A nice guy — and a nice girl — finished last on “American Idol.”
Jorge Nunez, the affable 20-year-old college student from Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Jasmine Murray, the melodious 16-year-old high school student from Starkville, Miss., were the first two finalists eliminated Wednesday from the popular Fox singing competition.
Murray, the judges’ wild card pick who sang “I’ll Be There” on Tuesday’s Michael Jackson-themed performance show, pleased the panel with her vocal ability but disappointed it with a lack of personality. Meanwhile, Nunez was hammered for his lackluster song selection: Jackson’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” The pair received the lowest viewer votes.
Wednesday’s episode began with the announcement of a new twist in the show: The judges will have the power to save one contestant from being eliminated until the top five finalists are selected. If the panel unanimously agrees, no singers will be eliminated that week, but two contestants will be sent packing the next week.
“The whole point of this competition is America votes for who they want to save,” judge Simon Cowell said. “If someone happens to be at the bottom, and we think they deserve another chance, we’re going to give them another chance.”
“Idol” host Ryan Seacrest pointed to the early eliminations of past contestants, such as Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, as the motivation for the new power. Hudson, who was booted sixth during the third season, went on to win an Oscar for her role in “Dream Girls.” Daughtry, who placed fourth in the fifth season, and his band had 2007’s top-selling album.
After Murray and Nunez were revealed to have the lowest number of viewer votes, the judges decided not to save either from dismissal. The 11 finalists remaining in the competition are Adam Lambert, Alexis Grace, Allison Iraheta, Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Megan Corkrey, Michael Sarver and Scott MacIntyre.