April 07, 2011 at 03:40 PM EDT
Kwaku Alston/ESSENCE

The moment that generated my strongest reaction during last night’s American Idol wasn’t a performance, it was something Jacob Lusk said. While explaining his switch from Marvin Gaye’s blunt “Let’s Get It On” to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” during his pre-song package, Jacob said, “If I end up in the bottom three, it won’t be because I sang the song bad. It won’t be because I sang the song wrong. It’ll be because everybody in America wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror.”

So the only reason I’d choose to vote for someone else over him is because I’m a coward? It’s a dangerous game, telling voters what they’re thinking and/or feeling. I was so distracted that it wasn’t until I played back Jacob’s performance this morning that I was able to fully appreciate his vocals. So I’ve got to ask: Did that statement affect your opinion of his performance? In general, how much does what a contestant says influence your vote?

Read more:

American Idol recap: The Rock Garden

American Idol behind the scenes: Idol coaches talk the Top 9 — EXCLUSIVE

American Idol on the scene for the Top 9 performance night

EW’s American Idol Central

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