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'American Idol' judges like McGhee's performance

By staff and wire reports
Published March 15, 2006


Last week on American Idol, judge Simon Cowell told Tampa's Melissa McGhee that her performance was bad enough to get her sent home, and the voting viewers disagreed. This week McGhee hopes the voters agree with Cowell. The judge told her on Tuesday's show that she gave her best performance so far with Stevie Wonder's Lately as the final 12 contestants performed two hours of Wonder songs live. That was despite McGhee's forgetting some of the words - which judge Randy Jackson pointed out.

McGhee blamed her Tuesday word problems on nerves and a last-minute song change. Cowell also said she was very good and very strong, and judge Paula Abdul said that she has a unique voice in the competition.

Viewers voted by phone and text message for their favorite contestant for two hours after the show. The results, with the lowest vote-getter being ejected, will be announced during a half-hour show that beginning at 9 tonight on WTVT-Ch. 13.

Casting call in Tampa

Casting directors for The Apprentice will interview candidates for the show's next season in Tampa on March 24. Wristbands will be distributed at 9 a.m. and interviews will begin at 10 a.m. at the headquarters of NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8, 202 S Parker St. Candidates should bring a completed application; the form can be downloaded at www.nbc.com Tampa is one of 17 cities hosting casting calls for The Apprentice's sixth season, which will shoot this summer and air in the fall. For the first time, the show will be shot outside New York City. The new location is Southern California.

Chesney may play Tampa

The Tampa Stadium Authority is negotiating with country singer Kenny Chesney's people to hold a concert at Raymond James Stadium, authority spokeswoman Barbara Casey said Tuesday. The concert would be one of nine Chesney would do at National Football League and Major League Soccer stadiums this summer, CMT.com and Billboard.com reported. "We don't have a signed contract, so we don't have a date," Casey said. If it comes off, the concert would be the first at Raymond James since 'N Sync in 2001.

Rapper gets probation

In a deal with prosecutors, rapper Master P pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor gun charge and was placed on probation for three years.

The 38-year-old Dancing with the Stars contestant, whose real name is Percy Miller, was arrested last year with his brother, Vyshonn Miller, 30, after they were pulled over by University of California at Los Angeles, police.

Officers found a revolver under the driver's seat of the car, which was driven by the younger Miller, and a semiautomatic handgun on the passenger's seat, where Master P was sitting. Each faced up to three years in prison. Under the plea deal, the charge against the rapper was reduced to a misdemeanor: carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm.

Times Staff Writers Sharon Fink and Jay Cridlin contributed to this report, which includes information from Times wires.

[Last modified March 15, 2006, 09:02:08]


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