After over 60 million votes, country twang diva Skylar Laine, 20, found out that she finished in fifth place on what has proven to be a highly competitive season of American Idol. Laine, who performed CCR's "Fortunate Son" and Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," had been given a huge thumbs-up from judge Jennifer Lopez on Wednesday.
After booting off raspy-voiced Elise Testone on Thursday, American Idol is down to five remaining contestants — diminutive balladeer Jessica Sanchez, twang diva Skylar Laine, heartbreaking alt-rocker Phillip Phillips, sultan of soul Joshua Ledet and big-voiced clinger-on Hollie Cavanagh.
After last week's sensational near-elimination of Jessica Sanchez, American Idol voters were going to have to do something really crazy to drop the collective jaw of the judges panel. They came close on Thursday, booting off skunk-haired, skinny-jean-loving, nose-wrinkingly cutie Colton Dixon, 20, who originally followed his sister to his first Idol audition and ended up in the Top 7.
Thursday night's American Idol was one of the most shocking elimination episodes in recent memory. Contestant Jessica Sanchez, 16, who has widely been favorited to win the title this year, was announced as the lowest vote-getter after Wednesday's performance round, and judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson interrupted Sanchez's final performance to tell America that they were using their only chance to save Sanchez from elimination.
With only seven contestants left, American Idol is getting down to the wire, and the judges seem to be sensing that pretty soon, one of their favorites is going to be knocked out of the competition. Only poor Hollie Cavanagh, who was in the bottom two last week, receieved a lukewarm response from both the audience and judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.
American Idol's top eight contestants journeyed back to the '80s on Wednesday with songs from the Reagan era, including hits by Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper and Bette Midler. No Doubt's Gwen Stefani was on hand to provide her expert guidance, which bumped contestants Skylar Laine and Joshua Ledet back into the running for America's next pop star.
A true living legend stopped by American Idol on Wednesday night's show to coach the nine hopeful remaining contestants — Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac was brought in by her former romantic partner and Idol mentor, Jimmy Iovine.
Following a nationwide vote and another tense two-hour results show Thursday night, American Idol is just 13 steps away from naming the next superstar in pop music. With 33 million votes cast, host Ryan Seacrest was once again tasked with breaking a few hearts as he announced who America had chosen, but not before Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine appeared via videotape to breath a little life into the show with some Simon Cowell-esque brutality.