There aren’t many girls who would complain about being surrounded by David Cook, Michael Johns, Jason Castro and David Archuleta every day.

But Carly Smithson thinks that this year’s handsome crop of Idol guys was a curse for the girl contestants!

In fact, the Irish finalist says that between Castro’s fluttering eyelashes and the bad press she suffered early in the competition, she never stood a chance of winning.

"Women vote for this show. And they vote for the boys," said Carly, who left the show in sixth place last night.

"The boys are adorable, and I definitely feel that the girls had more of a struggle this year with trying to get the popularity vote.

"I definitely think the boys have been charming the females a lot. I think they’re very talented too, but I definitely think it has been a bit of struggle for the ladies."

The 24-year-old reckons that at this late stage of the competition, which contestant gets the boot has as much to do with their fan-following as their performance.

And she told reporters today that her own fan base suffered because her 2001 contract with MCA sparked rumors in the first week on the semi-finals that she was a professional ‘plant’.

"I think I started out on the show with some bad press, and I don’t think it really helped me that much. But I think early on people accumulate their fan base," she explained.

One thing’s for sure, though. Whatever Carly did, judge Simon Cowell just would not give her a break. Almost every week he was on her case, not only tearing into her act, but savaging her wardrobe as well.

But Carly, who quit singing for years after her MCA record flopped, says she made life hard for herself by turning in a show-stopping performance at her very first Idol audition for season five.

Even though a visa problem kept the Dublin-born singer out of the semi-finals that time around and forcing her to wait two years for another shot, she thinks her first impression on Simon was too much to live up to.

"He set this high bar for me straight away," she said. "And it was like I was trying to beat myself every week to be better and better and better."

"I think I did a great job, I was satisfied with my performance," she said.

"I think Simon had a different idea in his mind, and I my not sure they wanted me to really be who I am.

"I don’t think they really liked the whole pop/rock, hard idea that I have about myself."

As for his opinions of her outfit? "Apparently Simon thinks I have bad fashion," she said, "But I really don’t care"

Anyway, she said that when it counts, he was a fan deep down in that cold, hard heart of his.

"He actually said to me the other night that he truly believes in me and that he thinks I’m very good and that he has high hopes for me.

"I think all of his criticism wasn’t necessarily negative, I think he just truly wanted me to do well and I gave it everything I could."

But tor all those problems, Carly, of San Diego, Ca., says she couldn’t be happier with her sixth place finish.

"Everyone keeps asking me why I’m not devestated and bawling crying because I got eliminated," she said.

She says she "love every minute" of Idol, but she isn’t sad to be leaving at all.

"I’m free to go make a record and start writing and stuff, and be with my husband and hang out in the real world — because the Idol bubble is kind of weird!"

But most of all, now that she’s out of the running, she says that she just cannot wait to get back to… her kitchen utensils?

"You know what I miss the most? My pots and pans. I’m a kitchen gadgets nut. I really miss my kitchen!"

 

Maybe when she get on the Idol tour she’ll learn to be just a little more rock ‘n’ roll!

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