OFFSTAGE: Janelle Arthur Goes Unsaved on American Idol

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Just when I think I totally get American Idol, something happens that I just don’t understand. Janelle Arthur, one of two country singers in Idol’s Top 5, was sent home Thursday night (April 18). So once again, I have to ask: Who are the judges saving the save for? I mean, no contestant is perfect. But Arthur has a voice like an angel (per Nicki Minaj), she is where she belongs when she sings country (per Randy Jackson), she is lovable (per Minaj) and she is believable (per Mariah Carey). Unfortunately, Keith Urban — of all people — had some rough criticism this week after she sang Vince Gill’s “When I Call Your Name.”

“I’m gonna be the lone guy on this whole panel who apparently heard a different song,” he said. “I love that song. For me, when Vince sings it, that song is all emotion. When Vince sings it, you feel it. It’s pure emotion. Your voice is angelic, and it’s beautiful, but I didn’t feel it. I felt like you were spending so much time getting all the notes right and doing little runs in between. I hope you get to sing again next week.”

Then when Arthur tackled Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde,” the show’s (supposed) mentor Jimmy Iovine said Parton was the right diva, but it was the wrong song. Urban agreed, saying, “You’ve got a thing none of the other girls have, but I don’t feel like that was the best song for you to shine.” Parton herself had written a note telling Arthur she thought the performance was great, adding, “I will always love you. ”

All that said, Arthur didn’t have to go home after she was voted into the bottom two with Kree Harrison. She tried to sing her way to the save with the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” to no avail.

“Unfortunately we’re not gonna use it,” Jackson said of the judges’ chance to keep her hanging on. “But we love, love you.” Double love but not a single save.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.