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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 11

'American Idol' axes Hollie Cavanagh and determines Top 3 finalists


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/11/2012 

American Idol cut Hollie Cavanagh and determined its Final 3 eleventh-season finalists during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.

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Cavanagh, an 18-year-old from McKinney, TX, became the tenth finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show. The performance show featured the Top 4 finalists each performing two songs, with the first having a connection to California and the second being a tune that inspired them and they wished they had written themselves.

"Looking back from last year, I can definitely see a change from then and now. I think that's when I knew this is what I can do for the rest of my life. Being on the show has given me confidence and I believe so much more in myself. It's perfect, you know?" Cavanagh said following her ouster.

Cavanagh's departure left Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips still in the running for American Idol's eleventh-season title.

Cavanagh -- who was one of the 10 finalists voted into the season's Top 13 by home viewers -- had received very positive reviews from Idol judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson following her first performance of Journey's "Faithfully" on Wednesday's performance show. Her rendition of the song brought tears to Lopez's eyes, as she called it "beautiful" and acknowledged how much Cavanagh had grown throughout the competition.

"Hollie Cavanagh, you're peaking at the right time in this competition. I'm just so amazed. I watched that thing back of you and Jennifer talking, and she really championed you and challenged you in that moment. She said, 'Listen, in a couple years, you can do this.' And you came back and you've been slaying us every week," Jackson explained. 

"That song is near and dear to my heart. I've spent so much time with the Journey boys -- love my time in that band -- Steve Perry, one of the greatest singers in life. You did him proud; You did him proud. Dude, I'll tell you what, you were in the zone dog. Hollie wants to take this thing. Yo, yo, Jennifer. Hollie wants the whole thing."

"Hollie, I watched you two years ago when you were so young and it was so hard to tell what's going on, but I've watched you blossom and your creativity has come around. Creativity is a very delicate flower and you can make it bloom by giving it positive affirmations, as Jennifer did, and you make it bloom every night because your choice of song tonight was over the top again. Beautiful," Tyler said.

However, Cavanagh's second song "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt deflated her spirit a bit and fizzled her chances of ending the night on a high note.

Tyler said she "fell short of the dynamic range" she was capable of singing and then apologized for offering negative feedback, while Jimmy Iovine claimed during tonight's live results show that the song was too mature for her due the fact she was young, had little life experience and couldn't truly relate to the lyrics.

"Sometimes when you're interpreting a song that's not your own, when you go through a lot of stuff and had some heartbreaks and gone up and down, it's easier to sing those songs. But for somebody like you, you're trying to make America love you. That's a hook. That's your way into a song like that. You should've been telling America, 'I can't make you love me if you don't, but I'm not sure I want to give up this fight. This is where I belong." That's a way into a song too. It doesn't need to be so literal," Lopez explained.

"I feel like that you knew it needed to be emotional and so you bought emotion but it got the better of you in you vocal. There was a little bit too much vibrato -- a little bit too much shaking -- and it made your vocal go off in this one. But I gotta tell you, from the minute it started, I almost wanted to formulate the comments I wanted to say when it was the best performance you ever had, because I felt like it could be that, because that was the hook into it for me for you for that song. It just didn't happen that way. I'm sorry baby."

"For me, it wasn't so much the maturity and you with the song, to me it was really the song. To me now in this competition, you need moments. This was a song that's a great song. But you're a different kind of singers than Bonnie Raitt or anyone else that sings those types of songs. You have this ginormous voice right? So you need things that are going to give you a moment and it gave you nowhere to go, because even when you have these giant vocal moments, people go, 'Whoa my God, she can really blow.' So there were no moments for me. To me, it was just the wrong choice at the wrong time for me," Jackson said.

Nearly 70 million home-viewer votes -- 10 million more than last week's total -- were cast following Wednesday night's performance show, according to Idol host Ryan Seacrest.



(Photo credit Fox)


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