Janelle Arthur’s quest to win “American Idol” came to an end tonight as she was eliminated from the reality show. But the Oliver Springs singer left the same way she came in: with a smile.
Arthur was clearly in jeopardy this week after judges criticized her Wednesday night for choosing to perform Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde,” which they said was too limited and didn’t give Arthur a chance to show her range. Tonight, the show’s mentor (and music producer) Jimmy Iovine added that “Dolly Parton was the right diva” for Arthur to cover, but “Dumb Blonde” was “the wrong song.”
Yet she got a measure of redemption tonight when “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest read a message to Arthur from Parton herself, who said she approved of Arthur’s rendition of her song, told her not to let her critics get to her and signed the note, “I will always love you.”
Arthur finished in fifth place, making history as part of the first-ever all-female final five on “Idol.”
In an interview earlier this week, Arthur told News Sentinel music writer Wayne Bledsoe, “The main thing to do is smile and be classy.”
She lived up to her words. Late in the show, Arthur was declared to be in the bottom two with fellow Tennessean and friend Kree Harrison of Nashville. Arthur smiled continuously and gave reassuring pats to a tearful Harrison and repeatedly said, “It’s OK.”
When Arthur was deemed to be the last-place performer, she sang a smoky version of the Supremes’ hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” in an unsuccessful attempt to sway the judges to enact a “save” to keep her in the competition. Afterward, she joined the other four contestants, who were visibly emotional as Arthur continued to smile and tell them, “It’s OK.”
Judge Mariah Carey gave Arthur a standing ovation, and after the show, she tweeted, “Janelle, I love your personality and your spirit. You're truly a good person at heart. Keep singing & don't ever be discouraged. God bless.”
Meanwhile, Arthur ‘s “Idol” experience isn’t over. This summer she joins the “American Idol Tour,” which makes an Aug. 6 stop at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tickets for the show go on sale May 3.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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