April 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM ET
Curly-topped high-school senior DeAndre Brackensick is heading home to San Jose, Calif., after getting booted Thursday from “American Idol,” but it didn't come as a huge surprise.
After the studio audience filed out, the heartbroken teen spent close to 10 minutes soliciting last words of advice from the judges at center stage -- and admitted he knew the end was near.
“My mama told me this was gonna be the day,” he told the judges. “She kind of predicted it. I felt it too.”
DeAndre now admits his “Idol” experience came with a hefty price tag: “My family is kind of in a spot with the mortgage and stuff. My mom had to come a long with me, so we had to jeopardize that. And I had to take a leave of absence from school, which kind of put me behind a little bit."
“But in the end, it was worth it,” the 17-year-old insisted. “The experience alone was humbling.”
DeAndre’s two year "Idol" journey (he narrowly missed the Top 24 on season 10) came to a teary end after his longtime cheerleader Jennifer Lopez was the only one who offered him a coveted “save” vote.
Lopez, DeAndre said, “just told me to let my guard down and my defenses down. But just tonight. I am usually a crybaby. But just tonight, I wanted to end on a happy note.”
And it sounds like he'll be carrying that happy note back home. He’s arriving just in time for a big event -- prom night.
"I'm just glad that I finally get to go to a prom that I'm going to actually enjoy," he told TODAY.com moments after the not-so-shocking elimination. "Every dance I've ever had, I was either a ticket-taker or a coat-taker because I was just so uncomfortable with myself."
Seven hopefuls -- Hollie Cavanagh, Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone -- remain in the running to become this year’s "American Idol."
Now that DeAndre's no longer in it to win it, who are you rooting for on "Idol"? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
Sean Daly runs the blog SingersAndCritics.com, which covers reality singing-competition shows.