‘Idol’ eliminations: Haeley Vaughn, Michelle Delamor, Jermaine Sellers and John Park sent packing

It goes without saying, but Thursday night was not a good night for at least four of Season 9's 20 hopefuls. The contestants with the fewest votes? Former front-runner and Colorado cutie-pie Haeley Vaughn, the little-known Michelle Delamor, who showed major Whitney potential but never really got to strut her stuff, God-praising Jermaine Sellers and the foxy but ineffectual John Park.

Now, before we start analyzing their song choices, bum notes, and overall disconnect from the "Idol" audience, let us point out one unfortunate fact: This second Top 24 elimination was, as our music critic Ann Powers put it on Twitter, a "racial purge." Indeed, four minorities were eliminated, leaving Paige Myles, Michael Lynche, Todrick Hall and Andrew Garcia to represent the multicultural melting pot that is America. What gives?

Well, as much as some would like to draw red and blue lines in the sand, there's no denying that all four contestants gave less than stellar performances this week. Haeley's "The Climb" felt more like a crash, while Michelle's choice of Creed's "With Arms Wide Open" was a head-scratcher all around, in spite of her creative arrangement. On the boys' side, John Park underwhelmed with his version of John Mayer's "Gravity" while Jermaine Sellers' committed the ultimate "Idol" sin in attempting to take on a Marvin Gaye song and coming up short. All four hit their share of flat notes and overly ambitious runs, and none displayed a true emotional connection with their song choices. Hence, their dismissal.

Then again, isn't this the Top 24's main purpose? To weed out the weaker contenders and allow the true talent to shine? What do you think, "Idol" fans? Did America get it right this week? 

— Shirley Halperin

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Photo: "Idol's" Top 16, from left to right starting with the back row: Didi Benami, Michael Lynche, Andrew Garcia, Siobahn Magnus, Alex Lambert, Katie Stevens, Lee DeWyze, Todrick Hall, Lacey Brown, Tim Urban, Katelyn Epperly, Casey James, Crytal Bowersox, Lilly Scott, Aaron Kelly, Paige Myles. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox


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