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'American Idol' ends for Raleigh's Jordan Sasser

Season-three “American Idol” winner Fantasia performs with Jordan Sasser.
Season-three “American Idol” winner Fantasia performs with Jordan Sasser. Photo by Michael Becker, courtesy Fox Broadcasting.

Raleigh native Jordan Sasser’s stay on Fox’s “American Idol” wound up being a short one, as he failed to survive Thursday night’s first cuts to the round of 24.

Sasser was one of five contestants sent home, out of 12 who performed a series of duets with past “Idol” winners. That wasn’t an entirely surprising result after his solo appearance Wednesday night, which left judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., mostly unmoved.

Sasser appeared alongside season-three winner Fantasia to sing “I Believe,” her post-victory song from the 2004 season. But it seemed telling that afterward, the celebrity judges actually had more to say about Fantasia’s performance than his.

Among the past “Idol” winners to return Thursday night were all three from North Carolina -- 2014’s season-13 winner Caleb Johnson, from Asheville; Garner’s Scotty McCreery, the winner of season 10 in 2011; and High Point native Fantasia.

One of the current contestants McCreery sang with was Jenna Renae, who now resides in Charlotte. The duo performed McCreery’s 2013 hit “See You Tonight.” It proved not to be enough as she didn’t advance, either.

Fantasia also threw in a little Tar Heel flavor during her filmed pre-show rehearsal segment with Sasser, humming the chorus of Petey Pablo’s 2001 North Carolina anthem “Raise Up” while they were comparing notes about back home.

But that appears to close the book on The Old North State in the 15th and final season of “American Idol,” which is scheduled to end on April 7.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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