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Published: Thursday, 4/27/2006

'Unchained Melody' sets her free from show

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kellie Pickler, 19, gave a disappointing performance. Kellie Pickler, 19, gave a disappointing performance.
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America decided not to "pick Pickler" last night and sent bubbly 19-year-old Kellie Pickler on a one-way trip back home to Albemarle, N.C.

"I want to thank all of you guys for voting and want to thank all you Kellie fans out there for making all my dreams come true," she said when it was revealed that she was the lowest vote-getter.

Pickler, who had never landed as a bottom vote-getter prior to last night, failed to make America swoon when she sang a disappointing "Unchained Melody" on Tuesday, making the judges cringe for the second consecutive week.

"I thought it was like the never-ending song," said critical judge Simon Cowell. "It was so bland. You were like a robot during that performance."

Judge Randy Jackson told Pickler that she had pitch problems with the song that he characterized as the wrong song for her voice.

Even lenient judge Paula Abdul voiced criticism. "I don't see you raising the bar each week," she told Pickler. "At this point it is about greatness, and I didn't see that from you."

Also joining Pickler in the bottom two was Paris Bennett, 17, of Fayetteville, Ga., who sang "The Way We Were" on Tuesday. Her song was characterized as "pretty good" by the judges, though Abdul told her she oversang the song a bit.

Out of the record 47.5 million votes cast last night - representing the highest number of votes cast for a nonfinale American Idol episode - Katharine McPhee, 21, of Los Angeles and Chris Daughtry, 26, of McLeansville, N.C., received the highest number of votes.

While the judges loved Daughtry's version of "Have You Every Really Loved a Woman" on Tuesday, they were harsh with McPhee, who sang "I Have Nothing." Cowell apologized to her last night after he said he watched Tuesday's episode on tape.

On Tuesday, the six remaining contestants crooned to classical love songs after practicing with legendary classical artist Andrea Bocelli, who performed "Because We Believe" from his platinum album "Amore" last night.

One contestant will be booted from the show every Wednesday after battling it out each Tuesday in their quest to become the next American Idol. The winner will be announced on May 24.



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