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'American Idol' eliminates Jax, Nick Fradiani has the edge over Clark Beckham going into finale


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/13/2015 

American Idol eliminated Jax and determined its two fourteenth-season finale contestants, who each performed three songs in the hope of being crowned champion.

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During Tuesday night's performance show, Idol host Ryan Seacrest ousted Jax from the competition within the first five minutes of the broadcast. Seacrest revealed only 0.4% separated Jax from the next lowest votegetter.

"This was the beginning of something magical. No matter what I do on that stage, I want people to smile or I want them to cry. I just want them to feel it, because that's the purpose of all art. For me, this show has been life altering. The stage was the ultimate platform to get myself out there and speak to the world. I believe this is the start of something big," Jax said in a video montage that played following her ouster.

Jax's elimination ultimately set up a Clark Beckham vs. Nick Fradiani showdown in the finale.

Clark and Nick were then required to perform three songs for America's vote. They had to repeat their favorite performance of the season, sing a song selected for them by American Idol creator Simon Fuller, and then debut what their single would be if they were to win the competition and be crowned the next "American Idol."

For Round 1, Clark relived his performance of "Georgia On My Mind." Judge Keith Urban said it was a soulful performance and made him think of "flapjacks drenched in syrup." Judge Jennifer Lopez said he reminded everyone why he's still there, and judge Harry Connick Jr. explained his vocals were like an undercurrent that drove the song and pushed it musically.

Nick took the stage and gave an encore performance of "Bright Lights." Jennifer said Nick is probably Simon's dream for an "American Idol" because he's got the look, presence and voice. Harry dubbed it a great performance.

Jennifer said Round 1 was a tie, but Harry later explained he thought Clark won.

For Simon's pick, Clark sang "Ain't No Sunshine." Jennifer called it beautiful, heartfelt and amazing. Harry noted that he's an inward singer, while Nick is outward. Harry said it was like comparing apples with oranges.

Simon decided to give Nick "I Won't Give Up." Keith explained it was a great song choice and it showed beautiful heart. Jennifer told Nick it was the perfect song for him, and then Harry noted Nick delivered an emotional performance that was at his best.

While Jennifer wanted to call Round 2 a tie again, Harry insisted Nick had won it.

For Round 3, music industry pros created a song for Clark called "Champion." The judges didn't seem to think it was a great fit because they said although it sounded great and the song is inspiring, it was obvious it was a completely new song for the Clark -- meaning he didn't appear very comfortable with it.

A song called "Beautiful Life" was created just for Nick, and that was a different story. Harry commented how the song seemed tailored for him because it was simply perfect. Keith said he'd go out to buy his album with that song on it, and Jennifer noted it was amazing.

At the end of Tuesday night's broadcast, Keith revealed he believes Nick has the edge going into Wednesday night's fourteenth-season finale.

"I lean a little into Nick's camp by a narrow margin," Keith told Ryan.

The winner of American Idol will receive a recording contract with Big Machine Label Group and the chance to sing the National Anthem for the Fox Sports coverage of the Women's World Cup.




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