'American Idol': Michael Johns takes a surprisingly early exit

  • Article by: RANDY A. SALAS
  • Star Tribune
  • April 14, 2008 - 6:12 PM

The annual stunner came early this year on "American Idol" as Aussie powerhouse singer Michael Johns left Fox's top-rated TV show Thursday night.

Johns had arguably more professional music experience than any other finalist, save for Irish import Carly Smithson, who was also among the bottom three singers -- along with Syesha Mercado. But Johns received the fewest viewer votes for his straight-forward rendition Tuesday of Aerosmith's "Dream On."

"I'm definitely surprised," he said when asked how he felt by host Ryan Seacrest. But he defended his musical selection.

Judge Simon Cowell chided Johns' song choice, a criticism that dogged the singer this season. But the infamous grouch admitted, "I'm gonna miss you."

Like Smithson, Johns was once signed to a major record label. But unlike her, he was dropped before an album was released. He can take solace in the fact that "Idol" singers who have taken surprise early exits, such as Chris Daughtry two years ago, have gone on to have successful recording careers.

The seven singers left are scheduled to tackle the Mariah Carey songbook next week.

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