hopefuls Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez were asking for the following Wednesday during the evening’s elimination round. Oh baby, give me one more chance!
For the pair who came up flat during Tuesday’s top 13 performance round, the answer was no, and Murray and Nuñez were ushered out of American Idol competition Wednesday. They lacked support of call-in voters and a judge intervention alike.
Murray, a 16-year-old high school student, was the first finalist dismissed from the show’s eighth season. The youngster from Starkville, Miss. who packs a potent vocal punch in a smallish 5?2? frame, sang Michael Jackson’s I’ll Be There on Tuesday.
Judges found it a serviceable effort, but lacking personality.
Lead judge Simon Cowell found Murray’s cover “bland…a bit old-fashioned.”
Nunez, a 20-year-old from Carolina, Puerto Rico didn’t fare much better, struggling with the rapid-fire English articulation within Jackson Five hit Never Can Say Goodbye. The effervescent Nuñez saw the song choice as the lesser of evils.
Last week, Nunez, more comfortable with the plodding pace of Elton John classic Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, admitted he “thinks in Spanish” as his anxiety increases.
“I wasn’t going to sing Bad by Michael Jackson,” he told judges Tuesday.
“Well, you kind of did,” Cowell replied.
Wednesday’s episode began with the announcement of a new twist in the singing competition’s structure. Judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi and Cowell may elect to save one contestant from being eliminated — from now until the top five finalists are selected. The move would require the four-person panel’s unanimous consent. Upon agreement, an additional contestant would be sent packing the following week.
During the new rule’s first night in effect, judges gave neither singer one more chance.
Jackson gave an apologetic “sorry” to Murray, while Cowell had no problem saying goodbye to Nunez; with an apathetic, stern “no,” a light scoff and a sour look of into the distance.
Anoop Desai survived despite a highly karaoke take on untouchable tune Beat It. Newsday.com writer Jamshid Mousavinez had recently given a bull’s eye analysis of the North Carolina grad student’s disposition, stating that Desai will become a contest force when he “stops messing around, just goes out there and sings…instead of worrying about appealing to the girls.”
Translated: C’mon! Get serious, Dawg!
Guest performers Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson — the original American Idol champion — commanded the stage in front of a packed Nokia concert hall and more than 22.7 million at-home viewers. West and Clarkson offered a premium product that reminded us why American Idol life would’ve sucked (or at least been diminished) without them.