Haley is eliminated
The previous week, the Top 4 had gone to Bad Robot Productions to meet with J.J. Abrams, who was going to show them some scenes from "Super 8." He gave all of them Super 8 cameras so they could film their experiences while on their hometown trips. [Bad Robot Productions]
On her hometown journey, Haley Reinhart told an excited fan, "Thank you for freaking out." A crowd turned out to greet her despite the rain. She reunited with her family at their home. At Wheeling High School, she was met by cheerleaders and started tearing up as she walked through the halls. Thirty thousand people greeted her at the fairgrounds for a performance which included some guitar playing by her dad. [Haley's hometown visit]
In this week's Ford commercial, to the song "Smile," the Top 3 drove to the beach, flew a kite, played volleyball, and took a lot of pictures, which could then be viewed in the car. [Ford music video]
An Italian group, Il Volo, performed "O Sole Mio." They were so obviously lip-synching that I found myself wondering if they were supposed to be a joke. The song sounded very old-fashioned, and I found myself wondering if three young guys would really be singing it. I guess in Italy things are different. [Il Volo performance]
On Scotty McCreery's trip home, he was met with screaming young girls everywhere he went, trying to grab him and even giving him a doughnut. He played a little baseball at his high school and was overwhelmed as he pulled away. Then, he traveled back to the grocery store where he used to work and donned an apron again. Later, at a performance for a big crowd, he sang the song that he performed at his audition, the original artist showed up onstage and surprised him. [Scotty's hometown visit]
Nicole Scherzinger, formerly of Pussycat Dolls, along with 50 Cent, then performed "Right There" in a white fringed outfit that looked straight off a 1970s dance floor. The song was very catchy, and she and some dancers performed around the judges' table, which had been outfitted with a silver skirt, the biggest indication that this performance was pre-taped . [Nicole Scherzinger performance]
Lauren Alaina, on her trip home, appeared on a local radio show and then greeted fans, signing things for them like a cowboy boot. She appeared at her high school and heard a declaration from the Georgia House of Representatives declaring Lauren Alaina Day. Then she made a trip to see the area that had been struck by a tornado, which just devastated her. She also met with a little boy who was a tornado survivor. Then she performed for a large crowd of people, after telling them how sorry she was about the tornado. She threw out the first pitch for a local minor league team, which went wild into the crowd and was caught by a very happy little girl. [Lauren's hometown visit]
Then it was finally time for the results. After the nationwide vote, Ryan announced, the results would be... after the break!
After the break, the first person with a shot at the title, Ryan announced, was Scotty. He took a seat in the tulip chairs. It was down to Haley and Lauren. The person who will compete against Scotty in the finale is... Lauren. Damn. [Results]
For her swan song, Haley performed "Benny and the Jets," which many fans had enjoyed the first time around. At the end of the song, she walked into the audience, greeting her family and asserting viewers that this would not be the last they'd see of her. [Haley's performance]
Time to say good-bye to Haley. A lot of fans are going to be upset (although my 11-month-old will be happy that his favorite, deep-voiced Scotty, will move on). Why was it her time to go?
As my husband reminded me, the votes are based on more than just vocals; they are based on popularity. And while she has a lot to learn vocally, Lauren has a personality that many viewers probably liked. In video packages, she was funny and seemed like the girl-next-door. To judges' comments, she was grateful and humble.
Haley also wore a broad smile most of the time, but she also showed clear irritation at recent negative comments from the judges and even argued with Randy Jackson last week. Over many years of "American Idol," contestants have been punished for "talking back" to the judges. Perhaps Haley was the latest victim of this trend.
Then again, there are also the performances to consider. Haley did well last night, but her strongest song was first, while her weakest number was the judges' selection for her, "You Ought to Know" by Alanis Morrisette. That performance was therefore in viewers' minds as they began to vote. By contrast, Lauren's performances got stronger throughout the evening, with her final performance the best.
Ryan made no mention of how close the votes were, so there's no way to tell if Haley was just edged out (which is what I suspect) or if Lauren and Scotty trounced her. Yet, as she said at the end of her final performance, Haley's not giving up. Nor should she. According to recent figures from the Hollywood Reporter, four out of the top 10 "American Idol" earners did not win their prospective seasons. Haley certainly has reason to hope she'll still succeed.
Either viewers really love country or they just hate sass.