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'American Idol' results: Stefano Langone eliminated

April 21, 2011 |  7:22 pm

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Proving that you can only elude the inevitable for so long, Stefano Langone was eliminated from "American Idol" Thursday night -- as the top seven shrank to the top six.

Toward the end -- after the cheesy-again group numbers, the more-interesting-than-usual Ford music video, and the disparate performances by Season 7 "Idol" winner David Cook and Katy Perry (with Kanye West) -- it was down to only two on the stools of doom: Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone. (Haley Reinhart barely had time to take her perch in the bottom three before Ryan Seacrest stage-whispered her to safety, satisfying Jennifer Lopez's fervent desire that Thursday's eliminated contestant not be female.)

Jacob, who had been condemned to purgatory early in the show, looked glum about, if not surprised by, his predicament. Stefano, however, had lived to laugh at doom many times before, and appeared to regard elimination with equanimity.

Backstage, Ryan asked both endangered singers what the competition meant to them.

Jacob said it was "everything" and that he was happy to have had the chance to show his "gift" to the American people. He gave us his best, he said, and he thinks we got that.

Stefano, meanwhile, said that, ultimately, he'd been true to himself, and that "if it's the end of the road, it’s the end of the road" and that he'd keep pushing in his career.

Back onstage, the judges gave both contestants some encouraging words about how hard they've worked, how much they have ahead of them and how many fans they'll take with them when they leave.

"None of them deserve to be standing there," Steven Tyler said, sweetly. "I love them all. They all sing their butts off." He reminded whoever was to leave that "a lot of love" is "going to be coming your way real soon."

Then Ryan delivered the blow: "After 52 million votes, the person who's going to be leaving us tonight is … Stefano."

Stefano's pal James Durbin, in the safe zone, looked stricken, hiding his head in his hands. But Stefano appeared, if anything, kind of pumped. After having stood next to so many other contestants who were heading out of the " 'Idol' bubble," as Ryan called it, and off to capitalize on their fame and launch their careers, it almost felt like the moment he'd been waiting for.

As if he needed to, Ryan reminded us how far Stefano had come –- a guy who overcame a "life-threatening accident" and a "wild card pick," he was a hard worker and a survivor. Stefano said he was "blessed" to have made it as far as he did and that he really wanted to sing.

So Ryan let him, and Stefano put his all into his swan song, "Lately," emphasizing in particular, it seemed to me, the word "goodbye."

On the very last note, he was nearly tackled by James, making me realize that, indeed, Stefano had acquired a few valuable skills during his time on "Idol": He might not have seen that hug coming –- but at least he finally learned to keep his eyes open when he sang.

What do you think? Are you sad to see Stefano go?

"American Idol" recap: The top 7 tackle the 21st century

Full Show Tracker coverage of "American Idol"

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: The final seven, clockwise from left: Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Casey Abrams. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox.

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