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'American Idol' sends Haley Scarnato home, reveals its Top 7 finalists


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/12/2007 

Haley Scarnato became the fifth finalist eliminated from American Idol's sixth season during Wednesday night's live broadcast of the Fox reality show's results show.

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The 24-year-old San Antonio, TX native was sent packing after "over 35 million votes" -- which Idol host Ryan Seacrest said was the "highest" total of the season -- were cast based on Tuesday night's live performances.

"American Idol truly is a blessing,"  Scarnato said during a video montage of her Idol journey.  "The door opens a little bit, and it's given me the fire to really continue this.  I'm living what I've been trying to get to all my life.  I just want to enjoy every bit of it."

Scarnato performed "Turn the Beat Around" during Tuesday night's Idol broadcast.  Idol judge Randy Jackson thought it was "really karaoke;" Paula Abdul commented "it's not a singer's song, it's a fun song;" while Simon Cowell said he "couldn't understand most of what" Scarnato was singing.

Before revealing she was among the bottom vote getters, Seacrest asked Scarnato how she felt about Cowell's other comments from Tuesday night that she was using a "very good tactic" by wearing "the least amount of clothes as possible" because she "can't do well in this competition based on [her] voice because there are much better singers."

"[I was] not necessarily offended... but it hurt a little bit," said Scarnato.  "I'm not going to wear anything I feel is completely inappropriate... it was fun."


Haley Scarnato performs during Tuesday night's American Idol Top 8 finalists performance show (Photo credit Frank Micelotta/FOX)
Prior to Scarnato's elimination, Seacrest had revealed that Chris Richardson, a 22-year-old from Chesapeake, VA who sang "Smooth," and Phil Stacey, a 29-year-old from Jacksonville, FL who sang "Maria Maria"  were the other two members of the week's bottom three vote-getters.  The results marked the third week in a row that both Stacey and Scarnato had been members of the week's bottom three vote-getters.

"I feel good to be here... I'm blessed," Stacey told Seacrest.

American Idol's sixth season Top 8 were mentored by Jennifer Lopez on Tuesday night and performed Latin songs.  Last night,  J.Lo performed her single "Que Hiciste," marking the first time a guest artist sang entirely in Spanish on the show.  Following the performance she told Seacrest she "comes from the Paula school of criticism" and then offered her thoughts on the finalists.

"A lot of them impressed me," she said.  "It's such a hard thing.  A lot of people don't realize -- you get used to the show, it's been a couples seasons now -- it's so much pressure to come up here and do what they do every week.  I really do take my hat off to everybody."

Last night was also the first extended hour-long broadcast of Idol 6's resutls show.  Fox filled the time with rapper Akon performing "Don't Matter;" having Seacrest schmooze with the judges; having the Top 8 perform "Bailamos;" showing some clips of Cowell's trip to Africa to promote Idol Gives Back; airing a video of J.Lo mentoring the contestants; and sending Seacrest to Los Angeles' Farmer Market to get some "buzz" from fans on Tuesday night's performances.  In addition, Seacrest said Idol has already received "over 5,000 entries" for Idol 6's songwriting competition.

American Idol's seven remaining sixth season finalists -- Melinda Doolittle, Sanjaya MalakarPhil Stacey, Lakisha Jones, Blake Lewis, Chris Richardson and Jordin Sparks -- will all perform live on Tuesday, April 17 beginning at 8PM ET on Fox and will be mentored by country singer Martina McBride.  Then on Wednesday, April 18 at 9PM ET the field of finalists wil be narrowed to six.


(Photo credit Fox)


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