America voted, and now it's back to real life for "American Idol" contestants Garrett Haley, Amy Davis, Joanne Borgella and Colton Berry, who were all eliminated during Thursday night's episode — the first time during the seventh season of the top-rated series that the viewers have had their say.
The tension was palpable Thursday, which marked the first cut for the show's much-lauded top 24 since Hollywood Week. But before the credits began to roll — and after the self-serving world premiere of "Idol" judge Paula Abdul's new video, "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" — the contestants, all sporting fashions from the '60s, were down to 20.
The pale, shaggy-haired Haley, 17, from Elida, Ohio, was the first to go. He sang "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" during Tuesday's episode, and was a favorite target of judge Simon Cowell, who claimed the aspiring singer looked as though he'd been locked in his bedroom for a month and needed some fresh air. "I haven't gone tanning, so I'm being myself," he said, just before exiting the stage.
Next to go was the comely Davis, 25, from Lowell, Indiana, who fought back tears and trembled nervously through her final "Idol" performance, tackling Connie Francis' "Where the Boys Are." Abdul told Davis she needed more experience before she could progress in such a competition.
Then Borgella, 25, a plus-size model from Hoboken, New Jersey, who sang Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer" on Wednesday, was sent home (Cowell called her song choice "horrible"), as was Colton Berry, 18, from Staunton, Virginia. Like Borgella, Berry was one of the last contestants to enter the top 24, but Cowell was perhaps more critical of his time on "Idol."
"I would say get a good job and enjoy singing [as a hobby]," Cowell offered, as his parting words of wisdom. "Because I don't think you'll make a successful career out of it."
"American Idol," which is currently airing three times a week, will return to a twice-weekly schedule starting March 11, when the countdown begins on the show's final dozen. The "Idol" champ will be crowned in May.
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