Divided into groups of three, from the lowest number of votes to the highest, the final nine “American Idol” hopefuls sweated out another fan vote Wednesday night knowing that one of them would be headed home.
The Valley’s Jordin Sparks was grouped with LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle, with Phil Stacey, Haley Scarnato and Gina Glocksen in another group and Blake Lewis, Chris Richardson and Sanjaya Malakar in the third group.
Glendale’s Sparks, Jones and Doolittle were told by host Ryan Seacrest that they were safe 10 minutes into the broadcast, with Lewis, Richardson and Malakar, the teenager viewed by many in the media as the weakest singer of the bunch, being told that they were safe as well, leaving Scarnato, Stacey and Glocksen as the bottom three in the voting.
With guest Tony Bennett – who coached the “Idols” through this week’s competition -- suffering from the flu, Michael Buble, the singer carrying on the traditional pop vocal style that Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin made famous, performed “Call Me Irresponsible” while Scarnato, Stacey and Glocksen sweated it out on the sidelines.
Seacrest then sent Stacey back to the safe group, leaving teary-eyed hopefuls Scarnato and Glocksen to suffer in silence as the host reiterated what the two singers performed the night previously and what judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell thought of their performances.
Finally, Seacrest told Scarnato that she was safe, leaving Gina Glocksen as the odd singer out.