First Elimination of American Idol

First ‘Idol’ Hopeful Eliminated, Season’s Twist Revealed

Lacey Brown, the 24-year-old from Amarillo, Texas, learned that lesson Wednesday night when she was the first of the 12 “American Idol” finalists sent home. It’s always tough to be the first to go.

The 24-year-old event coordinator from Amarillo, Texas, was the first finalist eliminated from the ninth season of the Fox singing competition Wednesday. Brown, who turned in a lackluster rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” on Tuesday’s performance show, failed to impress the judges with a last-minute performance of Brandi Carlile’s “The Story.”

“I had a lot of people tell me maybe go the country route or something like that,” the teary-eyed pixie-haired singer told host Ryan Seacrest after her dismissal. “I’m willing to keep working. I’m not going to stop singing. I’m going to keep singing for my fans and for myself because I love to do this, so I’m excited for the future.”

At the beginning of Wednesday’s show, Simon Cowell revealed the return of the judge’s save. Introduced last season, the one-time-only power allows the show’s panel to rescue a contestant from being eliminated until the top five finalists have been selected. If they unanimously agree, no singer is eliminated that week but two will be sent packing the next week.

While her ouster may not have been a surprise, the biggest revelation of the night was that the controversial judges’ save was brought back — with a twist.

The move, which was introduced last season, gives the judges the chance to rescue the lowest vote-getter. The decision to use the save must be unanimous, and it can only be used once. The week after it’s used, two contestants go home. Once the field is reduced to five, the save is forfeited.

Last season, the lowest vote-getter was forced to sing the song that landed him/her at the bottom — not the best showcase of his or her skills. This season’s new twist is that the singer can pick from any song performed during the past weeks. Brown wisely chose to sing Brandi Carlile”s “The Story,” her best performance to date. It just wasn’t enough.

The judges smartly didn’t use the save on Brown, since they probably wanted to reserve the drama for later in the season when one of the favorites is at risk for elimination (and one invariably does — just ask Chris Daughtry). The judges decided against saving Brown, who received the fewest viewer votes.

It wasn’t a good night for Brown’s fellow Texans, either. Joining her in the bottom three were 24-year-old preschool teacher Paige Miles from Houston and 20-year-old college student Tim Urban from Duncansville. Miles overcame a bout of laryngitis to sing a respectable “Honky Tonk Woman” while Urban was chastised for his reggae rendition of “Under My Thumb.”

Also in the bottom two was Paige Miles, Brown’s “Idol” roommate. Miles battled laryngitis this week, but her rendition of “Honky Tonk Woman” was good enough to keep her alive.

As expected, favorites Siobhan Magnus, Crystal Bowersox, Michael Lynche, and Casey James sailed through. Didi Benami, Lee Dewyze, and Aaron Kelly also had nothing to worry about.

Katie Stevens, the 17-year-old talent who Kara DioGuardi thought could win the title, continued to get mixed messages from the panel. DioGuardi told her to focus on R&B, Cowell preferred country, and Randy Jackson said pop. Even less helpful was Ellen DeGeneres’ tongue-in-cheek advice to choose mariachi music.

The two remaining guys, Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban, received little praise. Urban was in the bottom three after his bizarre reggae-inspired performance Tuesday — but likely was saved by the teen girl vote.

Season 7 winner David Cook showed the Season 9 hopefuls how it’s done with a rocking rendition of “Jumping Jack Flash.” Two other breakout singers also performed during the hourlong show: Orianthi and Ke$ha. The latter paraded around the stage in a Native American headdress and war paint. Ke$ha tried be a fashion risk-taker, but ended up coming across as a Lady Gaga wannabe. No word yet on what the remaining 11 finalists will be singing next week, but hopefully it’ll be a little more contemporary than The Rolling Stones.

The other finalists remaining are Didi Benami, 23, of Los Angeles; Crystal Bowersox, 24, of Toledo, Ohio; Lee Dewyze, 23, of Mount Prospect, Ill.; Andrew Garcia, 24, of Moreno Valley, Calif.; Casey James, 27, of Fort Worth, Texas; Aaron Kelly, 16, of Sonestown, Pa.; Michael Lynche, 26, of Astoria, N.Y.; Siobhan Magnus, 20, of Marstons Mills, Mass.; and Katie Stevens, 17, of Middlebury, Conn.

One Response

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