'American Idol' eliminates Curtis Finch Jr. and determines Top 9 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/15/2013
Curtis Finch Jr. was ousted from American Idol during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the twelfth season's Top 9 finalists.
Curtis, a 24-year-old from St. Louis, MO, became the first 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 10 finalists performing songs from prior American Idols -- any song from any winner either previously performed on the show or in their post-Idol collection.
"Being on the stage is the best addiction one can have. I don't want to become addicted to anything else but my music and my fans. This whole process and journey means everything. It really has changed my life and I never want it to end," Curtis said in a video montage that played following his ouster.
Curtis' 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 fewest home viewer votes during a weekly performance round.
The decision would have to be unanimous amongst the judges to utilize the special save.
The judges were all clearly shocked about Curtis' last-place position. Nicki said he didn't belong at the bottom of the pack and noted if he got voted out, she'd go home as well. However, after discussing Curtis' fate during his survival performance of R Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," Randy revealed the panel's decision to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
"Ryan, we are not unanimous, unfortunately," Randy said.
"I think we really needed an extra minute to discuss it. I don't feel like there was really a discussion about it... I know it's a live show, but," a disappointed Nicki explained.
Curtis had received extremely positive feedback from the judges following his performance of "I Believe I Can Fly" on Wednesday's performance show.
"We just had us a sermon in Vegas baby! I believe you can fly Curtis. You just ooze everything good and light and Godly and whole and positive and you just have so much hope in you, and we need so much of that man. Thank you very much Curtis," Keith said.
"The bar -- every time, every single time. Let me tell you something. This is bigger than American Idol to me. That, what you do, when you make people feel good, when you make people feel powerful, when you make people feel like they can fly, that's something that was given to you by somebody else -- a higher power. That is not something that can even be measured in the amount of votes that you get tonight," Nicki told him.
Added the rapper, "I don't care how many votes you get for the rest of your life. You have a calling in your life to bless people and to do so much good. And Curtis, I really, really hope and pray that you make that kind of an album. People need that right now. People are out there hurt. People are hurting. We need that... Don't try to do the R&B and all that stuff, because this is what we need from you. We need that."
"Dude, listen, I feel like the competition tonight started right here for me, right? This is the beginning... the guys now are giving a run for those girls over there. Ya'll are bringing it. Ya'll were listening last night going, 'Yo, what are we going to do?' This is what ya'll are doing right here! He's what ya'll should be doing," Randy said.
"I think I told you [before] I wait for you to sing every time. I just want to, first of all, thank you for that performance, because the energy that you gave off and what you were feeling and spreading to us just so generously was what I needed in this moment right now in my life. So I just want to thank you for that... You made me feel like, 'Man, thank you that Curtis is here tonight...' You've been one of my favorites the whole time, but I just want to say yet again, thank you and vote!" Mariah explained.
Prior to Curtis' elimination, Devin Velez, an 18-year-old from Chicago, IL, was revealed to be the other member of this week's bottom two vote-getters.
During tonight's broadcast, Ryan revealed over 26 million votes were cast. Randy also presented eleventh-season American Idol champion Phillip Phillips with a quadruple platinum plaque for his hit single "Home."
In addition, Idol's twelfth-season semifinalists Aubrey Cleland, a 19-year-old from West Linn, OR, and Charlie Askew, a 17-year-old from Little Rock, AR -- who were just short of making the Top 10 as the runner-up girl and runner-up guy respectively last week -- sang live in an effort to win the final spot on the American Idols live tour. Charlie sang an original song "Sky Blue Diamond" and Aubrey performed "Here On My Own" for home viewer votes in the sing-off.