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Tampa 'Idol' singer advances

Published March 3, 2006

Tampa's Melissa McGhee has reached the most nerve-racking round of American Idol: If she lasts one more week, she'll have one of the coveted spots in the final 12.

She sang Why Haven't I Heard From You by Reba McEntire when the women performed Tuesday, and though judge Simon Cowell said she had not yet made a connection with the audience, McGhee received enough viewer votes to advance to the final 16 contestants Thursday.

Two more women were eliminated. Brenna Gethers, 25, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., whose obnoxiousness had worn thin and who fell flat with Donna Summer's Last Dance, received the lowest number of votes among the final 10 women. Also out was Heather Cox, 22, of Jonesville, N.C., who unadvisedly took on Mariah Carey's Hero.

Two more men were sent home as well. David Radford, 17, of Crystal Lake, Ill., the latest in an Idol line of teenage Frank Sinatra wanna-bes, did a shaky version of The Way You Look Tonight and got the lowest number of votes among the final 10 men. Also out was Jose "Sway" Penala, 28, of San Francisco, whose version of Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed was underwhelming.

Idol host Ryan Seacrest said more than 42-million viewer votes were cast this week.

McGhee, 21, is next seen at 8 p.m. Tuesday when the final eight women perform in a one-hour show. The final eight men return at 9 p.m. Wednesday. The voting results will be announced Thursday.

"Skating with Celebrities' finale

In the finale of Fox's reality hit Skating with Celebrities on Thursday, the pair of actor Kristy Swanson and former Olympic pairs skater Lloyd Eilser emerged the winners over Fox weather girl Jillian Barberie and former Olympian John Zimmerman.

[Last modified March 3, 2006, 08:41:02]

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