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Star Search, the Finals: The Best Performers Win It Allby Peggy Keller -- 02/07/2003
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The Star Search finals aired and there were no major upsets (well, maybe one), though it looks like when Star Search returns, we may have an entirely new set of judges. Gosh, no more Naomi Judd to make incomprehensible remarks – what will we do? Anyway, America got it right this time, giving the better performers the winner’s crown.
In Junior Singer category, Tiffany Evans sang “And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going” and received a rousing standing ovation and a set of perfect scores from all the judges. Naomi said that Tiffany reminded her of a little Sammy Davis Jr., and guest host Jessica Simpson was in tears over her performance. Her 20 stars from the judges were not enough to intimidate Lisa Tucker, who came out and sang Whitney Houston's “I Have Nothing” with tremendous emotion and excellent stage presence. Unfortunately, she followed such a perfect act in Tiffany that she was only able to score 16 stars from the judges, each giving her four.
After America voted and gave Lisa 15 stars to Tiffany’s 18, Tiffany won with a total of 38 to 31.
In the Supermodel category, which will come back when the second round of Star Search comes back later this month – maybe they’ll explain to the judges how to judge them by that time – Porshla Coleman goes up against Candace Campfield. Porshla’s background piece tells a sad sob story about how tough it is for her parents back home in Mississippi. Her father works two jobs and is in trouble with one of them. Porshla cries a little bit and perhaps that was enough to sway the judges who gave her great marks. Carol Leifer and Jessica Simpson give Porshla 5 stars each while Ben and Naomi give her 4 a piece for a judges’ total of 17.
Candace Campfield comes out next. Naomi points out to everyone that her boobs are real, and gives her 4 stars. Ben loves Candace's wholesome girl-next-door-meets-sexy-vixen look and gives her a perfect score. Jessica and Carol each give Candace 4 stars, so her total of 15 stars is two shy of Porchla's 17. Ed McMahon, who is apparently not in a cryogenic lab in Carson's basement after all, joins Arsenio onstage to ask for the final digits to see who would win the Wilhelmina Modeling Contract and one hundred grand in cash. Porschla has 35 stars total, which is enough to put her over the top of Candace's 32 stars.
In the Comedian category, funny Loni Love comes out and rehashes a few of her older jokes, which are only lukewarm the second time around. Loni likes to play stupid and the act is wearing thin. Her effort is much weaker than we have previously seen her. The judges score her with no comment, Jessica and Naomi giving five stars and Ben and Carol giving four, for a total of 18 stars. You have to wonder if some of those high votes were driven from past performances rather than specifically based on this one.
Her competition is John Roy, who has much better material. He is an incredibly sharp writer and completely deserves to win, though most observers predicted going into this that Loni would take the prize. Some of the jokes are not laugh-out-loud funny, but nearly all of them are insightful and clever. The judges tie him with Loni, this time with Ben and Naomi giving him 4 stars each and Jessica and Carol giving him 5.
The American net surfers vote and push John Roy over the top by one small vote. However, Loni need not worry about fading away. Dwayne Perkins, a loser last week, was on Comedy Central this week on CC's comedy showcase and went over very well with the audience. John walks away not only with a hundred thousand clams, but a guest spot on a CBS show and a development deal.
In the final category of the night, Spencer Day, lounge singer extraordinaire, comes out and plays a nice version of “What a Wonderful Day,” but just doesn't have that extra oomph to push him over the top. He is scored 4s across the board for a judges’ total of sixteen stars. Jake Simpson comes out and once again blows everyone away with Stevie Wonder's “Signed Sealed Delivered.” One thing obvious about Jake is that he is at least as good as any singer currently getting airplay and has fantastic stage presence. He is also very cute. There is no reason why this man should not be famous and a perfect example of why American Idol should reconsider their age limit rule. Jake gets another perfect score from the judges. By the time America is done voting, the Sony record contract and one hundred thousand dollars go to Jake, whose 37 stars put him way above Spencer's 30.
Star Search returns later this month on CBS.
Peggy Keller is Mother and Behavior Therapist to her two autistic sons and teenage daughter. Click here to e-mail her.
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