Anthony exits, as Bo Bice, Vonzell Solomon and Carrie Underwood duke it out

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 12, 2005 08:00 AM

It’s down to Bo Bice, Vonzell Solomon and Carrie Underwood.

The three – as well as the millions watching – bid farewell on Wednesday night to Ukrainian-born Anthony Federov, who departed American Idol and left the others to duke it out on the upcoming May 24-25 finale of the FOX talent hunt.

On Tuesday, Federov, who may be as skinny as Clay Aiken but lacked Clay’s charisma, sang the high-voltage song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.” But judge Simon Cowell short-circuited Anthony, saying: “I think you need soul for that song. It’s like trying to have Woody Allen play the lead in Shaft.

Host Ryan Seacrest had kinder parting words for 19-year-old, terming him “a total class act, ladies and gentlemen.”

Less classy was the fact that Idol dished up another technical snafu. The dial-in phone number for Underwood was displayed on the closed-captioning for all four contestants, possibly aiding her survival. The correct numbers, however, were shown with on-screen graphics and announced by Seacrest.

A statement issued Wednesday by FOX said, “The producers and network apologize to our hearing-impaired viewers for any confusion, and the situation was immediately corrected for our tape-delayed West Coast broadcast,” reports the Associated Press.