by Brian Mansfield, USA TODAY
American Idol viewers hate a villain. And they don't care much for showboats, either.
Curtis Finch Jr., the first singer from the Top 10 sent home this season, turned out to be both. Back in Hollywood, he made no secret of his disdain for the other contestants, particularly an ailing and awkward Charlie Askew. And his penchant for over-the-top urban gospel-pop ballads sealed his fate Thursday.
The beautiful irony? Askew was there for the announcement of the results. As the sixth-place male finisher in the semifinals, Askew and his female counterpart, Aubrey Cleland, sang for a spot on this summer's American Idols Live tour.
Askew performed an original song called Sky Blue Diamond, an odd but pretty number that might have earned him a spot in the Top 10 had he chosen to sing it last week. Cleland showed herself to be just another of this season's ballad singers, doing Out Here on My Own like she was competing for a county-fair beauty pageant.
The results night had other news, as well. For years, Idol has given viewers a Bottom Three. This year, Ryan Seacrest announced a Top Three -- Candice Glover, Kree Harrison and Angie Miller, in no particular order. (Don't be surprised if this Top Three is the Top Three near the end of the season, as well.) Then Seacrest gave rankings for fourth through eighth place: Lazaro Arbos, Amber Holcomb, Janelle Arthur, Burnell Taylor and Paul Jolley. (Note: Only one guy made the Top Six.)
That left Finch and Devin Velez in the bottom spots. And it also put Nicki Minaj in a weird spot, as she told Finch, "If you go home, I go home."
And even though the judges had made no secret they believed Finch had one of the season's best voices, they couldn't all agree to save him. Minaj, in particular, looked shocked and stunned, telling Seacrest she felt like they needed another minute and hadn't had a chance to fully discuss the situation. But she'll have to be persuasive more quickly in the future. "I know it's a live show," she said.
And, though Finch won't, Minaj will probably return for next week's show. (So don't get your hopes up, haters.) Maybe she'll even be on time.
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