White House invites American Idol 5 finalists to meet Bush in the Oval Office Friday

On Friday, both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the American Idol 5 finalists will visit The White House. The top 10 will meet George W. Bush in the Oval Office and get a tour of the building. (Katharine McPhee may not be with them “since she missed recent tour stops due to bronchitis and laryngitis,” according to the AP.)

The show’s winner, Taylor Hicks, “has a personal connection inside the White House: Susan Whitson, Laura Bush’s press secretary, taught him 9th grade English at Hoover High School in Birmingham, Ala,” the AP reports.

Still, there’s no explanation as to exactly why all 10 are visiting with the President, the first time he’s ever met with contestants from the show. The White House press office’s Dana Perino told reporters on Air Force One Friday only that this will be “a photo opportunity.” But whose opportunity is it?

By the way, reporting on this news gave the geniuses at the AP a chance to further screw up Ryan Seacrest’s (mostly stupid) comparison between the number of votes cast for the final episode and the number of votes cast in presidential elections. The AP reports that “Hicks won the most recent season’s contest May 24 after 63 million votes were cast for him in the season finale.” While the AP at least acknowledges that “voters can cast more than one ballot on American Idol,” the 63.4 million total was actually the number of votes cast the entire night, for both Katharine and Taylor.

‘American Idol’ finalists headed to the White House [AP]
Press Gaggle by Dana Perino [White House]