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‘Idol’ sends one of judges' favorites home

Alexis Grace had been listed as one of "Idol's" final four on a list supposedly leaked by a show staffer. But the leaker will need to make a new list, as Grace got the boot on Wednesday.
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Show lacks Grace: So much for that story about “American Idol” already being decided.

It didn’t take a genius to see that Alexis Grace was one of the judges’ early favorites, and a New York Daily News report this week had her already ticketed for the final four. But a funny thing happened on the way to that perch. She received the fewest number of votes this week, and when the judges failed to save her, she became the third finalist voted off the show.

The judges put pressure on Grace for her final performance, telling her that they were considering saving her. Unfortunately, her voice broke again a couple of times during Dolly Parton's “Jolene,” and it wasn’t good enough to keep her around. Not only did she not last long in the competition, she didn’t even make it to the top 10 and thus won’t be going on the summer “Idol” tour. “I wish I could have done better, but things happen for a reason,” she said.

Dad’s not coming home yet: Michael Sarver had the heartbreaking anecdote of the night, telling of his faraway daughter saying “Daddy, why don’t you want to be with me any more?” He nearly had to go home earlier than expected, as he was the second-lowest vote-getter of the week. But he’ll be an absentee dad a little longer.

No worries for Iraheta: Allison Iraheta was the third member of the bottom three, and given the general lack of success that women rockers have had over the show’s eight seasons, she might be there a lot. But as always, the California teenager was unfazed. “Ain’t no thang,” she said as she walked to the seats of shame. Her bravado was rewarded when she was the first of the trio sent back to safety.

The Tao of Paula: The show has already reached the point where Paula Abdul believes nobody deserves to be voted off, so she was flummoxed when both Iraheta and Sarver were in danger. But she had some words of wisdom: “No matter who goes home, you’re never going home, because you’re all changed people and home is a whole different place for you now,” Paula said. To which everyone responded “Huh?”

Bringing back the pouf: Grand Ole Opry member Carrie Underwood came back to perform, and of course, the show featured no shortage of clips. The Oklahoma girl has certainly picked up a more professional look since those early "Idol" days. But then the show's hair and makeup folks saddled her with a 1950s-housewife hairdo, perhaps to remind her of those fashion-backwards days.

May-December duet: Underwood and Travis sang “I Told You So” together onstage. She just turned 26. Travis is 49. Given that Travis was performing with his typically intense gaze fixed upon the younger singer, it was a little creepy.

Falling down the charts: The Ford product-placement video featured water balloons, and Ryan took the opportunity to chuck one at Simon. Apparently, he overshot the target and soaked someone in the audience. Pro football experts subsequently downgraded Ryan to a projected seventh-round pick in this year's NFL draft.

Hello, my name is…: For the second night in a row, the judges had problems with names. Randy called Alexis “Allison,” after Simon called Lil “Little” on Tuesday. Maybe everyone needs to start wearing nametags.

Who’s next?: “American Idol:” took viewers behind the scenes to last week’s exit party, where the remaining finalists paid tribute to week one victims Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez. Nunez left his former competitors with a warning. “Don’t’ get too comfortable right now — because we’re not the only ones who are going to get eliminated,” he said.

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C.