Why no ‘Idol’ updates in the paper?

Emily Baldwin's picture

A few people have asked me why there hasn’t been an article in The Citizen about the 17-year-old Fayetteville resident and “American Idol” contestant Paris Bennett.

Several recent comments on TheCitizen.com have stated that this newspaper has given too much attention to Bennett, citing my online blog, “Idol Watch,” which is updated each Tuesday after the week’s performance show and appears on the site’s home page.

For readers who haven’t been swept into the national “American Idol” craze, Bennett is one of seven remaining contests on the hit show which features singers vying to become America’s next singing sensation. Thousands auditioned for judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson and 24 were selected to compete.

Once in the top 24, contestants perform each Tuesday night on live television and audiences can vote for their favorites using a toll-free number or by text messaging from their Cingular Wireless cell phone.

Approximately 35 million votes are cast each Tuesday night. Each Wednesday the contestant with the lowest number of votes is booted from the show. The last contestant standing will receive a recording contract as well as the title American Idol.

Bennett moved to Fayetteville to finish up her high school career at Starr’s Mill High School. Her grandmother is the Grammy Award-winning singer Ann Nesby, a resident of Fayetteville and former lead singer of the 30-piece gospel choir Sounds of Blackness.

After moving to Fayetteville and beginning school at Starr’s Mill, Bennett traveled to Greensboro, N.C., to audition for the fifth season of the popular FOX reality show. Through a tough, multi-round audition process, including the grueling “Hollywood Week,” Bennett did what thousands of other singing hopefuls were unable to do: she made it into the top 24 and then into the top 12.

Bennett started off her live performance shows with a spirited rendition of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Next on her list was “Wind Beneath My Wings” followed by Gloria Estefan’s “Conga.”

Then came the beginning of theme nights on “American Idol” with Bennett performing Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do.” She revisited her Hollywood Week audition during 1950’s night when she performed Peggy Lee’s 1958 classic “Fever,” which she had previously sung for the judges a cappella.

Up next was Millennium night, featuring songs from 2000 and beyond. Bennett worked it out with Beyonce Knowles’ song “Work It Out.” She showed audiences that she is more than just a talented singer, she can dance too.

On country night, Bennett performed the LeAnn Rimes song, “How Do I Live,” and last week’s show featured songs from rock band Queen. Bennett closed out the show with what was arguably the best performance of the night, singing “The Show Must Go On.”

Bennett, along with the other remaining contestants, performed a song from Rod Stewart’s multi-disc “American Songbook” series after this paper went to press last night. Tonight one more “Idol” contender will be sent packing when the results show airs on FOX at 8:30 p.m.

OK, now that “American Idol” viewers and non-viewers alike are updated on the situation, back to the question at hand. What’s the deal with The Citizen’s coverage of “American Idol” and Paris Bennett? Why don’t we have a weekly recap in the printed edition of the paper along with our online updates?

Unfortunately with the schedule of “American Idol” and the schedule of the newspaper, it makes it impossible for us to have relevant updates and articles on Bennett in the print edition.

The performance show airs on Tuesday night, after this paper has already gone to press for the Wednesday edition. By the time our Friday edition, which doesn’t circulate in Fayetteville, comes out, the information is several days old and has already been on our Web site since Tuesday night.

If we wait until the following Wednesday edition to run a recap, not only is the news over a week old, but she will have performed the previous night with no mention of her performance (and it’s back to the deadline problem). Thus the dilemma.

There are many major media outlets currently trying to snag an interview with our local contestant and apparently FOX publicists don’t have me at the top of their priority list for an interview.

Surprising? No. Am I still trying to arrange an interview? Absolutely. And when I do manage to get that interview, we will run an article in the print edition of The Citizen.

For now, Fayette residents can check TheCitizen.com for recaps under our “Idol Watch” section on the home page.

If you’re looking for a place to gather with other Idol fans to watch the action go down, Mike & C’s Family Sports Grill in Fayetteville hosts a weekly Tuesday night viewing party. Cheer on all of your favorite contestants alongside Bennett’s friends, family and neighbors.

E-mail The Citizen your pictures and stories of Paris Bennett or how you or your business are showing support for Fayetteville’s newest star at Names&Faces@TheCitizen.com. Or you can also log onto TheCitizen.com and post your own stories in a blog or as a Citizen journalist.

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