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'American Idol' sends Michael Johns home, reveals Top 7 finalists


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/11/2008 

TiVo wasn't the only one surprised by last night's American Idol results

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Michael Johns was revealed to be the fifth finalist eliminated from Idol's seventh season during last night's live results show broadcast on Fox.

"I'm definitely surprised," said Johns after Seacrest revealed the results. 

The 29-year-old from Los Angeles, CA was ousted from Idol's seventh season after host Ryan Seacrest said "over 31 million" home viewer votes -- "the highest this season" -- were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode broadcast that saw the Top 8 finalists each singing inspirational songs to keep with the Idol Gives Back spirit. 

"I enjoyed singing ['Dream On']," said Johns, standing by his song selection even after his elimination.  "It's a song about dreams.  If there's a song to go out on, that's not a bad one."

Johns had been the first finalist to perform during Tuesday's Idol episode.

"I really believe that this is one of the important weeks for us.  This is one of the important weeks on the show because you guys are telling us now who you really are, and I'm now looking to see who could really win the thing," Idol judge Randy Jackson had told Johns after the performance.  "I thought that was a pretty good song choice for you but it had some pitch problems for me and I still believe that's... I don't buy in anyway you're like an Aerosmith. That's not the singer you are to me.  It was alright for me."

Johns defended his song selection after Jackson's comments, saying he "had to do it" partially because of the 20-piece orchestra backing him up.

"But wait a minute," replied Jackson.  "With all the songs to choose?  There's a lot of songs -- you can do whatever you want."

Paula Abdul said she "couldn't disagree more" with Jackson and thought the song had fit Johns "so perfectly." 

"Michael look, I thought it was a very good performance.  Why I'm slightly with Randy on this though is I don't like it when you do an impersonation of a rock star," Simon Cowell had told Johns.  "I prefer it more with the kind of blues, R&B thing in your voice -- which we heard last week.  So while I wasn't jumping out of my seat, I thought it was a little bit wannabe-ish."

Prior to Johns' elimination, Syesha Mercado, a 21-year-old from Sarasota, FL who currently resides in Miami, FL, and Carly Smithson, a 24-year-old from San Diego, CA, were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.

"Pretty surprising bottom three," said Jackson.  "But as we said the other night, it's about showing who you are now.  It's a very crucial time."

Seacrest then revealed Johns had been booted.

Last year's Idol Gives Back featured some tough moments for the Top 6  finalists, as the second night of the fundraiser was held during one of the sixth-season results show broadcasts.  However none of the finalists were ousted, and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had stated in December he "wouldn't dream of doing it again" that way, which is why the Idol Gives Back charity event got its own broadcast night this week.

However Seacrest still decided to make last night tough for Johns -- giving him a glimmer of hope after he revealed the voting results.

"Last year during Idol Gives Back we didn't eliminate anybody at this stage of the competition," said Seacrest.  "Tonight, we're going to say goodbye to Michael Johns.  It's the end of the road for Mr. Johns."

"Based on the performance Michael, I think you knew it wasn't the right song. You have to learn a lesson from this," Cowell told Johns after his elimination was announced.  "But I'm going to miss you.  You're a very, very good singer."

During the broadcast, Seacrest also revealed this year's Idol Gives Back charity event has raised "over $60 million" -- and donations were still being accepted during last night's broadcast. Idol sixth-season champ Jordin Sparks and R&B star Chris Brown also performed their new single "No Air," which currently sits at No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.

Idol's Top 7 seventh-season finalists -- David ArchuletaJason Castro, Kristy Lee Cook, David CookBrooke White, Mercado, and Smithson -- will all take the stage and perform during next week's live one-hour performance episode broadcast beginning Tuesday at 8PM ET/PT.

On Wednesday beginning at 9PM ET/PT, another finalist will be eliminated from the competition based on home viewer votes, revealing the season's Top 6 finalists.

(Photo credit Michael Becker/FOX)


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