By Steve Kirk, TSB Editor
The lights were dimmed Thursday night inside the American Idol studio as America waited.
Most notably waiting was McKinney’s Hollie Cavanagh, who was 24 hours removed from “by far her worst night” on Idol this week, according to Idol coach Jimmy Iovine.
“After the nationwide vote,” host Ryan Seacrest said shortly after 7 on live Fox television, “Hollie, say goodbye to Hollywood and hello to the Hollywood Hills. You’re moving into the mansion. Congratulations, Hollie!”
Hollie exhaled, smiled and hugged country-style contestant Skylar Laine. Hollie and the other eight finalists who survived this week’s cut will begin living together in the famed mansion as the final weeks play out.
It didn’t look like a slam dunk for Cavanagh after she sang Billy Joel’s “Honesty” on Wednesday night. The judges and Iovine had criticized her for being pitchy and not fully interpreting the Joel piece. If you missed what they had to say, you can see our story from Wednesday night right here.
“You can’t get two individuals more different than Hollie and Billy Joel,” Iovine said. “Hollie, her foundation is technique. When she loses that, she loses her way. Unfortunately, I think that was by far her worst night of the competition. I’m a little afraid that Hollie last night may have seemed like a sweet diva caught in the headlights.
“But she looked beautiful. (Idol fashion consultant) Tommy (Hilfiger) did a great job with her. And she has a great track record so far with the audience, so I believe she stays.”
Iovine was indeed correct.
Erica Van Pelt was eliminated Thursday night, by virtue of the lowest public vote total, and the judges chose not to use their one “save” of the season to keep her around.