I wrote like four songs on that record and I really enjoyed myself. I did learn a lot. But by the time 'Beautiful You' -- one of the last tracks -- was written, it was almost written just as the record went out. It was just over. It went to stores; it never got promoted; and I ended up back in Ireland just in a weird situation."
"I'm not even sure I had a first chance," she told reporters. "I did get signed before, but it just never really happened. It went to stores but it was never promoted. It just sort of crashed beneath my feet. The record label imploded. I learned a lot from my first experience and I understand [Idol] was a second experience, but I feel like it was my first chance. I like to see it in a fresh mind. I like to not dwell on things that happened before and I just like to see this as the first real experience that I really had."
Carly talked about her hot and cold relationship with Simon.
"It's like he set this high bar for me straight away, I was trying to beat myself every week to be better and better and better. I felt that I did a great job. I gave it everything I had and I was satisfied for myself -- with my performances. I guess Simon just had a different idea in his mind. I'm not sure he really wanted me to be who I am. I don't think they liked the whole pop-rock idea that I have about myself. I can't please everybody. He's only one person."
Carly noted the show gave her a great intro to a whole new audience.
"People didn't know about me before. They never really heard of the record. It just never happened," she said. "So I feel like this time, it was just so big and it was just on a different level and a different experience. I just feel like it was such a big gift."