“American Idol” voters said goodbye to the first four contestants of season nine on Thursday night (Feb. 25), eliminating Janell Wheeler, Joe Munoz, Ashley Rodriguez and Tyler Grady.
The eliminations followed two shaky performance nights that saw nearly all of the top 24 “Idol” contestants stumble under the pressure. Moreover, early favorites like Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens — who were making their live performance debuts with the benefit of heavy promotion during the audition weeks — lost their momentum thanks to poor song choices.
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Wheeler had performed “What About Love” by Heart, while Ashley Rodriguez sang Leona Lewis’ “Happy.” Joe Munoz sang Jason Mraz’s “You and I Both” and Grady performed “American Woman” by the Guess Who.
In between the eliminations, season eight “American Idol” champ Kris Allen stopped by to talk about his recent trip to Haiti, where he helped with earthquake recovery work as a volunteer for the UN Foundation. Allen performed the Beatles’ “Let it Be,” and his rendition was made available iTunes following tonight’s episode, with 100% of download proceeds going towards Haiti earthquake relief efforts.
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Allison Iraheta, last year’s fourth place finalist, also returned to “Idol” to perform “Scars,” the second single from her debut album, “Just Like You.”
“American Idol” continues next Tuesday with the top 20 contestants.