'American Idol' recap: Skylar Laine booted off in fifth place
Someone had to go home on "American Idol" on Thursday night, and certainly there's no shame in heading out in fifth place, especially this season. But the fact that it was Skylar Laine, the boot-stompin', gun-lovin', rip-roarin' country girl who had made no secret of her desire to win, well, I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for her. After all, she'd taken the competition seriously and worked hard to select songs she thought could position her for the long haul.
But Laine had fumbled with her song choice Wednesday night. Dusting off Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and giving it a dated production that was cheesy to boot (Jimmy Iovine noted it had elements of Vegas and Broadway) wasn't such a great idea, as it turned out. The judges had gushed about the song choice and the performance, but these judges, they gush. And with Hollie Cavanagh seriously stepping up her game Wednesday to save her own skin, the voters made Laine pay.
Once you're in the upper ranks of "Idol" this season, there's no room for a stumble -- unless your name is Phillip Phillips. I love Phillips, but he's had a series of off weeks (Iovine implied Phillips' health might be to blame) and, week after week, he's dipped nary a tappin' toe in the bottom two or three.
Phillips was sitting pretty on the couches again this week, despite the fact that neither of his performances was up to the standards he'd set earlier in the season. Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez, both of whom had had strong nights, were safe, too, though Iovine echoed my sentiments that Sanchez scanned too mature and too sexy for a 16-year-old girl on "Proud Mary." Her stellar "You Are So Beautiful" likely restored her to voters' good graces.
Cavanagh, meanwhile, kept Laine company in the bottom two. And after Coldplay had performed twice and Carrie Underwood once, and Ryan Seacrest had done all he could to stretch out the results, the two 18-year-olds finally got the news that, after nearly 60 million votes had been cast, Laine was the singer who'd leave the competition.
Cavanagh locked Laine in a clinch and refused to let go for an uncomfortably long time. Jennifer Lopez, who'd only the night before posited that Laine had a good shot at the win, teared up. But Laine appeared to take the news in boot-shod stride. She almost seemed less upset by her ouster than she had about those rumors that she and Colton Dixon were an item. As her highlight reel ran, she could actually be seen in video inset singing along with the Scotty McCreery song that's serving as this year's sayonara song.
So it's probably safe to say that Laine will keep on singing, whether on "Idol" or off. As if to prove exactly that, before the credits rolled and her run on the show ended, Laine kicked up her heels with a rootin', tootin' rendition of "Gunpowder and Lead." Yeah, she's tough, that girl. And I predict her music career will take off like a shot.
Are you sad to see Skylar Laine get the boot?
Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. Last week, "American Idol's" Jessica Sanchez came out on top. Who will be the favorite this week? 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.
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Skylar Laine performs on "American Idol" on Wednesday. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox