If there was ever an "American Idol" week when the Judges' Save seemed likely to be used, this week seemed like the one, since Wednesday's top nine show was the best episode of Season 11--and possibly one of the best in "Idol" history. Really, anyone had a good chance of being saved--except Heejun Han, who, despite redeeming himself with his finest (and most serious) performance of the season this week, was still arguably the weakest vocalist left in the very competitive top nine. And thus, when Heejun ended up being the contestant with the least votes on this Thursday's results show, the Save was not used, and he became the fourth finalist to go home this season.
Heejun belted his lungs out when it came time to sing for the Judges' Save, reprising this week's "A Song For You" by Donny Hathaway and performing it with perhaps even more heart and soul this time around. But it seemed like payback time: Steven Tyler, who, despite being the panel's wackiest judge, had expressed uncharacteristically stern-faced dissatisfaction with Heejun's hokey, jokey "My Life" performance last week, told Heejun the news of his dismissal with all the coldness of the Fox Network's Dr. House delivering a damning diagnosis.
"For the record, you knew this was coming," Steven told Heejun, straight up. "Unfortunately, we're gonna have to let you go, man." Jennifer Lopez, however, seemed more sympathetic; she'd even gotten genuinely misty-eyed during what turned out to be Heejun's farewell song, and at one moment it looked like she'd been arguing, obviously unsuccessfully, with Randy Jackson and Steven over whether to use the Judges' Save on Heejun.
The always affable Heejun took the news of his elimination very well, but up in the rafters, the other eight contestants looked positively devastated--especially his BFF, Phillip Phillips, who also had tears in his eyes. But I'm sure Heejun and Phillip will have tons of madcap adventures when they reunite and continue their bromance on the Idols Live Tour this summer.
I will miss Heejun's comedy, and honestly, the show is going to be a lot less interesting without him. But let's face it, someone had to go, and it was probably his time. However, he will be dearly missed.
Rounding out this week's bottom three were Hollie Cavanagh, who'd received mixed reviews from the judges on Wednesday, and, more surprisingly, Skylar Laine, whom Randy had actually compared to Carrie Underwood after her guns-blazing "Gunpowder & Lead" performance. Heejun, a boy, may have been the one to go home this week, but considering the talent that was on the chopping block alongside him this Thursday, Season 11 still may not be a "girls' season" after all.