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'American Idol' cuts Alexis Grace, reveals the season's Top 10 finalists


By John Bracchitta, 03/19/2009 

Alexis Grace was revealed to be the third finalist eliminated from American Idol's eighth season during last night's live results show broadcast on Fox.

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Grace, a 21-year-old from Memphis, TN, was sent home from Idol's eighth season based on the 31 million home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode broadcast that saw the Top 11 finalists perform country songs in a tribute to the Grand Ole Opry.

Prior to Grace's elimination, Michael Sarver, a 27-year-old from Jasper, TX, and Allison Iraheta, a 16-year-old who currently resides in Downey, CA, were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.

The newly introduced "The Judges' Save" rule twist also provided its first drama of the season when, following American Idol host Ryan Seacrest's announcement that Iraheta had not been eliminated from the competition, Simon Cowell admitted that he and the show's other judges -- Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi -- were considering using the save to prevent the elimination of one of the two remaining bottom three finalists.

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After Grace was revealed to be the low vote-getter, Cowell revealed that she was the one the judges had been considering saving.

"So it's all gonna come down to this performance now," Cowell told Grace.
 
However, following Grace's second rendition of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," during which the judges huddled to discuss whether or not to save her, Cowell told Grace that they'd decided her encore performance hadn't been good enough to merit the utilization of "The Judges' Save," which the judges can only use once during American Idol's eighth season.

"We're kinda unanimous on this. It was good, but it wasn't good enough, sorry," Cowell said. "It's the end of the line for you."

"You have an amazing life and career ahead of you my dear. Everything's gonna change for you," added Abdul.

"Thank you for the opportunity, I really appreciate it," Grace responded. "I learned a lot about myself and me as a singer.  I wish I could have done better, but you know, things happen for a reason."

Grace had first sung "Jolene" to mixed reviews during Tuesday night's performance episode.


Alexis Grace performs on American Idol's March 17 performance show (Photo credit Ray Mickshaw/FOX)
Jackson had criticized the performance, saying that he was "not sure that [she] just hit the notes quite well" and noting that Grace had "a bunch of pitch problems" throughout her rendition.

DioGuardi had felt that the song choice caused Grace to lose her "edge" and said she should have sung a song like fourth-season Idol champion Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" or "Before He Cheats," so she could  "[bring] out that angst in you that we all fell in love with in the beginning."

"It was just a little flat for me," DioGuardi added.

Abdul had been more complimentary of the song, saying that she liked seeing the different side of her voice that Grace showed and had "enjoyed the vulnerable, soft side of you."

Cowell had not been overly critical of the song either, calling it "okay." However, he added that he thought it was  "one of those performances tonight where we're gonna forget about it in about 10 minutes time."

In addition to Grace's elimination, the results show also featured a Top 11 group performance of Tritt Travis' "Trouble" as well as performances of "Then" by Brad Paisley and a duet of "I Told You So" by Underwood and Randy Travis, who had served as the week's mentor.

Since they made it Idol's eighth-season Top 10, Seacrest also reminded the remaining finalists -- Michael Sarver, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Megan Joy Corkrey, Anoop Desai, and Matt Giraud -- that they will now each have a spot on Idol's upcoming summer tour.

In the meantime, the finalists will all take the stage and perform once again during next week's American Idol performance broadcast on Wednesday, March 25 at 8PM ET/PT.

Then, barring the utilization of "The Judges' Save," another finalist will be eliminated from the competition and the season's Top 9 will be revealed during the results show broadcast on Thursday, March 26 at 8PM ET/PT (next week's Idol broadcasts will air on Wednesday and Thursday due to Fox's broadcast of President Obama's Tuesday night speech).

(Photo credit Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

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