Hollie Cavanagh’s improbable run on American Idol

Well, Hollie Cavanagh might not have earned one of those hometown visits a contestant gets if they make the Top 3 on American Idol.

But I’d be willing to bet she’ll get an awfully warm welcome whenever she returns to McKinney, Texas.

She did her hometown proud with an improbable run that saw her escape the bottom three four times and the bottom two once on her way to a  fourth-place finish on Idol.

Now, really, who expected the tiny gal from England with the big voice to finish fourth when the season began?

Especially on a show as notoriously tough on female contestants as American Idol?

I certainly didn’t.  I had Hollie finishing 10th when I ranked this year’s final 13.

But I also wrote that she had Haley Reinhart potential … if she only had the chance to hang around long enough to gain some momentum.

As it turned out, that’s just what she did.  A couple of weeks ago, she found her groove, to the point where she clearly belonged among Idol’s Season 11 elite.

And when she finished her performance of “Faithfully” Wednesday night, it looked like she just might sneak into the final three.

She finished the song with a flourish.  It marked her fifth straight very solid solo performance.  Randy Jackson said she was peaking at the right time.

Then one performance cost her.   Jimmy Iovine’s harsh critique of Hollie’s version of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was tough to hear.   About how she “crashed and burned.”

But it was also the truth.  On a night when no one else stumbled, it was clearly the worst performance of the evening.

And so she finishes fourth.  Out of the scores who went to Hollywood.  Out of the dozens who went to Vegas.  Out of the 24 who made the semifinals. And out of the 13 who made the finals.

Not too shabby for an 18-year-old who broke down in terms from nervousness when she auditioned for Season 10.

And in finishing fourth, she joins some pretty elite company — Allison Iraheta, James Durbin, Tamyra Gray, Josh Gracin and Chris Daughtry.

All five went on to record fine debut albums, if with varying degrees of commercial success.

Here’s hoping Hollie gets a chance to do the same.

Editor’s Note:  For a look at all of Hollie’s Idol performances, head here.  And check back tomorrow for an exit interview with Hollie.

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2 Responses to “Hollie Cavanagh’s improbable run on American Idol”

  1. Cup of Joe says:

    Lame! The most interesting singer got booted. Now, we have The Judges’ Pets Final 3. Ugh!

    That being said, I wonder where she’ll fit in in the contemporary music biz. Pity because I know the longer she stayed, the more likely she’ll be signed. Drat!

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