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'American Idol' ousts Deandre Brackensick and decides Top 7 finalists


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/06/2012 

American Idol eliminated Deandre Brackensick during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox, determining the eleventh season's Top 7 finalists.
 
Brackensick, a 17-year-old from San Jose, CA, became the sixth finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 8 finalists singing songs from the 1980s.

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"Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be onstage. Having the opportunity to do stuff like this is unbelievable. Who has that hair? Nobody else has that hair! This whole experience has been an honor. American Idol has been and always will be the highlight of my life," Brackensick said following his ouster.

Brackensick's elimination became official after Idol judge Jennifer Lopez announced the show's judges were not going to prevent his elimination by using "The Judges' Save," which Lopez and fellow judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson 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.

"This is as tough as it gets -- a "Wild Card" pick. He's fought for every week in this competition. He's been loved by the judges, especially Jennifer. They get one 'save' up until the Top 5. I turn to you judges. What will be your decision? Will you use the one 'save' on Deandre?" American Idol host Ryan Seacrest asked the judging panel.

"This boy right here, we've been watching him for two years. You're an amazing performer. I stand by that. I think you have an amazing voice and you're going to share a lot with the world. I really do believe that. I only get one vote. I'm sorry, we're not saving you tonight. I'm sorry baby," Lopez explained.

Lopez then revealed the decision not to "save" Brackensick was not unanimous, as she had attempted to convince her fellow judges to keep the young singer in the competition longer.

Brackensick -- whom the judges had selected to be in the Top 13 as a "Wild Card" finalist -- had received extremely positive feedback from the judges following his performance of "I Like It" by Debarge on Wednesday's performance show.

"I like it! I like it a lot! (Laughs) That was really great baby. I felt like you were super comfortable up there. I feel like you took what they told you to heart. You were really enjoying the crowd, and even the way you moved your hair this time -- because I know you're all about your hair," Lopez told Brackensick.

"But even in that, I felt like it was all very natural. You really had the crowd going, you sounded amazing, you did some beautiful things in there -- really made it your own. Great start to the show. Great job."

"Deandre man, totally captivating. I forgot where I was. I forgot where I was. And you took your voice, the way you used to play with it, we thought it was a little too much. But you've owned it and you wore it well today. That was exceptional today," Tyler said.

"You know what I loved? Is when you use more of your natural voice -- not just all falsetto. If you continue to do that, play with your natural and then go into the falsetto for the runs and stuff, it was perfect. It was the perfect kind of song for you. I could make records like this, and you could be a newer 2012 version of the Debarge dude. It was amazing -- one of my best performances from you!" Jackson explained.

Prior to Brackensick's elimination, Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters. 

In addition to Testone and Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, and Jessica Sanchez also still remain in the running for American Idol's eleventh-season title.

(Photo credit Fox)


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