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Good-Bye, Fun

At the top of the results show for "American Idol," there was a montage showing the Top 9, with graphics saying, "Everybody has their favorite. No one wants the journey to end. One star must fall." This sort of ominous foreshadowing is becoming a trend.

Heejun is eliminated
Heejun Han gets a hug.

Host Ryan Seacrest brought judge Steven Tyler up on stage and showed some footage from an Aerosmith concert, to promote the fact that the band is going on tour. Steven said he's going to "light a fire under the world's ass," and the tour would therefore be called the Global Warming Tour.

Then, Ryan showed some congratulatory tweets from some of the Top 9's idols, whom they had honored in song the previous night: Jonny Lang (Phillip Phillips), Carrie Underwood (Hollie Cavanaugh), Lighthouse (Colton Dixon) and Mariah Carey (Joshua Ledet). The contestants didn't look terribly happy, though, probably because they were worried about the results. DeAndre Brackensick didn't get a Twitter message, but his idol, R&B singer Eric Benet, joined him onstage, gave him a hug, and then sat on the couches with him. DeAndre looked stunned.

Skylar Laine and Colton helped announce a video challenge, where you're supposed to look for a special moment in the Ford commercial video each week. In this one, the Top 9 loaded a bunch of TVs into a car and then stacked them up for a "concert," the TVs showing them in '80s rock gear, rocking out to "I Want to Rock."

After a commercial break, there was a video montage of the Top 9 moving into the "American Idol" mansion. Like little kids, they ran around, exploring the amenities. Heejun lay down in the huge tub and joked he would sleep there. DeAndre nabbed himself the biggest room, to the bemusement of everyone else.

First to hear results were Elise Testone, Phillip Phillips and Hollie Cavanaugh. About Elise, music mentor Jimmy Iovine said in taped comments, "Last night, Elise did herself and 'American Idol' a lot of good." He thought that everything came together, and he predicted that Elise is at a good age to have her first hit single. "She was a dark horse, but not anymore. Now she's coming on strong." About Phillip, Jimmy said that whenever Stevie Nicks likes someone as much as she likes Phillip, "She's very rarely wrong." He found Phillip's performance "flawless." Jimmy said that Hollie did a beautiful job, "but what she lacks is experience." He said that she's "emotionally behind the pack." He compared her to Jessica Sanchez, who comes at music with more soul, giving her an edge. "You don't win on technique; you win it on soul."

Ryan, after telling her that Carrie Underwood loved her rendition of "Jesus, Take the Wheel," told Hollie she was in the bottom three. She headed for the tulip chairs. Phillip was safe, and Elise was also safe.

Nicki Minaj took the stage next to perform her new song, "Starships." The performance started with an image of a pink spaceship sailing across the screens, and the doors opened, revealing a huge prop spaceship, also bright pink. Nicki's ginormous flotation devices were barely contained in her peacock blue, pink, yellow, and purple minidress with a transparent multi-tiered train that went to the floor. She seemed to be lip-syncing, badly (and there was a little autotuning evident, as well). She danced with a group of dancers in board shorts, white T-shirts and athletic shoes. It was a party on the stage, complete with confetti. I hear a dance hit. [NICKI MINAJ'S PERFORMANCE]

While Ryan was interviewing her, Nicki invited herself to be a guest judge: "Jennifer, could you scoot over a little?" Jennifer Lopez said, "I don't think there's room for both of us up here."

Next to hear results were Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet and Heejun Han. About Colton, Jimmy called out Randy for his effusive praise of the performance the previous night, saying that Randy made it sound like a boxing competition. He continued, "Colton was good, but not good enough." Referring to Colton's tears at the end of the song, he said that this is not the end of your concert, where you can lose it and cry, and the audience is with you. "In this boxing competition, you don't have one opponent; you have eight." He said that Colton is "behind on points." About Joshua, Jimmy said that he's got so much talent and delivered "85 percent of the song" but when he got emotional, his voice closed. However, in the Michael Jackson medley, he was relaxed and calm. "He killed that." About Heejun, Jimmy said it was great to see him come back. "I don't think it was enough." He said that Heejun doesn't sing as well as the other eight contestants.

Ryan told Colton that "America says you're safe," resisting the urge to mess with him again. Ryan told Heejun and Joshua that one of them was in the bottom three: "Joshua, it is you... who is safe." Before taking his seat on the couches, Joshua gave Heejun a hug and then crossed to the tulip chairs to give Hollie a hug, too.

Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery performed next, singing his new single, "Water Tower Town." He wore a black button-down shirt with black pants, and he was comfortable on the stage, working the crowd. He had a little bit of a tan, but other than that, he was the same old Scotty, with the amazing deep voice and the easy command of the stage. The girls in the audience went wild for him.

Afterward, they had a surprise for Scott, Randy said. Jimmy walked out on stage and presented Scotty with a platinum record for the sales of his album, "Clear as Day." He emphasized that it's really difficult today to have this sort of success with a first album. (Not to mention as an "American Idol" winner, who haven't had the best track record in recent years.)

Back to results. Next were Skylar Laine, DeAndre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez. About Skylar, Jimmy said, "Skylar always gives me something that makes me want to vote for her in her performance." He thought that this was a character song and that she needs something more melodic. But on the medley, he said, she showed how professional she was. "We need more of that." About Deandre, Jimmy said, "I'm sitting right in the middle. I'm not going crazy for him, and I'm not disliking him." He said that DeAndre needs more experience, but the falsetto may be polarizing. About Jessica, Jimmy said, "At 16 years old, Jessica has been able to harness enough experience like she's been here 10 years doing this." She said that Jessica got lost in the song but "kept her composure." He said that, while young girls tend to vote for guys, he hopes they may start pulling from her. "What we need is a little girl power," he said.

Ryan assured Jessica that she was safe, and told DeAndre and Skylar that one of them was in the bottom three. It was Skylar. The bottom three then consisted of Hollie, Heejun and Skylar. Who would go home?

After the break, Ryan sent Skylar to safety. The person at risk of leaving, Ryan said, was Heejun. Hearing the news, Heejun smiled and hugged Hollie, I guess he probably saw it coming. Singing for his life, he performed the song from this week over again. Initially, the judges just listened, and didn't seem to be debating whether they should use their save. His best buddy, Phillip, looked really sad as he listened to Heejun. During the bridge, the judges put their heads together at last for a discussion. Jennifer looked really sad, as well.

Would they use their one save of the season? Steven told him, "You knew this was coming yourself. You took it up a couple notches. Unfortunately, after talking, we're going to have to let you go, man."

Heejun didn't look very broken up. He smiled as he watched the montage of highlights from his time on the show. The others pushed in and hugged him while the montage ran. The show was slightly over, so there was no shot of everyone on stage, but I'm sure there was plenty of hugging.

Why was it Heejun's time to go home? First, let's look at what he had going for him. He was personable, funny, and he stood out from the crowd, making an impression on viewers. Many people loved his antics and were happy that he would be going on the summer tour with the Top 10. He had a raw, natural talent and a beautiful tone.

So what counted against him? It's simply a matter of growth. He was still running into some problems with diction and pitch, so consistency was a problem. Even though he was an entertaining performer, and a humble, funny, charming guy, it simply wasn't enough.

The good news, though, is that he'll continue to get plenty of experience because of the summer tour. Provided that he can sing in Korean, I predict he could be an international K-Pop sensation. With his personality, he could go on to a host of other opportunities and should think about using all of his talents when he looks for a future career path. Heejun, you will be missed.

When the field is this strong, a favorite is likely to be eliminated at any time.

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 30th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
As soon as Deandre didn't get into the bottom 3, I knew it was going to be Heejun. Disappointing, because while he wasn't one of the strongest, I definitely saw more potential for him to improve than Hollie or Deandre, but also not surprising.
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
All I can say is that I hope this scared Hollie into really bringing it next week, or she's likely to be the next one cut. I knew that it wouldn't be DeAndre as soon as they brought Eric Benet out to meet him. Otherwise, that would have just been cruel.

You know, I bet that Heejun is secretly happy that he was cut now, because he's so sensitive and I bet the criticism was really getting to him. I hope that he knows how many people really love him, though.
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
There always seems to be one person who really just doesn't feel comfortable with the whole competitive aspect of AI every year, and I think Heejun was this year's. He seemed pretty chill and happy to be voted out, so yeah, I think it just stressed him out.
Mar. 30th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
You're right. I think Jimmy was right when he said Heejun turned to humor as a way to protect himself emotionally.
Mar. 30th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
I was surprised Heejun stayed in as long as he did, to be honest. He has an okay voice,very nice some of the time but never jawdropping, and a lovely personality, but his diction is often quite poor and LOTS of other people had better voices even at the Hollywood phase of the competition. I wish him well, I agree he could be a great K-pop star!
Mar. 30th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
His fans are very loyal to him, and I know as soon as they got a chance, they'd snap up his album.
Mar. 31st, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Have you heard Rain sing? I think HeeJun sounds A LOT like him
Mar. 30th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
I am beyond upset about this. Joshua and DeAndre's performances were far worse.

This, though, is interesting:

What I can tell you at this point,” Han explained backstage after the show, “is that when someone doesn’t believe in himself and at that point someone said, ‘You don’t belong here. I’m not going to sign you. You’re not going to win,’ then my automatic reaction has to be ‘I know. I don’t want this.’ I never actually believed in myself anymore and even before. But from last week there were so many people that still believed in me and supported me, that’s when I realized I really want to do this. I’m not going to let anyone down anymore and that was a turning point.

(From MTV via Heejunies.com)

So he was basically informed that he had no chance.

I also found this, in a comment to an article at the Washington Post:

I am so upset and sad, my AI just got voted out… no sense to watch AI anymore. One thing its clear to me Heejun, Heejunies and HeeJun Fans… America did not Vote Him Out… I am very sure about that… Look at his Twitter page he has more than 97,000 Followers, his Facebook has more likes and talking about him than DeAndre, and Skylar so in my opinion he shouldn’t get voted out.
Colton Dixon Twitter – 123,838 Facebook – 74,008 Talking about it – 26, 519
Jessica San Twitter- 83,459 Facebook- 67,300 Talking about it- 20,501
Phillip Phillips Twitter- 111,685 Facebook – 32,678 Talking about it- 6,629
HeeJun Han Twitter- 98,262 Facebook- 32,154 Talking about it- 8,842
DeAndre Twitter – 37,558 Facebook- 26,007 Talking about it- 5,451
Skylar Laine Twitter- 42,181 Facebook- 24,243 Talking about it- 5,017
This is the reason why I don’t watch this shows (AI)… The staff end up doing what they want.. -!!Yes I am very disappointed!!!-
Come on guys!! HEJUN deserved to be on the top 5 according to the social networks. He has more Fan pages than any one else, It was not America who voted him out, It was the AI Staff, HeeJun said in his interview that the people there told him that they would not sign a contract with him. Well he make it far anyways, and I hope he goes even farther, and as far as I concern I will be following his career very close, I want to see him acting on his own show where he can sing and show us his multiple talents. One thing is for sure, thousands of people will stop watching AI now that HeeJun is not there, I know; I am one of them. We LOVE You KID, YOU ARE A “W I N N E R” our IDOL.

Yeah, okay, granted it's a little Grassy Knollish, but still, I TOTALLY AGREE with this!!! I seriously don’t think that he was actually the lowest vote-getter. The math just doesn’t make sense. I know how much I voted (texted from 10 to midnight more or less non-stop) and there's a list on Heejunies of people who voted at least 50 times for him (most voted more). I don't think he was actually voted off.

I also thought Steven was a total douche last night. “For the record you knew this was coming.” Seriously? No, no one “saw this coming,” Steven. He was AWESOME on Wednesday. And “My Life”? Was actually really great! I’ve been listening to the iTunes version for a week now and honestly? It’s brilliant.

HeeJun’s voice sounds a LOT like Rain (비). Rain is a huge international Kpop star and actor. If he wanted to, HeeJun could go to Korea and become a star. He can sing in Korean; he talks to his mom and to the kids he works with in Korean.

Mostly, I am sad that I won't have any more HeeJun songs on my iPod...so I really hope he does an album.

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
More, because I got too wordy:

I posted a big ol' rant in my LJ (I'll friend you so you can see it), but part of it was this:

And honestly? I know Kpop. It's a big deal in some places. I have over 4100 Korean pop, rock, indie and techno songs on my iPod. I know about superstars like Rain (비), Shinhwa (I actually bought one of my Shinhwa CDs in Seoul at a 7-11 type store) and Super Junior as well as smaller bands like Jang Gi Ha and the Faces, Zitten and Misty Blue. If HeeJun Han went to Seoul and sang in Korean, he would be a superstar. I think he is a younger version of Cha Tae-Hyun, and he could also be a star in Korean dramas (another huge thing most Americans aren't really aware of yet). He did have a bit part in the movie West 32nd Street.
Mar. 30th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
*hug* I was surprised, too. I don't think that Hollie or DeAndre has nearly the number of fans. It's possible that some people were voting hard for the people they consider to be the top contenders, to make sure they didn't get cut. I know, for example, there are a lot of Jessica and Elise fans out there. Maybe they threw all their votes to him, knowing that the competition would be fierce this week.

Conspiracy theories aside, I think what might have hurt Heejun was casual viewers. It's entirely possible that many of the people who were talking about how wonderful he is weren't actually picking up the phone or voting online. My husband, for example, watches "AI" with me but never votes. Just a thought.

I think you're absolutely right: if he doesn't get a contract out of this show, it doesn't matter. He would be highly marketable on an international label. What he probably ought to do, if he's serious, is to hire an agent who can look out for his interests.
Mar. 31st, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
I could totally see him being in a sitcom (in Korea or America), too. You're absolutely right, he needs an agent.
Mar. 30th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
While HeeJun was not as bad as DeAndre Wednesday night, you KNEW he wasn't going home the moment they brought out Eric Benet on stage. Same thing with Hollie and the tweet from Carrie Underwood, or Joshua and Mariah. Who was left without such a blatant "you're not going home" who was not as good as the rest, although vastly improved from last week? Heejun.

As for Steven being "douchey" at him... yes, he can be douchey. He's also blatantly frank (if you read Aerosmith's autobiography 'Walk This Way,' you'll know what I mean). And sometimes that does rub people the wrong way.

I, for one, was overjoyed when Elise was sent back to the safety of the couch right away. I was beginning to fear she was this season's Haley.

As I put it on a tweet: "Jesus couldn't take the wheel. He was busy rocking out to Philip and Elise."
Mar. 30th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
You know, that could have been another factor in Heejun going home. People who might have formerly supported Heejun among only one or two other people might have thrown more of their votes to Elise.

But yes, the writing was on the wall, but Steven didn't have to kick his arse on his way out the door. Then again, I guess all rock stars have a little bit of an ego problem.

Edited at 2012-03-30 10:49 pm (UTC)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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