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American Idol recap: Bottomed Out

Although Kristy Lee Cook’s country disaster had everyone expecting her departure, she somehow got more votes than poor David Hernandez

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Idol Three

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

Viva Wide Stance! Long live Krazy Eyes! And tell that lonely barrel horse, wherever he is, that he’s gonna have to wait at least one more week — ’cause Mama’s not comin’ to get him…yet!

Indeed, despite the fact that her country-on-speed rendition of the Beatles’ ”Eight Days a Week” was uniformly detested by the American Idol judges (et tu, Paula?) and EW.com TV Watch readers, Kristy Lee Cook will live to strut the newly renovated Idol stage again — presumably in an incongruous blouse-jeans combo — and take another vicious swing at the Lennon-McCartney songbook next week.

Although America did not have the good sense to put Kristy Lee out of her misery, she at least landed in the bottom three — along with two other performers who struggled with pitch problems and overall relevance during week 1 of the season 7 finals. Alas, it was one of my favorites in the competition — David Hernandez — who ended up getting eliminated, proving once again that no matter how much talent you’ve got, it only takes one abysmal performance to destroy your Idol dreams. (Unless, of course, you’re a lyric-flubbing plush toy who has benefited from scads of screen time all season long. Yes, I am a tiny bit bitter right now. Sorry. I’ll get over it.)

Maybe it was the pressure of being on the big Idol stage for the first time. Maybe it was the widespread press reports over the past 10 days about David H.’s previous job at a gay strip club (which Ryan alluded to as a ”stressful week”). Whatever the reason, David H. seemed bizarrely disconnected during his Tuesday-night rendition of ”I Saw Her Standing There,” delivering the song with all the passion of a Banana Republic checkout clerk trying to convince you that, yes, actually, you would like to fill out an application for a store credit card and get a whopping 15 percent off that sweater. As a fan of the guy’s semifinal performances of ”Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and ”It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” it pained me to see him suddenly leering into the camera and trying to pass himself off as a pinup boy for screaming tween girls.

On the plus side, though, at least now there are only two Davids left in the competition, which should cut down on general viewer confusion over the next 11 weeks. (Now if we could just do something about the surplus of folks with the surname Cook — I say there’s room for only one on this year’s Idol tour.)

EW.com TV Watch reader That’s So Raven had an interesting theory about why David H. went home before Kristy Lee, one that gave me just a little consolation: ”I don’t think our ears can handle hearing Kristy sing her version of ‘Eight Days a Week’ again, so hopefully she’ll stay and either David H. or Amanda will be singing goodbye to us.” (The joke was on us viewers, since the producers had each of the bottom three performers reprise their Tuesday-night performances.)

A reader named Eddy, on the other hand, argued that ”David H. had no right being in the finals. Everything about this guy is contrived and I’ll say it again, he can’t sing. Am I the only one who cringes whenever he leers at the camera?”

Still, the vast majority of you posters felt Kristy Lee should’ve paid the price for her fast-paced, fiddle-rific performance. Nadia H made the day’s funniest comment by arguing that ”if Kristy Lee was just ‘going country,’ then Deliverance was just ‘going canoeing.’ Horrible!”

And an anonymous reader also took issue with the way Ryan Seacrest (and a few EW readers) defended Kristy Lee by saying the judges had suggested she try to fill the country niche this season, then punished her when she did. ”There’s a big difference between pop country and the county-fair vaudeville show Kristy Lee put on last night. News flash: Country music isn’t just a couple of guys blowing over the hole of a jug while Clem picks a banjo anymore! You can’t just sing with a twang and a ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ dance and call yourself ‘country.’ The judges were right; Kristy Lee just dun them wrong!”

And picking up on the running Idolatry gag that Kristy Lee might actually be a robot, another reader noted that the contestant’s penchant for making sudden bulging-eyed expressions during her performances was caused by ”a surge from her batteries.”

Still, I have to hand it to the horse-lovin’ Oregonian for handling her bottom-three position with grace and good humor. I loved how she started asking for her microphone before Ryan even declared her fate, and her apology to the judges before repeating her performance (”Sorry you gotta hear it again!”) was priceless.

NEXT: Syesha, Little David, and sweaty medleys