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After Wednesday’s performance night of Beatles songs, it seemed apparent that “She’s Leaving Home” would not be the theme on Thursday.
After all, this season is American Idol’s year of the woman, and in case viewers missed that memo, all five girls got together Fifth Harmony style for a group rendition of “Here, There and Everywhere” in the middle of Thursday’s results show.
No, the appropriate theme song was more likely, “Nowhere Man,” as season 12 will be known from here on out as the end of the “White Guy With the Guitar” era, as America purged yet another male singer from the show. This time, Paul Jolley was shown the door.
Jolley’s version of “Eleanor Rigby,” previously handled by season-seven winner David Cook and season-nine finalist Michael Lynche, failed to resonate with Idol viewers, and his appearance in the bottom three did not shock Jimmy Iovine, who earlier in the show said the 23-year-old Palmersville, Tenn. native had a good voice, but was “not ready for primetime.”
“He did make some very simple mistakes,” he said.
Joining Jolley in the bottom three were Devin Velez and — surprise! — Amber Holcomb, whose performance of “She’s Leaving Home” almost turned out to be prophetic.
“I definitely think Amber should not be in the bottom three,” said Nicki Minaj. “That’s common sense.”
As for the remaining top eight, Iovine had a laundry list of descriptions for each of them. To wit: Angie Miller is “too dramatic”; Candice Glover is “the natural”; Kree Harrison is “great” when she isn’t oversinging; and Velez has a “great ear.”
Iovine disagreed with America, as Holcomb was in his top three. He was clearly miffed with Burnell Taylor for his lack of knowledge of Beatles songs, and had choice words for Lazaro Arbos, whom he practically called a liar regarding his lack of preparation for what he said was the “worst performance of the night.” To make his point, Iovine hammered away at Arbos (saved by sympathetic Idol voters) like an angry school teacher, pointing out that the Florida ice-cream scooper had five days to learn his song.
The Interscope label head also had plenty of ire for the judges, whom he felt were not helping the contestants enough with their constant positivity.
“Critique is good, as long as it’s consistent,” he said. “But you can’t coddle people.”
So, we say goodbye to Jolley, but shed no tears. He still has a spot on the tour this summer, and, as a small consolation, he was given his own “Paul Jolley Day,” which Ryan Seacrest presented to the young hopeful before dashing all of his confetti dreams with a trip to the stools of doom.
Also appearing on the show was season 10 alum Casey Abrams, who re-interpreted “I Saw Her Standing There” with his stand-up bass and jazz-man style.
Jessica Sanchez returned to the Idol stage in grand style, performing her new single, “Tonight” with special guest Ne–Yo. Sanchez looked super-comfortable in the pop genre and added something to season 12 that has been lacking for weeks: up-tempo energy. We hope the top eight take a cue from her for next week’s Motown-themed show.
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