By Steve Kirk, TSB Editor
It finally happened.
After weeks … and weeks … and weeks … and weeks … of competing on American Idol, McKinney’s Hollie Cavanagh finally finished a singing performance with the three judges standing and clapping Wednesday night.
Yes, Hollie’s first standing ovation of the season ended the night. It happened right after she belted out Miley Cyrus’ The Climb with passion.
From the same judges who have been more critical of her than any of the other finalists, for several weeks.
From the same judges, too, who have given, for example, Joshua Ledet, 12 standing ovations this season (according to contestant Skylar Laine).
So, naturally, Hollie pumped her arms in celebration when she saw them come out of their chairs.
“Now that’s the Hollie Cavanagh that we love. Hollie is back! That was beautiful!” Idol judge Randy Jackson said.
“That was stepping it up. … It was perfect. The emotion, the volume, the notes, the whole thing,” Jennifer Lopez said.
“You sang the song like it was going out of style. It was just so beautiful. Good for you,” Steven Tyler added.
The final six contestants remain this week. The bottom vote-getter will be eliminated during Thursday’s live show at 7 p.m. on Fox 4.
On Wednesday night, they began the program by singing some of Queen’s greatest hits with two original members of the band. Cavanagh mentioned to them during a meeting earlier in the week that she often performed better in rehearsal than in front of the millions watching on TV. The advice she received? Those people out there are pulling for you, they want to feel you, connect with you, so there’s no need to be nervous.
Hollie chose the 1980 Queen hit Save Me. How did it go? It sounded good, the judges agreed. But asked who needs to step it up after the first round of songs, Jackson mentioned only one name: Hollie.
“The song was good, but I know at this point you can’t be good, you’ve got to be great,” Hollie said afterward. “And I really have to step it up, as well as everybody else.”
Jennifer Lopez had given her advice on staying calm and not worrying up there.
“I really felt you get emotional in the middle of (Save Me),” Lopez said. “Unfortunately when you did do that, it went off a tiny little bit. You’re such a gifted vocalist, you’re always going to sound good. I just want to see you enjoying it more. I want to see you smile for real. I want to see you get upset for real. I want to see all of those things. Again, I still feel like you’re thinking.”
Jackson said, “Everybody that comes on very time needs to have a moment. They need to have a moment where people go, `They could win.’ That song didn’t quite have that, for me.”
So, with a final song of the night, Hollie did it for them.
And Thursday night we’ll learn if it was enough for Hollie — a bottom-two vote-getter last week — to survive another week.
American Idol Contestants Roast Each Other
Idol had a funny segment where all the contestants talked about each others’ idiosyncrasies and habits, since they have been living together for weeks in a Hollywood mansion.
“If Hollie went home before me I would really cry,” country singer Skylar Laine said. “She’s my bestie here.”
Doesn’t sound mean at all, does it?
Well, just wait. They all got kidded Wednesday, and Hollie was no exception.
“Hollie is just weird,” bluesy rocker Phillip Phillips said. “She’s like a little mouse, who talks like she’s from London. And she’s from Texas.”
“She definitely talks funny,” Joshua Ledet said. … “You can barely understand what she’s saying. It’s really bad.”
“At first I didn’t know if Hollie was like trying to have an accent or was Australian,” Elise Testone said.
“I do not have a speech problem,” Hollie said, defending herself with a grin. … “I lived in England, so I have an English accent. But it’s like a mix, I guess you could say. … The accent’s weird. It’s mixed up. It’s messed up. I know. Next question.”
Fans in McKinney gathered at Jack’s Pub to cheer on Hollie during the TSB Hollie watch party. Check out the photos below.