For the first time ever, three “American Idol” contestants remain alive heading into the final week of the season. Instead of being eliminated on a Thursday night results show, the third place finisher will learn of his grim fate at the beginning of next week’s final performance show.
Wednesday’s performance/results hybrid confirmed the identities of the season’s top three contestants: Nick Fradiani, Clark Beckham and Jax.
A dark horse of sorts, Fradiani started under the radar but emerged as a legitimate contender as the season progressed. While his stylistic choices–regarding song selection, performance staging and fashion–have drawn occasional skepticism from mentor Scott Borchetta and the judging panel, Beckham has long been perceived as a frontrunner.
Also considered a frontrunner since the beginning of the voting rounds, Jax seems to represent the annual “chosen one.” She is not immune from criticism (as the judges’ reaction to her “Misery Business” confirms), but her artistic proclivities have more often than not left Borchetta and the judges smitten.
As noted, one of these contestants will be eliminated at the beginning of next Tuesday’s performance episode. The remaining two will then perform, and the winner will be revealed during Wednesday’s results broadcast.
While this Wednesday’s show kept the dream alive for Nick, Clark and Jax, it meant the end of the road for Rayvon Owen. The contestant finishes in fourth place and thus joins a group of alumni that includes names like James Durbin, Chris Daughtry, La Toya London and Tamyra Gray.