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‘American Idol’ singers can't choose singles

Plus: More disabled reality-show contestants; "The Will" online; full list of "Survivor" winners.
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Last week we answered Michael's question about . We mentioned a few and asked readers to remind us of those we'd missed. Before we get to this week's new questions, here are some of the names you sent us.

Please note: Yes, Michael asked specifically about "disabled" contestants — and some of you have written in to say that some of these conditions should not be called disabilities. All right, but we still want to publish their names here, because they all did have specific physical challenges to overcome with regards to the shows they were on.

  • Elliott Yamin from ‘American Idol 5’ was partially deaf.”
  • “[Amanda Swafford] on ‘America's Next Top Model 3’ was legally blind.”
  • Matt Hamill on ‘Ultimate Fighter 3’ is deaf, they even have an interpreter on the show for him.”

Q: Do the “American Idol” finalists get to pick which song will be recorded as their winning single or is it picked for them?       —Anonymous

On the “American Idol Finale,” the two finalists sing the same original song. During the Clay/Ruben final, however, each of them got to sing their own original song. Why was that the only season where that occurred? It doesn't seem fair to make both finalists sing the same song -- especially when they are such different performers (e.g. Bo/Carrie or Taylor/Katherine).     —Anne, New York

A: The song(s) that the finalists perform and then release as their first single is completely out of their control. It's selected for the contestants.

For "American Idol 5," record-label executives and show producers sorted through 150 songs before selecting "Do I Make You Proud" for Taylor and "My Destiny" for Katharine. Considering how dreadful both songs are, that may be surprising. But the finale song/first single has been a cheesy, poppy selection since the first season. In his book, Simon Cowell writes that season one winner Kelly Clarkson "loathed" her first single, "A Moment Like This," and that none of the finalists wanted to record it.

This season, the finalists were each assigned a different song, perhaps to avoid choosing a song that was wildly inappropriate for one finalist but great for the other. But if forcing both singers to perform the same song is unfair, what about having one person perform a song that sucks more than the other song? ( contributor Marc Hirsh .)

During the "American Idol 5" finale, the judges didn't seem to like either song, but Katharine's choice seemed especially bad and schmaltzy. Maybe for future seasons, the finalists should be allowed to select their own songs; at the very least, it'd put their fate in their own hands, and allow the judges to once again criticize them for bad "song choice."    —A.D.

Q: Will the show “The Will” be going to cable or shelved forever?  I want to see the colorful family fight it out!    —Summer

A: We answered this , but now have an update.Fans of “The Will” can now rejoice. The show, which aired one episode in January of 2005 before being cancelled by CBS, has found new life.

While the show was aired in its entirety on the FOX Reality Channel, that network is not yet available on many cable systems, so the show’s outcome and drama remained a mystery for many viewers.

But now, as part of its online, broadband channel Get Real TV, AOL has given the show a second life. All six episodes are .    —A.D.

Q: As we watched the “Survivor” finale [this season], We were only able to name 8 past winners. Are you able to name and list the winners of each “Survivor” series?    —Della

A: I can't name them from memory, that's for sure. I can get the first four: Richard, Tina, Ethan, and Vecepia, but then the seasons start running together for me. However, with help from , here's the full list of winners.    —G.F.C.

1)   Richard2)   Tina3)   Ethan4)   Vecepia5)   Brian6)   Jenna7)   Sandra8)   Amber9)   Chris10) Tom11) Danni12) Aras       

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.