Rice was rooting for fellow Birmingham native Taylor Hicks and will soon send him a congratulatory letter, says a State Department official. The Alabama connection helps explain why she has long been glued to the show: last year's runner-up Bo Bice is also a 'Bama boy, as was the winner of the second Idol competition, Ruben Studdard. But Condi is also part of nationwide Idolmania, as Tuesday night's competition drew some 32 million viewers the biggest audience of the show's five seasons.
According to the State Department official, Idol isn't the only junk food on Condi's TV diet. She also watches Law & Order and was a fan of The Bernie Mac Show before its cancellation. But while there are no plans at the moment for a Condi-Taylor duet, Idol fans cast a total of 63.4 million votes Tuesday night which host Ryan Seacrest pointed out was "more than any President in the history of our country has ever received." And since 35% of American Idol fans believe the votes cast in the singing competition count as much or more than in a Presidential election, maybe those itching for Condi to run in '08 will try to get her a guest appearance on the show.