Jennifer Lopez said “I hope it’s not a girl” – and got her wish yesterday as American Idol viewers sent Stefano Langone packing during the hit talent show’s 21st-century themed week.
Langone, from Kent, Washington, was nearly killed by a drunk driver in 2009 and was a wild card choice for the finals. He had hit the bottom three for three weeks running, and the third time he was out.
While the 22-year-old’s rendition of Ne-Yo’s Closer during a week of songs from the past 11 years was well-received by the judges, Langone still got the fewest of the 52 million votes cast by fans of the top-rated show.
Haley Reinhart landed in the bottom three again but host Ryan Seacrest quickly told her she was safe.
Jacob Lusk, who sang the Luther Vandross ballad Dance With My Father, was paired with Langone for elimination but lived to sing another week.
Langone was philosophical, saying earlier in the show “if it’s the end of the road, it’s the end of the road”.
After the result, which was met with a smattering of booing from the audience, he said he was “just blessed. I came this far, and it’s great,” then sang his farewell song, Lately.
The show featured performances by 2008 American Idol winner David Cook, who sang The Last Goodbye, and Katy Perry singing ET.
The six remaining finalists are Casey Abrams, who last month scored the judges’ once-per-season save, rocker James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Lusk, Reinhart and country singer Scotty McCreery, who received some of the judges’ more tepid reviews this week.
After bringing in Lopez and rocker Steven Tyler as new judges, the nation’s top-rated TV show has recovered this season from years of flagging ratings.
The American Idol finale airs on the Fox network May 24 and 25, when viewers will choose the next Idol star and he or she lands a recording contract.
Past winners include such Grammy-winning artists as Carrie Underwood, as well as Fantasia Barrino who has performed on Broadway.