‘American Idol’ top 24 cuts former Miss America, N.J. singers out

After Mansquan’s Cole Hallman was cut from the show in duets that aired Sunday, Betty Maxwell, Miss America 2016, was sent home from the competition in Monday’s episode.

Maxwell’s performance in the “Showstoppers” round of season 20 did not make it to the broadcast, but her exit did. She said on Instagram that she sang “The Joke” by Brandi Carlile and shared a video from a rehearsal.

While Maxwell’s duet performance with West Virginia contestant Kelsie Dolin, 18, touched the judges in Sunday‘s episode and brought Lionel Richie to tears, Dolin was also cut from the show.


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A post shared by Betty Maxwell (@realbettymaxwell)

But Dolin said she gained confidence from competing, and Maxwell said she wanted to help Dolin feel comfortable onstage during their duet. Judges praised the pageant winner for helping her partner grow as a performer.

Maxwell, 27, won a talent award for her opera performance when she was crowned Miss America (as Betty Cantrell) at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in 2015. But the singer, who sought a music career in Nashville after her pageant win, said that “Idol” judges told her she sounded “too Broadway.”

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“I totally understand their decision, but hopefully I did get the attention of someone who is looking for a voice like mine,” Maxwell said on Instagram, tagging Disney.

During an earlier appearance on the show, she performed impressions of various Disney characters (the year Maxwell was crowned, the pageant aired on Disney’s ABC, the current network broadcasting “American Idol”). In an Instagram Live after the show aired, Maxwell said she’d love to be cast as a Disney princess.

But as for all those telling her to go to Broadway, she doesn’t think living in New York would be her scene (the former Miss Georgia, who hails from Warner Robins, currently lives in Jupiter, Florida).


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A post shared by Betty Maxwell (@realbettymaxwell)

Maxwell said she knew since December that she didn’t make the top 24 and had a hunch going in to see the judges that she wouldn’t be continuing in the competition. But she said she met the goal she set out to achieve — to prove that she’s more than a pageant queen.

Though Manasquan’s Cole Hallman, 22, was eliminated in Sunday’s show, his duet partner, Cadence Baker of Alabama, made the top 24.

Another New Jersey singer, Lumberton’s Camryn Champion, was missing from the top 24 and not shown in Monday’s episode.

Like Hallman, Champion, 16, a student at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, got a “golden ticket” to Hollywood in the show’s February season premiere.
Singers who advanced to the top 24 were sent to the next phase of competition at Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii, which hosts two nights of performances in the coming episodes, airing Sunday, April 10 and Monday, April 11.

The top 20 reveal, to be determined by the first public vote this season, will follow on April 17.

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