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'American Idol' recap: 6 remain after Colton Dixon's surprise exit

April 20, 2012 |  4:30 am

Colton
"No more second chances, no more safety nets," Randy Jackson reminded us at the outset of the "American Idol" results show Thursday night, on which Kris Allen and LMFAO performed. Since the judges had used their one save of the season to bring Jessica Sanchez back from the brink last week, from here on in, week after week, someone would head home.

This week, Colton Dixon got the bad news. And though the show's lead-in had promised that the results would be "another shock," to me, at least, Dixon's ouster was really only mildly surprising.

The judges loved Dixon, the faithful, skinny-pants-sporting piano player with the tuftily interesting '80s hair. The 20-year-old Tennessean had some of the showmanship of last season's James Durbin, but more softness and polish and style. But while I admired Dixon's comfort with a keyboard and melodic control, I never found him terribly exciting. To use the current judge parlance, I never connected with him on an emotional level. Colton Dixon, as far as I'm concerned, is no Phillip Phillips.

INTERACTIVE: Who's the best? "Idol" vs. "The Voice

Not that I was comparing. That was mentor Jimmy Iovine's game. Iovine once speculated that Dixon, who had not previously been in the bottom three, was splitting the teen heartthrob vote with Phillips. Iovine contended that, at some point, that voting bloc would swing one way or the other. This week, that may have happened.

Of course, we'll never really know why the voters turned their backs on Dixon. But certainly he had not had a good night on Wednesday. (Phillips had.) Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" was probably not the savviest choice or the most suitable for a guy whose strongest moment on the show may have been when he sang his "favorite worship song." His fan base might not have been Lady Gaga devotees. And anyway, his performance of the song was strange. Iovine called it "completely wrong." Ol' Jimmy didn't have very kind things to say about Dixon's onstage look, either, comparing it to "1985 Billy Idol on MTV'" and "'Spider-Man' on Broadway."

Dixon's second song, Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," on which he accompanied himself on a leaf-strewn piano that matched his hair, was, to put it plainly, a total snoozer.

So with two performances like that on a night most of the other contestants had sung well, you had to figure Dixon would at least be in the bottom three. His company there Thursday night was not terribly surprising, either. Hollie Cavanagh had given two of her strongest performances of the season, but it wasn't enough to catapult her into the top four. And Elise Testone – who agreed with Ryan Seacrest's suggestion that the judges and Iovine are harder on her than on other contestants, perhaps because "maybe they think I can take it more because I'm older" -- was spending time in what Iovine calls "her vacation home" on those stools of doom.

But Seacrest quickly shuttled Testone to the safety of the couches, leaving Cavanagh and Dixon center stage to receive the results of the vote. Dixon looked a lot more humble than he had in a clip from the previous night, after the judges had failed to lavish their usual praise on him. "Ouch, that kind of stung a little bit," he said. "But honestly, I'm not trying to sound cocky, but I don't care."

When Seacrest told him that the nationwide vote had deprived him of his dream, Dixon sounded more contrite than cocky. His sister, Schyler, who had inadvertently launched him on his "Idol" run by bringing him to her audition this year, watching from the audience, dissolved into tears.

"I need to apologize. I wasn't myself last night, and I get it," Dixon said. He then told the judges he appreciated their tough-love advice and would use it "when I'm making a record."

The judges assured him he'd make many records and have a strong music career, as of course he will. So dry your eyes, Phillip Phillips. Your pal will do just fine.

Are you sad to see Colton Dixon go?

"American Idol" vs. "The Voice"

Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. Last week, after nearly 50,000 votes, readers ranked "Idol's" Jessica Sanchez first with 43% of the vote.

Who will come out on top this week? So far "The Voice's" Jesse Campbell, sent packing by his mentor Christina Aguilera on Monday night, is far out in front. Use the poll below to vote. Check out this week's performances and see what our judges had to say at latimes.com/idol-voice.

RELATED:

Full coverage: 'American Idol'

'American Idol' recap: The top 7 perform 'Now and Then' songs

'American Idol': Jessica Sanchez earns a dramatic judges' save

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: Colton Dixon performs on "American Idol." Credit: Michael Becker / Fox.

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