Phillip Phillips was given his first taste of the bottom two, but it was Hollie Cavanagh who was eliminated from "American Idol" on Thursday (May 10).
Cavanagh, the 18-year-old from McKinney, Texas, received the lowest number of votes from the nearly 70 million votes cast, according to host Ryan Seacrest. Cavanagh received harsh marks for her performance of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" on Wednesday's performance episode; Randy Jackson called it "the wrong choice at the wrong time."
Cavanagh just missed a trip back to Texas as part of the top three "Hometown Heroes" visits, which happen on next week's show.
The Liverpudlian kept it together while singing Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" at the close of the show, though her close friend Joshua Ledet was shown tearing up nearby onstage.
Mentor Jimmy Iovine had all but written off Cavanagh after "I Can't Make You Love Me." "I assumed she understood the core of the song. Evidently, she did not," Iovine said in his weekly roundup of the week's performances. "She did not have the personal experience or the professional experience to take on this song. When the chorus came in, she hit the opera button. And at that moment, I felt she crashed and burned and lost out to those other three singers."
He had high praise for the others. He said Phillip Phillips "finally delivered on the promise that we've been looking for all year" with his version of Damien Rice's "Volcano"; Jessica Sanchez "murdered" her performance of the "Dreamgirls" hit "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going, "referring to it as "shock and awe"; and Ledet "created a piece of magic that is very rarely seen on the "American Idol" stage" with his take on James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." "I've seen Prince, I've seen Bruce Springsteen do that, but I've never seen that on 'American Idol,' " Iovine said. "It was so, so captivating. I want to see it again and again and again."
Iovine added that he thinks the competition is up for grabs. "Last year, I knew Scotty was gonna win the whole thing. This year, I haven't got a clue who's going to get into the final," he said. "Any one of them, with the right song and the right note, can steal the show. It's up to them and, eventually, America's vote."
When the results were read, Sanchez was the first one told she made the top three, followed by Ledet.
Also on the show, seventh-season "Idol" winner David Cook dropped by to perform "The Last Song I'll Write for You," and Jennifer Lopez turned in a performance of her song "Dance Again."
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