Brooklyn's Qaasim Middleton was eliminated from "American Idol" Wednesday night, after he lost a Twitter faceoff with Rayvon Owen.
Middleton, who auditioned at Nassau Coliseum last summer, was forced into the battle after his version of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" last week. "That was the worst performance I've ever had in my life," said Middleton, who had received the judges' solitary save earlier in the season after a dramatic performance of the Beatles' "Come Together."
To try to stay in the competition, he offered a lively version of OutKast's "Hey Ya" that won over some of the judges. "You always wow us with your performance," judge Jennifer Lopez said. "You own that stage." Judge Harry Connick Jr. said the show was lucky to have him, adding, "It was sure entertaining to watch."
However, in the end, more fans tweeted for Owen, who sang Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain."
"It's a fight," Middleton said, before he heard the results. "It's hard."
The Twitter battle is yet another of the show’s “improvements” this season and Owen has won it two weeks in a row, which does make you wonder if those available to vote on Twitter at 9:50 p.m. ET are a distinctly different group than those who vote the rest of the time.
The show revealed another “improvement” this week. Only the Top 5 will go on this summer’s tour, instead of the usual Top 10 or even Top 12 in the past.
Atlantic Beach native Jax seemed set to make it into the touring group, after her slowed-down, jazzy version of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”
“You’re one of the favorites,” Lopez told her. “This is yours to lose.”
However, all the judges were critical of her artistic choices to make the song more difficult. Of course, “Billboard Hits Week” is always hard to gauge on “Idol” and this week was also hard to swallow with two questionable mentors, Jason DeRulo and Florida Georgia Line, whose performances may not have gotten them through to the next round.
Here’s how the rest of the night shook out:
1. TYANNA JONES, “Stay”: Tyanna was the most effective singer of the night. She beefed up the Rihanna smash, filling the notes with a little more power and more of her slow vibrato, which changed the cadence of the song, though not the tempo. The subtle shift made her delivery seem even more emotional, paying off big at the end. “It felt like you were on the brink of breaking down,” Connick said. “It was extremely touching…. Your voice sound beautiful.” Keith Urban appreciated how poised she was. “Everything just came together in the right way today,” Lopez said.
2. CLARK BECKHAM, “Make It Rain”: Clark turned the Ed Sheeran song into a blues number, slowing it down and even oddly adding a guitar solo during a singing competition. His powerful notes in the second half made the long wait worthwhile. “That was so amazing,” Lopez said, but questioned his style, adding, “The style and the image needs to fit as well… You have a finale in front of you.” Urban said his guitar playing got in the way, but, “At the end, you killed it.”
3. JOEY COOK. “Wrecking Ball”: She did a lovely job with the Miley Cyrus song, keeping it basically the same. The verses were way better than the choruses, but it worked out pretty well. “You did a good job with the song,” Lopez said. “The quality of your voice is so different than anything else that were hearing that I think you stand apart.” Connick said she needed to change the song a little more to suit her voice. “I got a little bored toward the end,” he said.
4. JAX, “Poker Face”: She rendered the Lady Gaga hit almost unrecognizable, turning it into something jazzy. “That’s an interesting arrangement of that song,” Urban said. “I thought that was really good.” “You have the audience in the palm of your hands,” Lopez said. “I couldn’t relate to that, at all, musically… You need to be careful that you don’t go so far left that nobody gets it.” Connick said there was “magic” in her voice, but added, “What you did onstage did not match it. It didn’t get to me because you just stood there.”
5. QUENTIN ALEXANDER, “Latch”: He did a weird version of the Disclosure/Sam Smith hit that was an odd hybrid of the various versions of the song. “I think it was a really strong song choice for you,” Connick said. “Do what feels right,” said Lopez, who thought he was a bit too worried about some of his choices. “I loved it. I love that song.”
6. NICK FRADIANI, “Teenage Dream”: He tried to turn the Katy Perry hit into a Florida Georgia Line song for some reason and it just wasn’t believable. It got a mixed reaction from the judges, with Lopez and Urban loving the song choice. “That was amazing for me,” Lopez said. “You really made it your own. I could hear it on the radio today.” Connick didn’t agree. “I like you singing songs that have a little bit grittier lyrics,” he said. “I thought it was fine. There were some pitch issues.”
7. RAYVON OWEN, “Set Fire to the Rain”: He was near perfect on the verses of the Adele hit, but started to lose it on the choruses, missing notes and falling slightly off beat. By the end, it was a wild mess. “That’s a guy singing for his life right there,” Urban said. Lopez questioned the song choice. Will it land him the bottom two again? Probably.
BOTTOM TWO Rayvon, Nick
SHOULD BE CUT Rayvon
WILL BE CUT Rayvon
ACTUALLY CUT ???