After weeks of male eliminations, a girl was going to have to leave “American Idol” eventually. Unfortunately for country fans, that contestant ended up being Janelle Arthur.
Arthur, the 23-year-old Tennessee native, became the newest exile from the “Idol” stage Thursday night (April 18), receiving the lowest number of public votes. An early favorite who won over audiences with her charismatic, happy-go-lucky attitude that recalled fellow country girl and former “Idol” contestant Kellie Pickler, Arthur was eliminated after performances of Vince Gill’s “When I Call Your Name” and Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde” that did not receive much acclaim from the judges panel.
The judges’ save remained, so Arthur was given one last chance, singing one of her most well-received numbers from the show, a dramatic version of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” from top eight week. Despite much deliberation from the judges, Randy Jackson nonetheless delivered the news that their save would not be used, as it hadn’t been each week of the season since it was first introduced during the top 10.
Arthur was joined in the bottom two by fellow country-leaning artist Kree Harrison, whose Wednesday night performances were solid but not up to her usual standard. Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller were spared the distinction of bottom vote-getters.
As has been a theme in the past few episodes, multiple former winners and contestants graced the “Idol” stage in performance. Season three winner Fantasia Barrino appeared with her newest single, “Lose to Win.” In true Fantasia fashion, her performance was dramatic and over-the-top — in a good way. The song is from her upcoming fourth album, “Side Effects of You.”
Season two runner-up Clay Aiken also made an appearance, revisiting one of his top performances during his tenure on the show, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Though Aiken has been quiet musically in recent years, the performance reasserted his standing as one of the show’s all-time best male vocalists.
Non-performing guests included season three contestant LaToya London (who along with Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson completed a formidable diva one-two-three punch), season six victor Jordin Sparks, Jason Derulo and rockers Fall Out Boy.