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Heated Exchange on American Idol Top 7 Night

Wednesday was a rough night on American Idol, especially for fans of this season’s two outlier iconoclasts, Joey Cook and Quentin Alexander.

American Idol

Joey sadly and undeservedly went home, and now I am worried that, after a heated exchange with judge Harry Connick Jr., her BFF Quentin will get the boot next week.

Before I get into what went down, I just want to say I’m totally#TeamQuentin on this one. OK?

So here’s what happened. Quentin was the fifth contestant called to safety, which meant that Joey and this season’s most tenacious contender, Rayvon Owen, were the bottom two. After Quentin sang, he looked sullen and perturbed, and when grilled by nosy host Ryan Seacrest, he said with a scowl: This sucks. We have two of the best vocalists [in the bottom two]. My best friend [Joey] is sitting there. This whole thing is wack. But I’m going to shut up right now.

It was an awkward moment, yes, but Quentin was simply emotional over the possibility of one of his pals leaving the show. (He and the newly engaged Joey have gotten so close, he’ll be officiating her wedding this year.) Quentin’s outburst may have been a tad immature (someone has to go home every week, after all, and he knew that coming into this competition), but it was obvious that his heart was in the right place ” and that he was not dissing the show itself.

However, Harry became livid over Quentin’s speech, blurting out: I don’t understand that! Quentin, if it’s that wack, then you can always go home, because Idol is paying a lot of money to give you this experience. And for you to say that to this hand that’s feeding you, I think that’s highly disrespectful.

Thankfully, the show didn’t cut to commercial just yet, so Quentin had a chance to defend/explain himself. He walked right back out, got right up in Harry’s face, and assertively stated: When I said that this was wack¦ For my personal feelings, it sucks to see two people that I’ve grown to love go home. That’s what I mean by it being wack. So I’m not disrespecting this competition¦ I’m glad I got to clarify it for you.Mic drop.

Actually, that really should have been the end of it. But after Quentin’s second performance of the evening, Jennifer Lopez brought up this incident all over again, and she definitely seemed to be #TeamHarry, since her entire critique was focused on the earlier argument, rather than on Quentin’s actually excellent rendition of The Sound of Silence. Jennifer wasn’t silent, that’s for sure.

After making a snarky comment about Quentin’s sensitive mood, J.Lo said: You displayed something earlier that kind of threw everybody. It was against what I know of you¦ You always have to know how to control [your emotions]. Quentin then used the moment to apologize (please note, Harry never apologized for the misunderstanding), but when Ryan joked that he’d thought earlier that Quentin was going topunch Harry, that was a really bad look for a contestant who has always seemed a little spooky and threatening to some conservative viewers anyway. I was raised better than that, Quentin told Ryan, still keeping it classy.

So now, I wonder if all this will hurt Quentin’s chances next week, and not just because of Ryan’s silly punching remark. While I think it was awesome that Quentin stood up for himself after Harry’s browbeating, and while I know that Quentin was only upset about Joey’s imminent elimination, historically on American Idol, voters have not been kind to contestants who sass back to the judges in any way. It’s always better for the contestants to just hold their tongues.

Really, this could go either way: Viewers could rally around Quentin, or they could punish him for being supposedly insubordinate. I seriously hope it’s not the latter, but I’m worried for him.

Side note: This wasn’t the only time Harry was rude this evening. During one of his critiques of Clark Beckham, he called Clark the only musician left on the show. The annoyed expressions on the faces of ukulele-strumming Joey, piano-playing Jax, and especially guitar-playing former rock band member Nick Fradiani were priceless. Hatchet Harry never apologized for that remark, either. And that was pretty wack.

All right, let me get off my soapbox now and go vote for Quentin. But before I do that, let’s discuss Wednesday’s elimination and the rest of the night’s performances. Singing for the Twitter Save this week were, like I said, Joey and Rayvon ” Rayvon doing so for the third week in a row. The theme was American Classics, which unfortunately meant the contestants were singing a lot of overdone, or just plain ho-hum, song choices. Fans supposedly chose the contestants’ first songs, so I have no idea what they were thinking by giving Rayvon the Doobie Brothers’ cheesy Long Train Runnin’. (Really, the only Idol contestant who should ever cover the Doobies is Taylor Hicks.) But Rayvon did what he could with it, and his performance actually had a certain fire that’s been lacking from many of his previous efforts. Rayvon’s second performance ” really the one foremost in viewers’ minds when it came time to Twitter-vote ” of Always on My Mind featured an undeniably superb vocal, but I still felt like his wall was up. I wasn’t moved. Alex Preston did a much more emotional version of this Elvis/Willie weeper last season.

By Lyndsey Parker

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