West Virginia native Kelsie Dolin tugged on the “American Idol” judges’ heartstrings with her audition.
In her audition video, Dolin talked about being raised by her grandparents when her mother could no longer care for her due to struggles with addiction. She told the judges that she kept seeing ads for “American Idol” auditions online and felt like it might be a sign from her deceased grandmother to finally put herself out there.
She made Lionel Richie cry with her rendition of “When We Were Young” by Adele. Luke Bryan said Dolin has “a pure beautiful voice that’s never been challenged, it’s never been pushed, it’s just never been lifted up and loved on.”
But after a duet with former Miss America Betty Maxwell and a Showstopper performance of Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go,” the judges told Dolin she had not made it into the top 24. Many “American Idol” fans were disappointed and felt the judges had based their decision less on Dolin’s vocals and more on her image.
Fans Think the Judges Saw Dolin as Not ‘Marketable Enough’
On a Reddit thread discussing the April 4 episode, “Idol” fans weighed in on the judges’ decision to eliminate Dolin.
“I’m so sad Kelcie (sic) didn’t make it. She deserved a slot. I guess she wasn’t “marketable” enough,” one Reddit user wrote. “Yup 100% the reason she went home,” another fan agreed.
“I worry about her returning to WVa (West Virgina) where she won’t be able to do much to develop her talent,” another viewer commented. Dolin is from Boone County, an area she described as the “boondocks” in her “Idol” audition video.
After Dolin’s Showstopper performance, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie agreed that Dolin “got what she came for.” But some fans felt it was unkind to cut Dolin’s journey short when she had already shown so much growth. “She finally breaks out of her shell, and the judges be like, “yeah…nah, thanks for coming out tho,” a viewer wrote on Reddit.
“Permission to slap the judges?” another wrote, expressing frustration with several of the judges’ top 24 decisions.
Who Made the Top 24?
As the judges told contestants whether or not they’d made it to the top 24, they made liberal use of the “fakeout” — making it seem like contestants had been eliminated only to tell them they were actually moving forward in the competition.
After Fritz Hager took a risk by singing an original song for his Showstopper performance, Katy Perry told him that the judges had not put him in the top 24. After a pause, she revealed that he’d put himself in the top 24.
On a Reddit thread discussing the April 4 episode, fans expressed annoyance with the mind games. “God forbid you just let them be happy instead of manipulating their emotions,” one Reddit user wrote. “These are people’s lives at stake and they tease them with fakeouts. Make it stop dear God pls,” another commented.
Here are the top 24 contestants for season 20: