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American Idol recap: Hollie Cavanagh eliminated from season 11

It’s the end of California Dreamin’ for one of the Top 4; J. Lo and David Cook perform

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American Idol

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

She can’t make you love her if you don’t. Here in the dark and twisted minefield of the American Idol results show, in these final hours before the three chosen ones would embark on their Hometown Hero Visits, Little Hollie Cavanagh laid down her heart.

I think we all saw an elimination coming for sweet Hollie, she of the sparkly and pehhhhr-fect #holliepops species. What I didn’t expect was to cry so hard during her farewell song. Everything about it was truly perfect, starting from the way she had to jump in late, because she couldn’t hear the backing track over the cheers. Cool as an electric blue cucumber, our Alice in Wonderland wandered first over to season 11’s Top 3: Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez, and Phillip Phillips for a quick hug, then eventually approached the judges for some light hand squeezes and a “Hi baby” from Steven Tyler.

J. Lo’s mouth twitched from a saccharine smile to a “yeah, girl” scrunch as Hollie sang “I Got to Be Strong.” Jessica Sanchez leaked out her second visible tear of the week on “just keep on pushing on.” Joshua was a wet mess the whole time, of course. And even Phillip had watery eyes as he began to sing “It’s…” with Hollie on her last line — before immediately wising up that he was about to sing the title of a Miley Cyrus song on camera. Good save, P.P.! By the time Hollie went for the big finish, her tiny arm outstretched until she let it fall limp — what’s the use? — Joshua had drowned in his own tears and the judges were on their feet.

Maybe I was just avoiding my recap, but I ended up rewinding Hollie’s whole performance seven or eight times. I love to get a good reality TV sob in once and a while, and apparently Joshua and Jessica’s showstopping moments during last night’s The Song I Wrote to Bring You to Tears round weren’t enough for me. I was so happy to see Hollie — who really has “grown up with us,” as Ryan Seacrest said — in complete control while everyone else wept for her.

Good for you, Hollie. Now eat the little cake so you can get big enough to sing to us again.

NEXT: J. Lo’s always gonna wanna make it move