Can Haley Reinhart rocket to 'Idol' finale?

May 19, 2011 - 3:42 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Haley Reinhart has always seemed doomed on "American Idol."

Unlike her remaining rivals, cherubic country crooners Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, the wavy-haired Reinhart has been less definable and garnered fewer votes on the Fox talent contest. She's been one of the show's low vote-getters four times. Reinhart — and "Idol" viewers — will learn Thursday night if the bluesy singer moves onto the finale.

The 20-year-old college student from Wheeling, Ill., best known for her signature singing growl and leggy ensembles, appeared destined to be dismissed weeks ago, landing at the bottom after her weak — and sometimes awkward — takes on such songs as LeAnn Rimes' "Blue" and Blondie's "Call Me." She found recent success by boldly tackling classic rock tunes.

Reinhart earned a standing ovation from the judges two weeks ago for a rousing rendition of The Animal's version of "The House of the Rising Sun." She was lauded again Wednesday for her performances of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" and Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be." Despite tripping on the stairs during the latter, she kept on rockin'.

Meanwhile, McCreery, the deep-voiced 17-year-old country crooner of Garner, N.C., and Alaina, the soaring 16-year-old songbird of Rossville, Ga., have delivered a series of mostly consistent performances of country and pop selections since their attention-grabbing auditions. McCreery has never appeared at the bottom, and Alaina did only once two weeks ago.

Despite the uneven ascent of Reinhart in the competition, this season's femme fatale might find herself facing McCreery or Alaina at next week's finale, especially if she secured votes from fans of eliminated singers like wailing 22-year-old rocker James Durbin of Santa Cruz, Calif., and quirky 20-year-old musician Casey Abrams of Idyllwild, Calif.

Or she just might be the inevitable next choice to be sent packing.

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