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'American Idol': Hollie Cavanagh and Nine Other Surprising Top 4 Finalists — GALLERY

May 09, 2012 | 6:53am EDT

American Idol Hollie CavanaghThere are various stages of surprise experienced by most American Idol viewers. There's the initial, visual surprise: Is Elise Testone really wearing a giant orange fruit roll-up with her Farrah-Fawcett-in-a-wind-tunnel hairdo? There's genuine pleasant surprise: Yes, that is an actual tear streaming down my face upon hearing Jessica Sanchez sing "Dance With My Father." And then there's the most vexing of bizarro world surprises: Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine are gone, but Hollie Cavanagh is still in the running for the title? But that's the beauty of the American Idol live format — you never know when someone's going to go home, step up their game, or waltz on stage with a ponyhawk. 

As much as I will continue to express my indignant shock over Hollie's miraculous and stalwart presence in the competition — despite performances so bad even her fans in the audience didn't dare cross the judges when they criticized her — she is solidly a member of the Top 4 club. And while you may have conveniently forgotten thanks to Randy's constant use of superlatives (Season 11 is the most surprising, talented, contentious, overly praised amazing one yet), surprising Top Four finishers are a longstanding Idol tradition. 


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[Image: Fox]
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