Tuesday, May 8, 2012 , Updated 8:02 p.m., May 10, 2012
UPDATED: McKinney’s Hollie Cavanagh survives on American Idol against the odds
Hollie has been living on the edge for a while.
Hollie Cavanagh of McKinney (by way of Liverpool) has been on the verge of exiting the American Idol stage for weeks now -- how in the heck has she been able to last so long?
Hollie is the type of contestant that American Idol has rarely seen. Most of the singers in Idol’s 11 seasons who have made it as far as she has have done so with either the unwavering support of the show’s judges/producers or because they’ve struck a chord with the voting public. Hollie, though, has had to make do for most of the season without either of those things in her favor.
Afraid of risk
At first, it didn’t seem like Hollie would struggle in the slightest. She made the top 24 without any issue at all, and she flew through the first four weeks of live performances. However, she was already showing signs of not being up for the Idol challenge, appearing nervous and stiff while singing, and sticking with ballads for her song choices -- something that fit her voice well but didn’t show a tremendous amount of range or creativity. That lack of risk-taking began to show in the results, as, starting with Top 9 week, she finished among the bottom vote-getters five out of the next six weeks. That included four stops in the bottom two, but each time she visited, another singer – in order, Heejun Han, Colton Dixon, Elise Testone, and Skylar Laine – got the ax instead.
Dark horse rising
But Hollie was quietly getting better as the weeks wore on, even if the judges didn’t always agree. Her cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” during Top 7 redux week was her strongest of the season to that point, and she followed with standout performances of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” (which had also earned her a golden ticket during auditions) in Top 6 week and last week’s powerhouse duo of “River Deep – Mountain High” and “Bleeding Love.” She also shone during "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” her trio with Laine and Jessica Sanchez. TVLine.com’s Michael Slezak, who has done recaps of Idol for many years, said in his most recent Idology video, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a contestant get this good this quickly this late in the season.” His co-host, former Idol contestant Melinda Dolittle, said, “She’s getting better and better and better … her progress is really kind of giving people a run for their money.”
UPDATE: Hollie was indeed eliminated. Click here for a recap of her final week and info on where you can see her next.
Even with Hollie's recent surge, Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, and Phillip Phillips remain the prohibitive favorites, so Hollie will likely go home either this week or next. However, if Hollie keeps growing musically like she has for the past month, more surprises could be in store. Given her recent good luck, it wouldn't be wise to bet against her.
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