Now that former American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar has been kicked off the nation's most popular television show, one of the remaining Christian contenders has been dubbed the "worst" of the remaining six contestants.
Phil Stacey, a minister of music at First Coast Christian in Jacksonville, Fla., is now featured on the website VotefortheWorst.com, which encourages viewers of Idol to vote for who they think is the "worst" vocalist.
"We love you even if you can't be exposed to direct light," states the website.
VotefortheWorst.com was created to help singers that "producers would hate to see win" move further into the competition. The site founders felt that the show is unjust in that it unfairly eliminates talented vocalists during auditions while keeping poor singers, whose lack of talent is shown as entertainment.
The impact of the website is arguable, but many say that Malakar's long run may have been effectively aided by the extra votes obtained through the domain.
The new "worst" spokesman, Stacey, 29, has been receiving mixed reactions throughout this season of American Idol.
The music minister has been in trouble the most out of any of the remaining singers, barely walking away from being eliminated several times. He has been among the lowest vote-getters four times - three of those weeks being consecutive.
Stacey has been receiving better reactions from the judges each week, however, especially from the show's most blunt judge, Simon Cowell.
"Well it's only taken 10 weeks Phil. But listen, I have to agree with what the guys said," commented Cowell after last week's performance. "This is the only time that I've heard you in a long, long time where I thought you chose a good song, I thought the style of music suited you and even more surprisingly, we actually saw some personality.
"I don't know if it's going to be enough to save you Phil," he added, commenting on Stacey's previous close calls, "but you definitely chose the right kind of song."
Many of the guest judges on the show have noted the potential of the Florida-native in the past weeks. Legendary vocalist Tony Bennett even told Stacey that he was one of the best singers he had ever heard.
The music minister's fan base seems to be quite strong as well, being backed by organizations such as the Gospel Music Association (GMA).
"Okay, I admit. For two straight hours, I dialed 1-866-IDOLS-02," explained GMA publicist Tricia Whitehead in the association's weekly GMAil newsletter when only nine finalists remained. "If Phil Stacey was going to leave the show, as many predicted, it was not going to be because I hadn't given it my all!"
Stacey was able to crawl out of the low vote tallies this past week, so he may have a chance to go far, especially with VotefortheWorst.com supporting with additional votes. His future is far from clear, however.
Besides his church ties, the male vocalist from Jacksonville also attends Liberty University, an independent fine arts Baptist university located in Lynchburg, Va.
Other GMA favorites still on Idol include Melinda Doolittle, 29, and Jordin Sparks, 17, who have been consistently listed by critics as leaders for this year's first place crown.
The remaining six singers competed Tuesday night as part of Idol Gives Back, which is raising awareness and money for poverty stricken youth in America and Africa. One more contestant will now be cut from the group of finalists on the live vote-off show Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, VotefortheWorst.com is offering a "Nosphilatu" shirt to poke fun at Stacey, who many have said looks like Nosferatu – a fictional movie character much like Dracula.