‘American Idol’: Judges vote to save Laci Kaye Booth after shocking elimination

Spoiler alert! Contains details from Sunday’s episode of “American Idol.” 

Days after we predicted he could win the whole thing, our favorite “American Idol” contestant has been sent packing. 

Red-haired crooner Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon was shockingly eliminated from the ABC singing competition Sunday, after landing in the bottom two along with Laci Kaye Booth. Pressed to use their one save of the season as the end credits rolled, the judges voted for Booth to stay on the show as it moves into the Top 5 round next week. 

Although she failed to score many votes from viewers, judges chose to save Laci Kaye Booth during Sunday's "American Idol." (Photo: Eric McCandless, ABC)

Their decision to keep Booth over Harmon was a head-scratcher, given her underwhelming set of performances during the episode. The judges were critical of her wooden rendition of Janis Joplin’s “To Love Somebody,” imploring her to engage with the crowd and not merely stand in one place. They were more receptive of her take on Journey showstopper “Open Arms,” although viewers weren’t as impressed, tweeting that her “voice isn’t strong enough” and it was the “wrong song” for her.  

Harmon, meanwhile, delivered a one-two punch: wowing the judges with his vocal runs on gospel hymn “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and reaching new emotional heights with the stunning “Somewhere” from “West Side Story,” which perfectly showed off his seemingly limitless range. 

“I was locked in every single word, every single syllable; you did so great,” Katy Perry said afterward. 

Luke Bryan noted that Harmon got off to a shaky start, before adding, “From halfway through the song to the end, it was just incredible. Incredible.”

Lionel Richie was the most effusive in his praise, saying, “You cannot study mesmerizing. The audience was completely locked in on you. You killed it tonight.” 

It’s a heartbreaking end of the road for Harmon, 26, a Catonsville, Maryland, native who once worked as a janitor at his father’s church before coming out as gay. The singer-songwriter has been candid all season-long about his struggle for acceptance from his conservative parents, who finally attended an “Idol” taping last week. 

Three more episodes remain of this season of “Idol,” with the Top 5 battling it out Sunday (8 EDT/PDT) before the two-part finale begins May 19. 

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