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'American Idol' recap: Shannon Magrane heads home, leaving 10

March 15, 2012 |  7:58 pm

Which of the 11 finalists on this season's "American Idol" will not be going on the "Idol" tour this summer? The nation has voted. The judges have shrugged. And the finalist who just missed the top 10 cut is … Shannon Magrane. The tall, model-pretty 16-year-old Florida resident with the former major league pitcher dad retired from the game well before the final inning Thursday night, booted off the mound by "Idol" voters.

The voters got it more or less right, I'd say, because though she seemed sweet, tried hard and had a better week than usual, the pitcher's daughter was often … well, pitchy. To me, there was something inauthentic about her performance style. It was as if she had studied all the moves of powerful singers, and then reproduced them -– the bent knees and bowed head, the arm thrusts, even the growl.

What she couldn't quite nail, though, was the power. Though Magrane's voice, when she wasn't pushing it too hard, had a certain purity, she almost always seemed to be pushing it too hard. Which is perhaps why voters gave her the push.

Shannon Magrane: Click for full "American Idol" coverage

Anyway, it seems cruel to pile on at this point because Magrane took the news like an all-star, smiling and thanking the judges and fans, shedding nary a tear, standing tall, even in her Ryan Seacrest-approved flats. I'm sure we all wish this composed and collected young woman well as she goes and lights her world.

Magrane's ouster, by the way, meant that her fellow members of the bottom three -– Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt -– were snatched back from the brink. Did they both deserve to be there? Probably not. Their seats of doom might as well have been warmed by Heejun Han (who appeared to be praying too hard to be funny) and DeAndre Brackensick, neither of whom had had terribly good nights Wednesday.

But, alas, after Demi Lovato and Daughtry had performed and we had seen the ghost of Jermaine Jones chasing members of the remaining "Idol" hopefuls through a haunted house (eerie, that), and just before the metaphorical fat lady sang for Magrane, for a brief moment, we felt a mild urge to shake our fists at the "Idol" gods and "Idol" voters and ask, why?

FULL COVERAGE: 'American Idol'

Why must you punish the female contestants for middling performances (Van Pelt) and good performances (Testone), while giving male contestants like Han (hilarious, yes, but he just hasn't been bringing it vocally) and Brackensick (talented, but his performance of "Endless Love" was poor cheese, and boring to boot) a total pass?

The good news is that "Idol" voters are a notoriously fickle bunch, and this week's bottom three may be an eventual third-place finisher. Just ask Haley Reinhart.

The other good news? Meet this year's "Idol" top 10: In addition to Van Pelt, Testone, Han and Brackensick, we got Jessica Sanchez, Phillip Phillips, Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh and … wait, wait … don't tell me … oh yeah, Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon. Not too shabby, "Idol" voters. Not too shabby at all.

Are you sad to see Shannon Magrane go?


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-- Amy Reiter

Photo: Shannon Magrane  Credit: Nino Munoz / Fox