Even a new look and good performance couldn't save Erika on 'Idol'

Michael Becker / Fox
AMERICAN IDOL: Erika Van Pelt performs in front of the Judges on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, March 21 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

Maybe promoting Erika Van Pelt's extreme makeover wasn’t such a great idea for the "American Idol" hopeful Wednesday.

Sporting her new Kris Jenner-Kardashian hairdo and receiving some newfound praise from the judges still couldn’t get Van Pelt a trip to the “Idol” mansion. She was voted off the show Thursday night, finishing in 10th place.

Her elimination wasn’t a surprise. Van Pelt had been among the lowest vote-getters every week, and it wasn’t because of her looks. In fact, the new image might have hurt, since there was so much focus on the drastic hairstyle change instead of how she sang. She was nothing but fun to the end, however, running back to her old seat to get a pair of tiny maracas so at least she could party a little bit while awaiting her fate.

Also having a rough night was Heejun Han. He was in the bottom three, heard Steven Tyler’s snarky feedback get replayed again and had Jimmy Iovine say, “I think [Steven] felt that Heejun came and disrespected the entire process,” and later compared his performance to an Adam Sandler direct-to-video production.  It’s safe to say that Han can’t count on an Interscope recording contract if he doesn’t win this.

Then J.Lo told Han, "I think you are a star. I don't think you should sell yourself short, ever." And I'm sure he'd rather have her in his corner than any of the guys. But it looks like both Jimmy and Steven are ready to see him go.

Also in the bottom three was DeAndre Brackensick. His “Only the Good Die Young” was the worst of the night Wednesday, but not bad enough to drop below Van Pelt’s smaller fanbase.

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    The final nine contestants on "American Idol" are, clockwise from top left, Colton Dixon, Elise Testone, Phillip Phillips, Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick, Josh Ledet, Hollie Cavanaugh, Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez.

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    Hug it out -

    Erika Van Pelt learns she's been eliminated on the Thursday, March 22 episode of "American Idol."

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    Big day -

    Aerosmith's Joe Perry takes the stage to play "Happy Birthday" to judge Steven Tyler.

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    Name calling -

    Host Ryan Seacrest, right, reveals that Erika Van Pelt is in danger as Heejun Han, left, and DeAndre Brackensick learn they are safe.

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    'Believe' -

    Van Pelt gets one last chance on "American Idol" on Thursday, March 22, singing "I Believe in You and Me."

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    Top 10 countdown -

    The final 10 contestants on "American Idol," from left, Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone, DeAndre Brackensick, Hollie Cavanaugh, Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, Heejun Han, Jessica Sanchez, Josh Ledet and Erika Van Pelt. Jermaine Jones was eliminated from the show after his criminal record surfaced.

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    Head lines -

    Former "Idol" contestant Chris Daughtry, who came in fourth in the competition's fifth season, performs on his old stomping grounds and sings "Outta My Head" on Thursday, March 15.

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    Good night, good luck -

    Shannon Magrane, left, waves farewell to her fans after being eliminated from the show.

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    Bad news -

    Shannon Magrane, center, with Erika Van Pelt, hears from Seacrest that she has been eliminated from the competition.

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    Breaking in -

    Demi Lovato rocked out on the "Idol" stage, singing "Give Your Heart a Break" on Thursday, March 15.

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    The Wonder of it all -

    The top 13 perform Stevie Wonder's "As" to open the results show on Thursday, March 8.

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    Mary J. Blige -

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    Alive for another week -

    Elise Testone clutches onto Jeremy Rosado after learning from Seacrest that she will remain in the competition for another week.

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    Say goodbye -

    Jeremy Rosado bids adieu to the fans after the judges told him that he had been eliminated from the competition.

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    And then there were 12 -

    The Top 12 are (clockwise from top right): Elise Testone, Heejun Han, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, DeAndre Brackensick, Erika Van Pelt, Jermaine Jones, Colton Dixon, Shannon Magrane, Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips.

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    Colton Dixon -

    Colton Dixon, 20, hails from Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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    Deandre Brackensick -

    Deandre Brackensick, 17, is from San Jose, Calif.

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    Elise Testone -

    Elise Testone, 28, is from Charleston, SC.

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    Erika Van Pelt -

    Erika Van Pelt, 26, hails from S. Kingston, RI.

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    Heejun Han -

    Heejun Han, 22, is from Flushing, NY.

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    Hollie Cavanagh -

    Hollie Cavanagh, 18, is from McKinney, Tex.

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    Jeremy Rosado -

    Jeremy Rosado, 19, is from Valrico, Fla.

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    Jermaine Jones -

    Jermaine Jones, 25, is from Pine Hill, NJ. He was let go from the show when producers discovered he had a criminal record, and outstanding warrants.

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    Jessica Sanchez -

    Jessica Sanchez, 16, is from San Diego, Calif.

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    Joshua Ledet -

    Joshua Ledet, 19, is from Westlake, La.

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    Phillip Phillips -

    Phillip Phillips, 21, is from Leesburg, Ga.

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    Shannon Magrane -

    Shannon Magrane, 16, is from Tampa, Fla.

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    Skylar Laine -

    Skylar Laine, 18, is from Bradon, Miss.

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    Lucky 13 -

    "American Idol's" final 13 are, clockwise from top center: Jermaine Jones, Erika Van Pelt, Jeremy Rosado, Skylar Laine, Jessica Sanchez, Deandre Brackensick, Hollie Cavanagh, Shannon Magrane, Colton Dixon, Heejun Han, Joshua Ledet, Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips

    Fox / Fox

Notice whose name wasn’t mentioned? That’s right, Elise Testone. For the first time all season, she managed to survive a week without having to sit on the danger stools. She fully expected to be there again after being called upwith Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh. Instead, host Ryan Seacrest first sent Laine and Canavagh back to safety, and then gave Testone the surprising news that at least for this week, she could relax as well.

Haley Reinhartwas one of the guest performers (along with Lana Del Rey), and could serve as an inspiration to Testone. A year ago, Reinhart was in the bottom three in each of the first two weeks of the finals, but then found her niche, got a solid fan club going and wound up finishing third. It can be done.

Whether or not Testone can do it, we’ll see. But Jimmy noted that when Testone sang, “I got goosies. I don't really know what goosies are. But I felt something." (Please, for the love of all things sacred Jimmy, don’t encourage J.Lo to use the "G" word more often.)

Another surprise was that Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry came onstage to play a little "Happy Birthday" for Steven. He then sat with the judges for awhile, but sadly did not elbow them aside to offer his own commentary. The afterparty, however, must have been awesome.

The remaining nine singers now move into some sweet new digs in Hollywood Hills. Sadly for Van Pelt, she’ll just have to hear about the luxurious lifestyle when she catches up with everyone again for the summer tour prep.

Do you think the right person went home? Do you agree that Heejun "disrespected the entire process"? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

Want more "Idol" during "Idol"? Follow @CraigBerman as he live tweets each show!

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