Last 'American Idol' finalist booted before finale
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart won't be growling on this season's final showdown.
The bluesy 20-year-old vocalist from Wheeling, Ill., best known for her signature singing snarl, was revealed Thursday to have received the fewest viewer votes on the Fox talent contest, leaving deep-voiced 17-year-old singer Scotty McCreery of Garner, N.C., and soaring 16-year-old songbird Lauren Alaina of Rossville, Ga., to compete on next week's finale.
"I rocked it out, and I had a blast," Reinhart said after her elimination.
Reinhart had always seemed doomed on "Idol." Unlike her remaining rivals, cherubic country crooners McCreery and Alaina, the wavy-haired Reinhart had been less definable and garnered fewer votes, landing at the bottom as one of the show's low vote-getters four times after weak performances of such songs as LeAnn Rimes' "Blue" and Blondie's "Call Me."
This season's femme fatale found recent success by boldly tackling classic rock tunes. She earned a standing ovation from the judges two weeks ago for a rousing rendition of The Animals' version of "The House of the Rising Sun," and she was lauded again Wednesday for her performances of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" and Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be."
It was apparently too little, too late for Reinhart after 95 million viewer votes were cast Wednesday. While she was finding her groove throughout the finals, McCreery and Alaina had been delivering consistent country and pop performances since their attention-grabbing auditions. McCreery never appeared at the bottom, and Alaina only did once two weeks ago.
The duo will face off Tuesday, with the 10th season "Idol" champion crowned on Wednesday. It will mark the youngest finale matchup in "Idol" history. Producers lowered the minimum age requirement to 15 years old this season, which allowed Alaina, who's been compared to fourth season "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood, the chance to audition last year.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)