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Point Pleasant native eliminated from 'American Idol'

By Staff, wire reports

LOS ANGELES -- "American Idol" fans did not vote for West Virginian Chase Likens to advance to the finals Thursday night in the 11th season of "American Idol."

The Point Pleasant native and country crooner was one of the first two contestants to be eliminated Thursday night. On Tuesday's episode of "American Idol," Likens performed among 12 male semifinalists, and sang "Storm Warning," by Hunter Hayes.

Judge Jennifer Lopez said to Likens, "You've got the movie-star good looks for sure, but you sounded great tonight as well. Tonight is about showing America who you are, and you definitely did that with that song. I look forward to seeing where you go."

Although the judges seemed positive about his performance, voters apparently did not.

The 21-year-old Marshall University junior auditioned this year in Pittsburgh, singing Lady Antebellum's "Love Don't Live Here." Likens isn't new to "American Idol." He auditioned in Nashville last year with Chris Young's "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)" and Clint Black's "Nothin' but the Taillights." That earned him a spot in Hollywood, but he was cut in the group round there.

A theater performance major, Likens began singing when he was 5 and performed at his elementary school talent show. Since then, his singing achievements include being the 2008 Jackson County Colgate Country Showdown winner, a two-time winner of Ariel Jr. Idol in Gallipolis, Ohio, and the Jackson County Jr. Fair Idol.

"American Idol" is now down to its top 13 singers.

Smooth 21-year-old pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., quirky 22-year-old nonprofit organizer Heejun Han of New York, and spunky 18-year-old country crooner Skylar Laine, from Brandon, Miss., were among the finalists revealed Thursday on the Fox network's singing contest. They and seven others received the most viewer votes after the 13 male semifinalists performed Tuesday and the 12 female semifinalists sang Wednesday.

The other viewer-selected finalists included soothing 18-year-old vocalist Hollie Cavanaugh of McKinney, Texas; 20-year-old alt-rock musician Colton Dixon, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; 25-year-old "gentle giant" Jermain Jones of Pine Hill, N.J.; booming 19-year-old student Joshua Ledet, of Westlake, La.; soaring 16-year-old vocalist Shannon Magrane, of Tampa, Fla.; 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, of San Diego; and soulful 28-year-old teacher Elise Testone, of Charleston, S.C.

Once the fan favorites were all revealed, the show's panel picked five remaining semifinalists to deliver a last-chance tune in hopes of becoming one of the judges' wild-card selections. The judges ultimately chose 17-year-old student Deandre Brackensick, of San Jose, Calif.; 19-year-old receptionist Jeremy Rosado, of Valrico, Fla.; and 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt, of South Kingstown, R.I., to be among the top 13.

"I love somebody who can fight through the tears and still deliver," Lopez told a weepy Van Pelt.

The finalists will return to the stage to sing Wednesday in the first round of season 11's finals. "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest announced Thursday that the male singers would perform Stevie Wonder songs, while the female contestants would pay tribute to the late Whitney Houston, who died last month.


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