published Thursday, March 19th, 2009

“American Idol” down to 10 hopefuls

by Phil Stacey

Alexis Grace is the latest axed from “American Idol.” The judges told the pink-and-blonde-haired mom from Memphis that if she impressed while singing her farewell song, they would use their new power to save only one contestant the entire season. She did not perform up to the judges’ standards and is on her way home, leaving the judges to play their save card another time. If being sent home was not bad enough, she just missed a spot on the national “American Idols Live” Tour later this summer.

Alexis Grace sang Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” but the Dolly comparisons ended with Alexis’ blond hair and pretty face. The judges believed Alexis didn’t put enough “dirty” rock edge into Tuesday night’s performance, something they believe has carried her through the competition to this point.

The remaining final 10 Idols now can breath a sigh of relief because they have secured a spot on the official Idol tour. As a finalist during season six, I was able to go on the tour, which is a huge advantage in securing a record deal and media coverage. But more importantly, I was able to sing for the fans. It really is an amazing experience to travel the country for three months, meeting the people who helped keep you on the show. Tonight’s “Kiss Off” party, the final get-together highlighted in a video package, will be bittersweet since everyone but Alexis will be on the tour.

This is one of the strongest Top 10 we have had to date. The semifinals left some people doubting if this crop of Idols would be able to step up and deliver a great season with a superstar winner. I believe we are well on our way.

One of the reigning queens of country and an “American Idol” superstar, Carrie Underwood, returned to the stage that made her famous singing with fellow Opry member and this week’s mentor, Randy Travis. They showed the Idols what America expects from winners!

Next week only, “American Idol” will air Wednesday at 8 p.m. and Thursday at 9 p.m. on Fox, highlighting the songs of Motown.

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