Paul Jolley Second Guy in a Row Eliminated on 'American Idol'
Paul Jolley pegged himself early on as a contestant looking to align himself within the same side of country that produced artists such as Rascal Flatts and Lonestar -- that is, country, but more on the pop side of it. Twang, but not overpowering or at times noticeable at all. Jolley himself even professed a hope to become a male version of Taylor Swift.
The judges never really caught on with Jolley's vision, and Thursday night, neither did America. After receiving the lowest number of votes, the Tennessee native earned the distinction of finishing ninth on the 12th season of "American Idol."
The result came following Jolley's rendition of "Eleanor Rigby" on Beatles night, a song choice he apparently made due to the lyrical content. But his performance lacked the sense of drama the song tends to require, and his turn at the mic was not received too warmly by the panel of judges.
Unlike the previous week's eliminated contestant, Curtis Finch Jr., Jolley was never seen as a major frontrunner at any point in the competition, so once his name was announced as the lowest vote getter, his elimination seemed imminent even if he turned in a powerhouse performance (see: Finch last week). The song he chose to "sing for his life," Heart's "Alone," was solid but unspectacular. It was the vocal of a singer who seemed resigned to his fate. No save from the judges.
His elimination marks the end of an era for "Idol." Jolley was the final white male contestant left on the show, meaning that the show will have a winner not from that demographic for the first time since season six's Jordin Sparks.
Jolley was joined in the bottom three by Devin Velez and Amber Holcomb -- Velez for the second week in a row. Holcomb's inclusion in the bottom three was debated; Nicki Minaj called it "common sense" that she shouldn't be there, and Jimmy Iovine had even placed Holcomb in his personal top three.
Unlike the previous week, voting results order was not revealed, so there was no way of knowing which contestants were higher in the finishing order than others, save for those in the bottom three.
In between interludes of Beatles songs done by the top nine finalists, season 10 finalist Casey Abrams returned to the "Idol" stage added his own twist to Beatles classic "I Saw Her Standing There," doing a jazzy take with his trademark upright bass. Nice hair/beard, too.
Speaking of former finalists: last season's runner-up, Jessica Sanchez, also performed, showing off "Tonight," a new single off her upcoming album "Me, You and the Music" (out April 30). Ne-Yo, a guest on the track's album version, also showed up in the live take. It's dancey, if you're into that.