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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 7

'American Idol' cuts its first finalist, eliminates David Hernandez


By Christopher Rocchio, 03/13/2008 

Simon Cowell's prediction was spot on.

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David Hernandez was revealed to be the first finalist eliminated from American Idol's seventh season during last night's live results show broadcast on Fox.

The 24-year-old from Glendale, AZ was ousted from Idol's seventh season after host Ryan Seacrest said "over 29 million" home viewer votes were cast following Tuesday night's live performance episode broadcast that saw the Top 12 finalists perform songs from the John Lennon/Paul McCartney songbook.

"You know, honestly, things happen for a reason," said Hernandez after his elimination was revealed. 

Hernandez worked as a male stripper at Dick's Cabaret, where he appeared fully nude and performed lap dances for the establishment's "mostly male" patrons, the Phoenix club's manager Gordy Bryan confirmed on Monday.

Hernandez "steadily worked" at Dick's Cabaret for three years until September 30, 2007, according to Bryan, who said he believes the Idol finalist stopped working at Dick's because of his upcoming participation in the show.

Last Tuesday, Idol executive producer Ken Warwick said Hernandez would remain in the competition because his past "won't make a difference" and "the public will make the decision anyway."  After making the Top 12 last week, Hernandez stated he was "not really concerned with what's going on."

"I think we all have a plan," said Hernandez following his elimination.  "You'll see me at the top.  This isn't it for me."

Hernandez sang "I Saw Her Standing There" during Tuesday night's performance episode.  Randy Jackson thought it was "a little too overdone" and fellow judge Paula Abdul agreed he "overdid it a little bit."  Not surprisingly, Cowell was more concise in his criticism of Hernandez.

"David no, no, no.  I thought it was corny verging on desperate to be honest with you," said Cowell after Hernandez's performance.  "I didn't think it was a particularly strong performance."

Prior to Hernandez's elimination, Syesha Mercado, a 21-year-old from Sarasota, FL who currently resides in Miami, FL, and Kristy Lee Cook, a 24-year-old from Selma, OR, were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.

"It's tough man, I don't know if either three of these ones were good last night," said Jackson.  "I don't know.  It's tough.  It's probably the right bottom three."

"I've never seen a more stronger bottom three.  That's the truth," added Abdul before Cowell rushed her to the point.  "Yes, [America] did [get it right]."

"I think America got this absolutely spot on," said Cowell, who had predicted Hernandez and Cook would be on the chopping block after Tuesday night's live taping concluded.

Cook was the second finalist to learn she was in the bottom three and -- after receiving terrible criticism from the three judges for her country rendition of "Eight Days a Week" on Tuesday night -- she thought her Idol journey was over.

"Where's my microphone?" Cook asked Seacrest before he even revealed she was in the bottom three and would be singing.

After reiterating the bad reviews Cook received from the three judges, Seacrest revealed she was in fact among the bottom three.

"Grab the microphone, You're in the bottom three tonight," he told Cook. 

"Sorry you have to hear it again! " she replied before Seacrest asked if she thought she did poorly after seeing her own performance.

"No, I mean it's just there's... Everybody's so talented, and you know it's just like... I don't know, I just I don't know... They're all so talented and I don't know who's going to go, but I have my gut feeling of who's going to go and who's going to stay," she confusingly answered.

Seacrest then asked if Cook thought she'd be the one going home.

"I hope it's not [me].  I don't wan to say yes or no, but I just hope it's not because I really love being here," she said.

Hernandez was the last finalist to learn he was in the bottom three, and Seacrest asked how it felt while he was waiting for the results..

"It's pretty exhausting.  I have it together though.  I'm fine," answered Hernandez.  "This doesn't necessarily mean I'm going off the show tonight, I'm just in the bottom three."

Idol also accepted it's first ever live phone-in fan questions during the broadcast, with the first call coming from Paige, a 12-year-old from Plains, PA, who asked finalist Jason Castro if he could be any Idol judge, which would he want to be?

"That's kind of a hard one, but I think maybe I'm the most unlike Paula because she's a girl," answered Castro.

Ronny Paulie -- a 22-year-old viewer from Lincolnton, NC who said he'd auditioned for Idol six times -- then asked the judges for some audition advice.

"Get another job," Cowell told him.

John Aaron, a 22-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, asked when Cowell and Seacrest are just going to "duke it out on stage."

"I say load in the mud, I'm ready," answered Seacrest.

In addition, recently married Idol fifth-season runner Katharine McPhee and producer David Foster performed George Harrison's "Something" during the broadcast.

"We are definitely working together -- working on a record together," said Foster following the performance.  "She sings so magnificently, it's just amazing."

"He's very sweet," said McPhee, who parted ways with Sony BMG's RCA Records earlier this year.

Idol's Top 11 seventh-season finalists -- Carly Smithson, Michael Johns, Jason Castro, Chikezie Eze, Amanda Overmyer, David Cook, David Archuleta, Brooke White, Ramiele Malubay, Syesha Mercado and Kristy Lee Cook -- will once again sing songs from the Lennon/McCartney songbook during next week's live two-hour performance episode broadcast on Tuesday at 8PM ET/PT. 

"We had so many calls and emails that we're changing next week's theme and we're going to do more from the Lennon/McCartney songbook," said Seacrest during last night's broadcast.

On Wednesday beginning at 9PM ET/PT, another finalist will be eliminated from the competition based on home viewer votes, revealing the Top 10.


(Photo credit Fox)


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