'American Idol' eliminates Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds, reveals Top 5
By John Bracchitta, 04/23/2009
Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai were revealed to be the seventh and eighth finalists eliminated from American Idol's eighth season during last night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
Rounds, a 24-year-old from Memphis, TN, and Desai, a 22-year-old from Chapel Hill, NC, were sent home from Idol's eighth season based on the home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode that saw the Top 7 finalists perform disco songs. Approximately 45 million home viewer votes were cast following the live performance broadcast.
"I'm still really disappointed, I mean I really am, this is all of our dreams. But I have to look at the bright side -- I'm going back to Chapel Hill," Desai said following his elimination.
"Thank you," Desai added as he gestured to the show's cameras and studio audience.
Unlike Desai's elimination, which followed the show's usual format and was revealed in live broadcast's closing minutes, Rounds' elimination was revealed only 15 minutes into the hour-long results show.
"Unfortunately the journey ends for Lil Rounds tonight," American Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced only seconds after revealing Rounds as the first of the week's bottom three vote-getters.
"My babies and my husband, I'm comin' home!" Rounds shouted to her family in the show's closing minutes. "I love y'all!"
Prior to Desai's elimination, Allison Iraheta, a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, had been revealed to be the third member of the week's bottom three vote-getters.
This week's American Idol results show featured a double elimination due to last week's utilization of "The Judges' Save," the new eighth season twist that allowed the show's four judges -- Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi -- to decide to save Matt Giraud, a 23-year-old who currently resides in Kalamazoo, MI, from elimination at the conclusion of last week's results show.
Rounds had performed Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" on Tuesday night's live broadcast and the performance had underwhelmed the judges.
Jackson had said that the performance was "big" and "grand" but also sounded "wild" and didn't show off the kind of artist she was trying to be.
"You got the crowd up. But it didn't really show what kind of vocal control you can have," Jackson told Rounds.
DioGuardi had agreed with Jackson and remarked that she felt America had been waiting for Rounds to try her hand at a Chaka Khan-like song but the result hadn't been worth the wait.
"The thing is, you've been every woman on that stage during this competition -- every other woman but yourself," DioGuardi said. "And tonight, you still didn't tell me who you are as an artist."
Abdul had defended Rounds somewhat, saying that she was aware that Rounds had lost her voice and was on vocal rest the day before her performance and crediting her with a "remarkable recovery." However she still chided Rounds for not hitting "quite the boiling point" for a "hot performance" similar to what Khan would have delivered.
Meanwhile Cowell didn't mince words and told Rounds that he was glad to hear she'd had fun with the performance because it was likely to be her final one.
"I'm glad you had fun because I think this is going to be the last week we're ever going to see you. I do. I do," he said. "I'll tell you why, because there's no originality. It was very copycat. The arrangement -- your vocals -- were a mess. I absolutely believe this is your final shot. Sorry."
Desai had sung Donna Summer's "Dim All the Lights" during Tuesday's performance show.
Jackson had knocked Desai's song choice and arrangement but given him credit for the performance he'd delivered.
"It's very dicey with the arrangements. But dude, you can sing also," Jackson said. "This Top 7 dude is so talented vocally that I'm happy to see your vocals. We're sitting here going, 'He hit that note and that note!' Anoop, nice baby. Nice."
DioGuardi had been even more complimentary and told Desai that she could envision hearing the performance playing as a single on the radio.
"For me, the last two weeks were your best performances! You're really hitting your stride. Nice work, nice changes, good vocals. Great," she said.
Abdul had also given the performance positive feedback and complimented both Desai's new unshaven look and his vocal abilities.
"No one can deny how beautiful your vocals are when the start of the song... You hit that magical zone in your voice," Abdul said. "When it went up-tempo, I actually saw you enjoying yourself. Good job."
However Cowell had completely disagreed with the other judges.
"That was mediocre at best," he said. "I prayed that the tempo wasn't going to come in, it did. It was a horrible version of that song. In my opinion, genuinely that was your worst performance by a mile."
In addition to Rounds' and Desai's eliminations, the results show broadcast also featured a group performance from the Top 7 of various disco hits featuring surprise dance choreography from Abdul, a performance from seventh-season AmericanIdol runner up David Archuleta, and a second disco medley performance from Harry Wayne "KC" Casey of KC and the Sunshine Band, Thelma Houston and Freda Payne.