Elliott Yamin sent home as 'American Idol 5' reveals its finale finalists
By Reality TV World staff, 05/18/2006
American Idol eliminated the tenth of its fifth season finalists during last night's live result show broadcast, sending Elliott Yamin home after an extremely tight round of home viewer voting that left Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee to face off in next week's season finale.
With only three finalists left, Tuesday night's performance show had required each remaining Idol to perform three songs -- one that was selected by Clive Davis, the chairman of BMG, the show's recording partner; another that was selected by an Idol judge that was assigned to each finalist; and a third song that was of each finalist's own choosing.
Yamin had performed Journey's "Open Arms" (Davis' choice), Bobby Caldwell's "What You Won't Do For Love" (Idol judge Paula Abdul's choice, and the Donny Hathaway version of "Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul" (his own selection) during Tuesday's performance show.
As a former Journey member, Idol judge Randy Jackson had been concerned about Yamin's ability to handle the song, but in the end, he felt that Yamin had "worked it out." Idol judge Simon Cowell wasn't so generous, praising his boss's song choice (shocker) but telling Yamin it "wasn't a great performance" and he could "do better than that."
While the judges agreed Abdul had selected a good second song for Elliott, they were split on his performance of it. "I don't think it was your best performance, you were a little sharp for most of the song" remarked Jackson. Cowell disagreed. "The style suited you very well, I actually thought you sang that pretty good."
Elliott Yamin performs on American Idol's May 16 performance show. (photo credit Ray Mickshaw/FOX)
Although they agreed it was difficult song, both Jackson and Abdul enjoyed Yamin's performance of "I Believe to My Soul," his own selection. "I don't believe that this was the perfect song for you, but you can definitely sing man, so you did a good job no matter what it is," said Jackson "You nail it... you're very soulful... you're a funky white boy," Abdul, who'd made no secret that Yamin was her favorite finalist, remarked.
However in the end, only Cowell seemed willing to confront the reality that no matter what he did, Yamin -- whom many Idol observers had already thought may have been eliminated last week -- was unlikely to survive the show's final pre-finale vote. "Elliott, your songs are not going to carry you through to next week, however you are a great guy, you are a great singer, and no matter whatever happens you will make your mom very proud for what you you've achieved in this competition," stated Cowell.
Since there were only three contestants left, Idol host Ryan Seacrest didn't bother to attempt to drum up additional suspense by announcing the week's bottom two vote-getters. Instead, after filling up the first 53 minutes of the expanded full hour results show with video of each finalist's hometown visits, another round of encore performances, and an insomnia-inducing appearance by Davis, the show simply revealed three figures on its giant viewscreen: 33.06%, 33.26%, and 33.68%, numbers that represented each finalist's share of the more than 50 million votes -- a new performance show record -- that Idol viewers had cast.
The figures meant that even with over 50 million votes cast, only about 300,000 votes separated the first place finisher from the last finisher -- and only about 100,000 votes would separate the second place finisher and the finalist who would be going home. "It doesn't get any closer than that," said Seacrest. A few seconds later, the screen revealed that Yamin would be going home.
Yamin took the news of his elimination well. "I'll be alright," he told Hicks and McPhee as they shared one final group hug. "I've very proud and honored and I hope it doesn't stop here," he told Seacrest. "This is a great catapult, a great stepping stone that most new artists don't ever get to experience and I am truly blessed and privileged to have taken advantage of this opportunity."
Next week, Hicks and McPhee will face off in Tuesday's broadcast of American Idol 5's final performance show. The next night, Idol will crown its fifth season winner at the conclusion of its special two-hour season finale broadcast.