In the space of two weeks, two of the three Alabamans on "American Idol" who entered the Top 7 have been eliminated. And on the Top 6 results show Thursday night, not only was a second Alabaman sent home, the third was in the bottom.
Still, according to Lyndsey Parker's recap of the Top 6 results show at Yahoo TV April 24, the elimination was the "correct and expected decision by America." She also noted that what was not right about the results was Jessica Meuse even being in the bottom two. (And Parker is absolutely correct.)
But how did it get like this? Blame it on America -- for the low votes. Blame it on the judges -- for saving Sam Woolf from elimination on the first Top 8 show. Blame it on the finalists themselves for not stepping up with better song selections and performances to combat the inevitable sympathy vote that eliminated-and-saved finalists always receive. (Remember: In Season 11, Jessica Sanchez was eliminated and saved in the eighth position, then went on to be the season's runner-up.)
Regardless, two Alabamans made the bottom two on the Top 6 results show. And this is how it played out:
Host Ryan Seacrest called Sam Woolf, Caleb Johnson, and C. J. Harris to the stage. The first to make the Top 5: Sam Woolf. It was a bit of a surprise, given his propensity for finding the bottom and the fact he has been eliminated once before. And then there are all those wooden performances. But, hey, America voted and...
Caleb Johnson saw his face on the big screen at the back of the "Idol" stage next. So C. J. Harris took a seat on one of the Silver Stools of Uncertainty.
The other three finalists -- Jena Irene, Alex Preston, and Jessic Meuse -- then hit the stage. Jena Irene was soon joining her fellow Top 5 colleagues. Then Alex Preston's image appeared on the big screen, leaving Jessica Meuse to join C. J. on the stools.
When asked if America had chosen the right two for the bottom, Judge Harry Connick Jr. said that there was no real "right" two at this stage of the competition. It was simply a matter of who got the least number of votes and got voted off.
But in some cases, there is an unfairness that surfaces. After Jessica Meuse's two riveting performances on Wednesday night's performance show, there was no reason for her to be in the bottom. Sam Woolf and his nonexistent stage presence and his barely not monotone vocals (even though his Top 6 performances were an improvement over prior weeks) deserved to be there. And one could make the case that Alex Preston's poorly performed "Animal" (Neon Trees) should have put him in the bottom (given that neither of Jessica's tunes were anywhere near poorly performed).
Yet, there she was. In the bottom two. For a second consecutive week.
After the break, Ryan announced that the finalist leaving "American Idol" was... C. J. Harris.
After watching the obligatory "journey" video clip, C. J. performed the song that may have been his best performance on the show: Marshal Tucker Band's "Can't You See."
Judge Jennifer Lopez was tearing up even before the first note of the song sounded. Halfway through the performance, the remaining finalists filed up on stage, high-fiving and hugging their departing friend and competitor. He didn't complete the song, opting for a group hug at center stage while Rick Minor and the band played on. Family members soon joined the group on stage and C. J.'s mother told Ryan how proud she was of her son.
There weren't many dry eyes to be found.
"American Idol" returns next week with the Top 5 finalists singing "America's Requests," two songs chosen for them by voters.
"American Idol" airs on Fox Television on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. and Thursday nights at 9 p.m. (EST).