• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest
MAY
10
3 YEARS

'American Idol' Elimination Night: Who Made the Final 3?

SPOILER ALERT: On a night that featured performances by Season 7 champ David Cook and judge Jennifer Lopez, one contestant was sent home.

american idol season 11 top 3
Michael Becker / FOX

With just two weeks until the finale, American Idol’s top four discovered who was going home for a hero’s welcome and a parade,  and who was just going home on Thursday night’s results show.

STORY: American Idol's' David Cook Guests on Next Episode of THR's 'Idol Hangover'

Fourth place is an iconic position in American Idol history. Two of the most successful Idol alums, James Durbin and Chris Daughtry, both finished there, as host Ryan Seacrest informed viewers last night in a rambling, drawn-out soliloquy in the most delayed announcement EVER on the show.

To nobody’s surprise, perpetual bottom-dweller Hollie Cavanagh, who landed in the bottom three a staggering six times this season, was sent home.

To her credit, Cavanagh hung in there despite receiving rough criticism weekly from all three judges, most notably Jennifer Lopez, who claimed she was merely trying to push the British-born singer to improve.

VIDEO: 'American Idol's' Season 11: Top 13 Finalists Red Carpet Interviews 

"I remember that first audition like it was yesterday," said Lopez. "Just to see [you] now, on that first song you did yesterday [Journey’s “Faithfully”], and see you so composed and collected....For you, as an artist, that was a moment where you felt in control on stage."

Interscope executive Jimmy Iovine cited Cavanagh’s second performance of Bonnie Raitt’s  “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as the song that did her in.

“I assumed she understood the core of the song. Evidently, she did not,” he said.

PHOTOS: 'American Idol' Season 11: Top 13 Finalists

As for the other singers, Joshua Ledet in particular drew a rave review from Iovine for his take on the James Brown classic, “It’s A Man’s Man’s World," calling it a “piece of magic that is very rarely seen on the American Idol stage."

"It sounded like he was speaking in tongues," Iovine said. "I've seen Prince, I've seen Bruce Springsteen do that, but I've never seen that on American Idol."

Lest we think it was all moonbeams and rainbows for Ledet, Iovine did have criticism of his overuse of gospel singing on Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.”

“You can't use that trick every time on every song," he said. "In my opinion, ‘You Raise Me Up' let him down.”

PHOTOS: 'American Idol Live' Tour In Pictures

Iovine revealed that his personal friend, Sony executive and industry legend Tommy Mottola had praised Jessica Sanchez. Mottola apparently plans on going to her first concert, and had called her "the real thing."

Specifically, Sanchez’s emotional connection to the Dreamgirls centerpiece “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” impressed Iovine.

“She murdered it,” she said.

Between Sanchez’s killer performances and Ledet’s countless standing ovations, you would think the final two are set in stone. You would be wrong. Don’t count out Phillip Phillips, whose intense version of Damien Rice’s “Volcano” took Iovine by surprise.

“Phillip finally delivered on the promise we've been looking for all year,” he said. “It was all magnificent. If I had seen that in a club on a cold night, I'd sign him right there.”

PHOTOS: An 'American Idol' to 'X Factor' Timeline 

In other news, season 7 winner David Cook returned to the Idol stage to unveil a new song, “The Last Song I’ll Write For You,” and proved why he is in the Idol hall of fame. Meanwhile, Lopez played with her new boy toy and backing dancer, Casper Smart, performing her latest hit, “Dance Again,” less than a year after backing then-husband Marc Anthony during the season 10 finale.

Did the right person go home? What do you think, Worshippers?