'American Idol' ousts Jacob Lusk and determines Top 4 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/06/2011
American Idol eliminated Jacob Lusk and determined its Top 4 tenth-season finalists during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
Lusk, a 23-year-old from Compton, CA, became the ninth finalist -- and fourth male finalist -- sent home from American Idol's tenth season after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 5 finalists each performing two songs, one classic and one current.
"I got to share a little bit of me with America and I feel like America has fallen in love with me, and now I can go and put out that good feeling R&B music," Lusk told Idol host Ryan Seacrest when asked what his fondest memory will be of the show.
"I am a college dropout with a dream, and there's nothing I want more than this. The one thing that I want everyone to remember is that dreams do come true," Lusk said during a video montage that followed his ouster.
Lauren Alaina, a 16-year-old from Rossville, GA, was the other finalist still in danger of elimination and revealed by Seacrest to be the other member of this week's bottom two vote-getters.
Lusk -- who was one of the 10 finalists voted into the season's Top 13 finalists by home viewers -- had received mixed reviews from Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson following his performances of "No Air" by Chris Brown and former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and "Love Hurts" by Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison on Wednesday's show.
The judges questioned his rendition of "No Air" and wondered whether the music genre was appropriate and fitting for his vocal style, image, and the type of artist he could become.
"Listen. I think you're one of the greatest singers here. I don't think that's the direction for you. I don't think anyone on this stage should be trying to sing a duet song and sing both parts. It really kind of made the whole thing corny for me. He has to tell us who he wants to be and we can't tell him who to be," Jackson told Lusk after disagreeing with Lopez's feedback that the sound worked for him but he had to stick with a certain direction to show who he really was.
"I see you more as a [Luther Vandross] kid," Jackson continued. "You're the church kid. So, to get out of that to go into this really Pop, R&B thing, it just doesn't wear well. I don't think it's where you should go... He's a new Luther. Don't be the Chris Brown or the Rihanna. It's not the way."
"We love where you've gone with your voice, but I'm waiting for you to find your niche -- waiting for you to find that certain thing that's going to make you do the best -- that's going to make you be the American Idol. I love your voice. Every time you sing, you bring something new. But I'm waiting for that certain something that you find is you. 100% percent you -- not other people," Tyler explained.
Although the judges weren't sure about Lusk's first song, his subsequent performance of "Love Hurts" had received very positive comments from Lopez, Tyler and Jackson and overshadowed his weaknesses from "No Air." The judges told Lusk he got lost in the song a little bit, but they assured him it was still excellent and he "delivered it beautifully," according to Tyler.
"I don't know if everyone heard that little bobble in the middle, but you know how to pull out all the tricks in the end. You really really just brought it home at the end. It was just amazing. When you hear that kind of vocal, it just takes you to another place. Congratulations on doing that, especially having a moment like that in the song. Really good," Lopez said.
"This is what's good about tonight. You had the first song, which I wasn't personally feeling as much, but you redeemed yourself on this one. That is the Jacob right now. And I need to say, I could be wrong, but I think that was the highest note ever sung on this stage. Dude, that was crazy! This is like Mariah Carey! I was like, 'What is going on up in here?!'" Jackson added.
Sixty million home-viewer votes, the highest total of the season, were cast following Wednesday night's performance show, according to Seacrest.
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