'American Idol' cuts Karen Rodriguez and determines Top 11 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/18/2011
American Idol eliminated Karen Rodriguez and determined its tenth-season Top 11 finalists during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
Rodriguez -- a 21-year-old student from New York, NY -- became the second finalist sent home from American Idol's tenth season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 12 finalists performing songs from the year each contestant was born.
"In my heart I just want this because at the end of the day, I want to give my mom and my family everything that I never had growing up, because I believe that we need a Latin American Idol. No matter what happens or what place you're going to get, so many doors are going to open and I'm just so blessed," Rodriguez said during a video montage of her American Idol journey that followed her ouster.
Rodriguez's elimination became official after American Idol judge Randy Jackson announced the show's judges were not going to prevent her elimination by using "The Judges' Save," which Jackson and fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler can use once during the finals to prevent the elimination of a finalist who receives the fewest home viewer votes during a weekly performance round.
The decision was not unanimous, according to Jackson, however he did not reveal who had been in favor of "saving" Rodriguez.
Rodriguez -- who was one of the 10 finalists voted into the season's Top 13 finalists by home viewers -- had received mixed feedback from the judges following her performance of Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back" on Wednesday's performance show.
"Listen, it started a little rough but by the time you hit the chorus, the first chorus, you kind of found the pitch and found the range and you were on it. I think it was definitely better than last week. I'm still not like jumping up and down or whatever, but, welcome back," Jackson said.
"Hey you. I love it when you break into your ethnic what-it-is-ness. I just love it," Tyler told Rodriguez.
"What I love about you Karen, is I could tell you were a little bit scared when you came out, but instead of like letting that take over, you attacked it. I was like, 'Go! Do it!.' Yes, that's how you have to do it. That's what you have to do. If you are nervous about certain notes, don't go there. As a professional, you don't have to. Never expose your weaknesses," Lopez added.
"Play to your strengths, okay? If it's not all the way there, then do it. Change the note. You can do that. You sing beautifully. Everybody knows that, so just perform that song. Just perform it from your heart and you watch how it translates."
Prior to Rodriguez's elimination, Naima Adedapo, a 26-year-old from Milwaukee, WI, and Haley Reinhart, a 20-year-old from Wheeling, IL, were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.