Pop Culture

Adios! 'Idol' sends Karen Rodriguez packing

On a day when much of the nation was trying to keep an eye on both “American Idol” and the college basketball, the battle between two of the lowest vote-getters looked an awful lot like an opening-round game between mediocre teams in the NCAA tournament.

It was Karen Rodriguez and Haley Reinhart who found themselves under the uncomfortable center stage spotlight. The former wasn’t great in either English or Spanish on Wednesday, while the latter has spent the past three weeks flailing to find her comfort zone.

It was Rodriguez who received the lowest number of votes and had the task of singing for her show survival. She did well enough in her last-chance performance Thursday to have judge Jennifer Lopez lobby the other judges for her, but not enough to earn the save.

“My mom believes in me!” Rodriguez said at one point in her final plea. But as she also said, “I know it’s all about the votes,” and she got too few to avoid finishing in 12th place.

Who Haley wants to be
Though Reinhart did enough to stick around another week, she didn’t inspire a lot of confidence that she’s figured out who she wants to be as an artist yet. She'll have a long road to travel if she hopes to become a contender.

“If I could put it all together, I’d love to do rock and funk and blues all into one. I’ve got to find what that is, but I feel like I’ve got it inside of me,” she said after host Ryan Seacrest asked her if she’d found her musical path yet.

Kind of a tall order, but at least she gets another week to make that effort to connect.

Remember me?
Lee DeWyze was back on the “Idol” stage for the first time since winning the season nine title. Ryan introduced him by noting that he’d gone from “salesman to superstar overnight.”

True enough, but since then he’s been more like “ordinary guy trying to make it in the music business.” If nothing else, that’s a cautionary tale illustrating that getting the most votes in May doesn’t always translate into getting the most downloads the following March.

Not like me
Ryan reminded judge Steven Tyler that he had agreed Wednesday night to perform onstage with James Durbin ... if Durbin makes the finale. It seemed the host felt like having an extremely nervous Durbin onstage with him — a singer desperately eager for Ryan to be quiet and get to the results already — was a good time to press the point further.

“Do see a little of yourself when you watch James perform?” Ryan asked.

“No,” Tyler replied.

Then Durbin made a face and Tyler backtracked and said that he did. Ryan finally told Durbin he was safe, getting him one step closer to that potential gig.

As goes Twitter ...
This is the first year the “Idol” finalists have Twitter feeds and are encouraged to use them. One unintentional consequence may be their use as a predictive tool.

As of 9:20 p.m. ET, Naima Adedapo, Rodriguez and Reinhart had the smallest number of Twitter followers. Adedapo had 10,803, Rodriguez 11,941 and Reinhart 11,955. They were also the three singers with the fewest votes.

If that’s a sign of overall support, Jacob Lusk had better watch out. He has the lowest number of followers (12,486) among the other nine contestants.

But I have fewer than any of those people. Check out @CraigBerman and help me catch up!

Craig Berman is a frequent contributor to TODAY.com. Want the latest reality television and TV news? Follow us .

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