Even Jimmy Iovine thought he was safe, but alas it wasn’t to be.
**SPOILER ALERT** Saved by the judges last month in a stunning reversal, Casey Abrams growled his farewell on tonight’s “American Idol” results show, a victim as much of his adventurous, unlikely song choices as his cuddly teddy bear looks.
“You’re mine,” he told fellow finalist (and, if you believe the Internet, his gal pal) Haley Reinhart after finishing with the song that launched him, a version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.”
The judges, who loved him, seemed stunned, but if you read the online readers’ comments, Casey was clearly in the crosshairs in this competition, living on borrowed time. And, for all the conspiracy theorists who wondered aloud if the voting process favored the males over the females, Abrams stood alongside both Jacob Lusk and Scott McCreery as this week’s bottom three. Clearly, his raucous rendition of “Hi De Ho” last night did him no favors.
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Casey need look no further than the evening’s musical guest Crystal Bowersox for an example of an idiosyncratic talent that failed to capture the big price, finishing as runner-up to winner Lee DeWyze last year. In fact, you knew the dude was on shaky ground when he answered a viewer’s online Tweet about who he’d most want to duet with, living or dead, by answering the late jazz great Oscar Peterson. Better he should have responded Lady Gaga, but that’s not Abrams’ style. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of him.
The evening started with Ryan Seacrest intimating that fans would be disappointed with the results, with most earmarking Jacob for an exit. “The pressure to shine each and every week is relentless,” pronounced the host before bellowing his “This is ‘American Idol’” intro. Even Jimmy Iovine predicted Lusk had one foot on a banana peel, maybe thinking about the canary yellow shirt he wore last night. “When Jacob hit the stage, I felt he went into the wrong dressing room.” And while he was in the bottom 3, Lusk lives to fight another day.
As for the judges, J. Lo looked good in red, while Steven Tyler’s floppy hat and billowing silk blouse made the Rolling Stone cover guy look like a male transvestite. Seacrest asked him how the article positioned him as going from bad boy to America’s sweetheart. “I may be good,” answered the rock star. “But when I’m bad I’m ever better.”
Haley Reinhart continued her impressive late surge, gaining confidence enough to issue an unladylike off-mike expletive when Jimmy was shown criticizing her. “As an artist, Haley’s problem is she doesn’t know who she really is.” What she is is in the final five, Jimmy. Reinhart was the first contestant of the night to be told she was safe.
Scotty McCreery took a little heat from Iovine, who cited his “character, strength and confidence,” but thought his lack of big, flashy notes might get him lost in the “AI” cacophony. McCreery’s presence in the bottom 3 this week is not a good sign moving ahead.
Lauren Alaina was made to wait for her safe call, with Jimmy complimenting the 16-year-old southern gal with “She has a poise when she’s confident that challenges any singer out there today,” which he’s been saying all along, predicting she’s “In for the long run.”
Iovine was disappointed with Casey’s “Hi De Ho,” echoing fans’ complaint about his gruff vocals, taking a page from Simon Cowell in doing so. “Casey has to realize the family dog does not vote on this show.” It was a premonition of things to come.
From this standpoint, James Durbin still feels like the favorite, with Randy anointing him last night and Jimmy tonight. “If James picks the right songs, there is no doubt he can win this thing… There can be only one ‘American Idol.’”
And, as he has throughout this show, Iovine summed the quandary of “AI” voters moving forward. Someone has to go every week. This week, it was Casey Abrams. Next week, who knows? This thing is a horse race heading into the final turn with five left… and it’s anybody’s guess how it’s going to finish.
1. James Durbin: The heavy metal kid is showing his versatility week to week. If Scotty and Lauren split the southern country vote, can it clear the way for “AI” voters to make up for their Adam Lambert snafu? We’ll soon see. Of the remaining finalists, only he and Lauren haven’t been in the bottom 3.
2. Lauren Alaina: Nigel Lythgoe’s pre-show favorite is proving to be a tough out. Emotionally vulnerable, she’s gaining more confidence by the week. Can Jimmy continue to whip her into shape for the home stretch?
3. Haley Reinhart: Her remarkable run continues, and now she’s being Tweeted about by the likes of former Idols Adam Lambert and Elliot Yamin. Still not a favorite with the hoi polloi, many see her has full of herself. Will she garner the pity vote after her boyfriend Casey’s exit?
4. Scotty McCreery: Losing a little momentum with his low-key approach, but still dangerous. Song choice will be important moving forward to prove he’s more than a one-trick pony.
5. Jacob Lusk: Yes, he got a reprieve, especially from last night’s garish outfit, but will he slip on that banana peel next week?