With the fate of their futures in America s hands, American Idol s top 24 singers were whittled down to just 20 last night.
Not making the cut was Ohio s own Garrett Haley, 17, a junior at Elida High School, about seven miles northwest of Lima.
His rendition of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do for 60s week was called boring by two of the three judges on Tuesday.
You gotta bring something new and interesting to it, Judge Randy Jackson told the teen with the shoulder-length, wavy brown hair. You had a couple of pitch problems, and it was just kinda boring.
Judge Simon Cowell said Haley wasn t relevant like today s recording artists, and even took some jabs at the singer s fair skin tone.
It was boring, your voice sounded a bit whiney, you looked terrified, and it looks
like you ve been shut up in your bedroom for about a month, he said.
Even after the harsh critique, Haley stayed positive when it was revealed last night that he was the first of the four heading home.
I m happy with the way I am, he said. I wouldn t change a thing.
The last time a performer from northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan made it to a
semifi nal round on American Idol was back in 2003. Candice Coleman, then 22, of Toledo also made it into the top 24 during Season 2 before she was voted off the show.
The three others eliminated from the show last night were Amy Davis, 25, of Lowell, Ind.; Joanne Borgella, 25, of Hoboken, N.J., and Colton Berry, 18, of Staunton, Va.
This week was the first time this season that America was given a chance to vote to keep their favorite contestants on the show, and more than 28 million votes were
tallied for the contestants on the popular Fox reality TV show.
The top 10 men will again compete for America s votes on Tuesday, followed by the top 10 women, who will sing on Wednesday.
NEW YORK Carly Smithson progressed on American Idol Thursday amid controversy over her professional past.
Smithson, 24, has made headlines for having a pre- Idol career: The Irish crooner recorded a debut album, 2001 s Ultimate High, for MCA Records. It flopped after the label spent more than $2 million trying to sell it.
The show s gimmick has always been to pluck talented young hopefuls from obscurity and make them into recording artists.
Besides Smithson, several of this year s semifinalists are not exactly rookies in the world of music. Kristy Lee Cook once had a deal with Arista Nashville, and rocker Robbie Carrico was part of the pop group Boyz N Girlz United.
If they hadn t already tried to make a name for themselves, then they don t deserve to be in (the) competition, said judge Paula Abdul, defending the contestants real-world experience.
Abdul added that Kelly Clarkson had pursued a recording career before her Idol win.
Now for the losers: Garrett Haley, Amy Davis, Joanne Borgella and Colton Berry were eliminated by viewers getting their first chance to vote in the top-rated talent contest s seventh season.
Haley, who sang Breaking Up is Hard to Do, was the first one booted. Simon Cowell said Tuesday that the Elida, Ohio, resident looked like he had been locked in his bedroom for a month and needed some fresh air.
I haven t gone tanning, so I m being myself, the 17-year-old said before exiting the stage.
Abdul told the telegenic Davis, 25, from Lowell, Ind., that she needed more experience. You re a beautiful, talented girl, she reassured.
Borgella, a 25-year-old plus-size model from Hoboken, N.J., failed to impress Cowell with her somewhat shrill rendition of I Say a Little Prayer.
It was a horrible song choice, and it wasn t a great performance, the acerbic judge said.
I know I sing better than that, responded Borgella.
Cowell was especially harsh toward the 18-year-old Berry: I would say get a good job, and enjoy singing. Because I don t think you ll make a successful career out of it.
Berry, from Staunton, Va., took the bad news in stride and closed the show with a spirited cover of Suspicious Minds.
Thursday s show also featured a presentation of the music video for Abdul s new single, Dance Like There s No Tomorrow. It drew a warm reception from the studio audience and a smile and kiss on the cheek from Cowell.
American Idol, now running three times a week, will return to a twice-weekly schedule March 11 for the elimination of the final dozen. The decision-making finale will be held in May.