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American Idol has lost its comic relief: Heejun Han, the New Yorker whose perpetual smirk kept viewers wondering whether he took the show seriously, said goodbye Thursday night, leaving eight remaining finalists in his wake.
Han reprised his rendition of Donny Hathaway‘s “A Song For You,” but judges declined to use their “save” privilege to keep him in the competition.
Han, 22, made a concerted effort this week to revamp his petulant, jokester image followed consistent criticism from Jimmy Iovine, who dismissed the contestant a comedian rather than a singer.
Behold, the hopefuls left standing: Elise Testone, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez, Deandre Brackensick, Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh.
Cavanagh and Laine wound up in the bottom three along with Han.
Iovine, who just might have more connections in the music industry than Simon Cowell, recruited Stevie Nicks to guest mentor on Wednesday’s episode, wherein contestants sang songs by their respective idols.
The legendary singer-songswriter openly crushed on Phillips, the 20-year-old Georgia rocker whom she said would have been asked to join Fleetwood Mac if it were the ’70s. “Last but not least, he’s gorgeous,” she cooed.
Said Iovine: “Whenever she likes someone has much as she likes Phillip Phillips, she’s very rarely wrong. … He was flawless.”
Nicki Minaj performed her dance-y single “Starships,” sporting a mullet dress (short in the front, party in the back, surprisingly tame for the style daredevil).
“I was hoping maybe I could come back and be a guest judge,” Minaj told Ryan Seacrest afterward, adding: “J-Lo, can you scoot over a little bit?”
Also gracing the Idol stage: ex-champ Scotty McCreery, singing “Water Tower Town” (and apparently sporting the same black shirt he wore on every episode last season). Iovine came out onstage to present the country singer with a plaque commemorating his success.
Eric Benet dropped by to pay his respects to Brackensick, who performed the R&B crooner’s “Sometimes I Cry” to much acclaim from the judges’ panel. Benet, who was once married to Halle Berry (and really, that’s all we can think about when we think about Eric Benet), gushed: “You have such a beautiful, unique voice and that song was tailor-made for you.”
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