Alyssa Wray didn't get her storybook ending on American Idol. The Northern Kentucky University freshman was eliminated by viewers' votes at the end of Sunday's live show, despite more rave reviews from judges.
Wray, 19, from tiny Perryville in central Kentucky sang “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella on the show's Disney-themed night.
“It was an amazing performance. I loved it,” Lionel Richie said.
Katy Perry praised the way Wray could manipulate her powerful voice. “The control in this performance was unlike any performance you’ve ever given us. It was elegant and elevated.” Luke Bryan said her performance “was truly a work of art to watch.”
Host Ryan Seacrest declared that “a princess star has been born. That was magical to watch. She wants that storybook ending.”
But she didn't get it.
Wray was among three singers sent home as the competition was reduced to seven.
At least she got her first trip to Walt Disney World – for free. With Idol pre-empted last week for ABC’s Academy Awards telecast, the contestants were sent to Orlando resort, owned by the ABC network's parent company.
After Mickey Mouse opened the “Disney Night” show Sunday, the first words viewers heard was Alyssa Wray saying, “I’ve been dreaming my whole life of moments likes this.”
“When I was a little girl, I’d dress up like all the princesses, especially Cinderella," Wray said in the taped segment. "I'm having the time of my life."
The 6-foot-2 former Boyle County High School basketball player grew up in Perryville singing in the church choir. She chose a music theater major at NKU after appearing in Frozen, Sister Act, Little Shop of Horrors and other musicals.
The singers’ mentor Sunday was actor-musician John Stamos. Wray told him: “I kind of always felt like I was meant for more, but I never really thought that I could achieve it. I just want to be here for as long as I can.”
I'm not a fan of the current American Idol voting system, where voting starts when the show starts at 8 p.m. before anyone performs, and ends after the last singer finishes. All three sent home last night sang in the second hour. It used to be that voting opened when the show ended, and went overnight, with results announced the next night. Only voting in a 2-hour window during the show gives a big advantage to the singers on first, and those with huge organized fan bases.
I thought Alyssa had the voice, poise and talent to go all the way on American Idol. I still do, even if she didn't make the top seven. Idol voters don't often get it right. Jennifer Hudson, one of Alyssa's idols, finished seventh in the third season behind Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo. Not winning the TV competition in 2004 didn't stop Hudson from winning two Grammy Awards, an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
With her Idol dreams dashed, it will be interesting to see where Alyssa's career takes her next.