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'Idol' recap: Clown prince Heejun Han sent packing as judges opt out of saving him

  • Heejun.jpg

    In this March 28, 2012 photo released by Fox, contestant Heejun Han performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," in Los Angeles. Han, the 22-year-old nonprofit organizer from New York, was voted off the program on Thursday, March 29. (AP)

  • Idol Season 11 finalists group - top 9

    FILE - In this image March 22, 2012 file photo originally released by Fox, the remaining nine contestants on the singing competition series "American Idol," clockwise from top left, Colton Dixon, Elise Testone, Phillip Phillips, Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick, Josh Ledet, Hollie Cavanaugh, Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez are shown in Los Angeles. (AP)

  • Idol Season 11 Top 9

    In this undated image released by Fox, the remaining ten contestants from the singing competition series, from left, Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone, DeAndre Brackensick, Hollie Cavanaugh, Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, Heejun Han, Jessica Sanchez, Josh Ledet and Erika Van Pelt, pose for a group photo in Los Angeles. (AP)

HeeJun Han, the clown prince of Season 11 “American Idol,” was finally sent packing on Thursday. 

Han’s solemn performance of Leon Russell's "A Song for You” Wednesday night did not win over “American Idol” voters, and landed him in the bottom out of the nine remaining contestants.

Hoping that the judges would use their once-a-season “save” to spare him, Han sang another heartfelt rendition of “A Song for You” for the judges.HollScot

It wasn’t enough to save him.

Judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson decided to let the elimination vote stand.

“Heejun, let the record show you knew this was coming yourself,” Tyler told the nonprofit organizer. “Unfortunately after talking, we’re going to have to let you go, man.”

Lopez looked particularly disappointed with Han’s dismissal, her eyes welling up with tears as she crossed her arms tight against her chest.


  • After singing an emotional rendition of 'A Song for You,' Heejun Han was sent packing. Judge Steven Tyler told him "you knew this was coming yourself."
  • Hollie Cavanaugh was saved for another day despite landing in the bottom three after her performance of Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel."
  • Nicki Minaj performed her new single
  • Scotty McCreery returned to the stage and said it felt like "yesterday" since his days as an "Idol" hopeful


Han’s fellow contestants–especially BFF Phillip Phillips–were also sad to see him go, giving the 22-year-old hugs and bro-shakes of support.

As Han left the competition, Hollie Cavanaugh breathed a sigh of relief. The Texan-by-way-of-England sang a technically perfect version of Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” on Wednesday night, but it didn’t inspire enough “American Idol” fans to pick up their phones and vote to keep her out of the bottom three.

“What (Cavanaugh) lacks is experience,” noted mentor Jimmy Iovine, adding, “You don’t win on technique. You win it on soul.”

Sharpshooting Mississipian Skylar Laine also landed in the bottom three, despite her enthusiastic performance of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.”

You don’t win on technique. You win it on soul.

- Jimmy Iovine

“She picked a character song than a song with real melody,” Iovine said of Laine’s song choice. “She’s going to have to go to songs with more song in them melodically”

As Han returns to Queens, New York, Cavanaugh and Laine join the other remaining contestants in the “American Idol” mansion–a swanky piece of real estate perched above Lake Hollywood in the Hollywood Hills.

Fans were encouraged to tweet their thoughts about the hopefuls’ posh digs, using the hashtag, #IdolMansion. 

That wasn’t the only attempt to harness the power of social media on Thursday night. Fans were also prompted to tweet their thoughts on Iovine’s critiques using the hashtag #TellJimmy. 

It all proved to be too much for one “American Idol” fan who tweeted, “#MyIdol #IdolMansion #Idol #TellJimmy #TooManyHashtags” late Thursday.

There was no hashtag promoted for “American Idol” season ten winner Scotty McCreary, who was on hand to sing his new single, "Water Tower Town.”

McCreary’s debut album, “Clear as Day,” sold more than one million copies, which prompted Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, to present McCreary with a framed platinum record.

“Scotty, first of all, this is very hard to do,” Iovine told a clearly surprised  and moved McCreary. “For a debut artist to get a platinum record is really a Herculean act. We’re really proud of you. Let’s do this again next year.”

Up next: The final eight contestants sing hit songs from the ‘80s.