'American Idol' eliminates Devin Velez and determines season's Top 7 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/29/2013
American Idol eliminated Devin Velez during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the twelfth season's Top 7 finalists.
Devin, an 18-year-old from Chicago, IL, became the third finalist sent home from American Idol's twelfth season after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 8 finalists performing songs by artists from Detroit -- such as Motown.
"When you're nine-years-old, you want to be a firefighter or Superman. For me, I wanted to be a singer. One thing I know I'm going to take away from this is experience. I've never set foot in the studio before. These are relationships that are going to be here forever," Devin said in a video montage that played following his ouster.
Devin's elimination became official after Idol judge Randy Jackson announced the show's judges were not going to prevent his departure by using "The Judges' Save," which Randy and fellow judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban can use once during the finals to prevent the elimination of a finalist who receives the lowest number of votes from the fans during a weekly performance round. The decision would have to be unanimous amongst the judges to utilize the special save.
After discussing Devin's fate during his survival performance of "It's Impossible," Randy revealed the panel's decision to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
"Honestly Ryan, for us, unfortunately it is not unanimous. We're not going to use it," Randy announced.
Devin's elimination didn't come as much of a surprise, as music producer Jimmy Iovine predicted America's vote would reflect his Wednesday night trio performance of "I Can't Help Myself" with fellow contestants Burnell Taylor and Lazaro Arbos that was slammed by Nicki.
"Wow, it's a beautiful day in Hollywood today, because that's what I felt like. I felt like that was back in Hollywood Week, okay? I don't know what that was, but I'm going to act like I didn't even see it or hear it. I'm going to thank God that all three of you already had your solo performances. Lazaro, you fell as flat as a pancake. Don't ever do that. I don't know what's happening, but all three of ya'll, go. Get off the stage!" Nicki hollered. "Go, go!"
Ryan then asked the guys what happened, and Burnell and Devin indirectly pointed fingers at Lazaro's part of the performance.
"I did what I was supposed to do," Burnell said. "Not to throw anybody under the bus, but it's a competition, so..."
"I mean, I learned my parts," Devin began. "I tried saving a couple people, but..."
"We didn't know the words that well, so it was kind of hard," Lazaro added.
However, Devin's solo performance of "The Tracks of My Tears" on Wednesday received good, solid reviews from the judges.
"There's moments in that song when I could really feel you relax into it. And you have such great style, Devin, that you just need to not think about things too much. I think sometimes I can see you thinking about it," Keith explained.
"You up there looking like a ripe banana right now, and that's a good thing! Devin, that was an amazing job tonight. I loved every single choice you made... It felt good. It felt smooth. It felt comfortable for you, and I liked the falsetto choices that you made. Yes sir!" Nicki raved.
"I believe too that Devin is back tonight ya'll. I know what Keith is saying, and I want a little bit more of that, but I think this is one of your best performances in weeks hands down. Very nice," Randy explained.
"I loved it... I felt like this was flawless from you. I could've heard you go for it a little bit more, but I know you're restraining because Jimmy likes that. But I hope America really, really understands that and how good you are," Mariah noted.
Prior to Devin's elimination, Lazaro, a 21-year-old from Naples, FL, and Burnell, a 19-year-old from New Orleans, LA -- the only remaining male contestants -- were revealed to be the other two members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.