'American Idol' cuts four semifinalists, determines Top 12 finalists
By Reality TV World staff, 03/12/2010
American Idol's Top 12 ninth-season finalists were determined during Thursday night's live results show broadcast that ended the competition's semifinals by eliminating four of the 16 remaining semifinalists.
Epperly, a 19-year-old college student from West Des Moines, IA, was the first eliminated semifinalist to learn her American Idol fate.
She had sung Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move" during Tuesday night's female performance show. All four Idol judges had been unimpressed by the performance, with Randy Jackson deeming it "nothing special" and Ellen DeGeneres saying it "just wasn't enough."
"I didn't feel like you were competing tonight on that stage... I just felt like you were going through the motions," Kara DioGuardi said.
"It was kind of like request night on a Friday night in a restaurant... someone asked for a Carole King song, you stand up, sing it quite well, perform it quite well. But... [you] didn't do anything special with it," Simon Cowell told Epperly. "On what is arguably the most important night of your career, you chose quite a simple song... this may have been a mistake for you tonight."
"It was definitely a great experience and I've learned a ton and I'm not stopping now. This is just a push actually for me to go do more stuff," she said.
Todrick Hall, a 24-year-old actor and playwright from Arlington, TX, was the second semifinalist to learn his American Idol journey had ended just sort of the finals.
He had performed Queen's "Somebody to Love" to split reviews from Idol's judges during Wednesday night's male performance show.
"Todrick is back! What you did just there is you proved you could really sing, that's why you're here. All this stuff about you being a dancer... that was one of the best vocals I've heard all night, all the last couple of weeks by a man!" Jackson had boasted.
"You are a brave, brave young man. I could not believe I saw you were singing that song, but you made it... you did a good job," DeGeneres added.
However while she had agreed it was "really good singing," DioGuardi had compared the performance to Broadway's "Godspell" musical -- and Cowell had agreed.
"I think what you've done tonight is tell us who you are, which is you're a Broadway singer. That is American Idol: The Musical," Cowell said. "That's what you are, I see you more as that than a recording artist."
Following his elimination, Hall said he felt he had at least proven he was more than just a dancer.
"I has been an awesome experience," he said. "I came here to prove that I'm not just a dancer, I can also sing, and I think I've done that. I've done the best I could do."
Lambert, a 19-year-old high school student who currently resides in North Richland Hills, TX, was the next semifinalist eliminated.
While they had praised Lambert's continuing week-to-week improvement, the judges had given mixed reviews to his Wednesday night performance of Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble."
"Some people are good and then one week they're kind of not so good and then they're good again. [But] you're consistently -- every single week you get better and better and better," DeGeneres said. "I just really, really liked it."
"I'm not sure you wowed me with it, but I liked it," Jackson said. "I felt like you could have done a little bit more with it."
In addition, DioGuardi and Cowell had told Lambert he needed to continue developing confidence and get over his nervousness while performing on stage.
"The only thing standing in the way of you winning is you right now... you are still stiff and you're not in it and you're not letting go up there," DioGuardi said.
"Yeah, I agree. I think that you kind of got to get yourself mentally somewhere else," Cowell added. "You're got to stop staring down that lens and concentrating on the cameras, let yourself go. Because as the guys said, you're got a really good distinct voice and people like you as a person."
Lambert was visibly distraught following the news of his elimination.
"I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot of stuff," he told Seacrest while holding back tears. "I wish I would have like not been so nervous on stage because there's a lot of things America hasn't seen me do yet and a lot of things I know that I'm capable of that the judges and America hasn't seen yet, so I wish I could have just broken out of my shell."
"You're so good, you just need to have more experience," DeGeneres said as she attempted to boost Lambert's spirits. "You need to believe in yourself, and that only comes from time and getting knocked down and getting back up again. You're so good. Don't ever stop believing in yourself."
"Thank you," Lambert replied before he struggled through a brief encore performance of "Trouble" and then broke into tears as he was consoled by the other contestants during the broadcast's subsequent commercial break.
"The most intense few moments on the show was during that commercial break. We didn't want to break up that emotion," Seacrest explained after he walked Lambert offstage so the results show could resume once the commercial break concluded.
Scott, a 20-year-old sandwich maker and musician who currently resides in Denver, CO, was the last semifinalist to learn she had missed out on the season's finals.
She had closed Tuesday night's show with a performance of Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces." The judges hadn't offered much feedback due to time constraints, however Cowell had been the only one to make any remotely negative comments about the performance.
"I think you're very brave for choosing that song on a night like this. What it didn't have unfortunately, being you've got the last spot, that didn't have the 'Wow' factor," he said. "It was cute, it was quirky, it places into what you're all about. But that could have been a risky thing to do, funny enough."
But despite Cowell's comments, the elimination of Scott -- who had been been praised by the judges throughout the semifinals and deemed an early frontrunner only a week ago -- appeared to come as a surprise to nearly everyone, especially DioGuardi, who seemed to shake her head in disgust.
"I don't know, I thought I did really well. I thought that I was appealing to a lot of people... I put my heart into every performance and I really gave it my all every time," Scott told Seacrest after he revealed her ouster.
"It's surprising. A lot of incredible talent is going home and I don't know what America wants to hear, I don't. I just know that there's an audience out there for me though," she added.
American Idol's Top 12 ninth-season finalists will take the stage and sing Rolling Stones songs during next Tuesday night's live two-hour performance episode broadcast at 8PM ET/PT. On Wednesday night at 9PM ET/PT, one finalist will be eliminated from the competition based on home viewer votes, revealing the season's Top 11.