American Idol began the year with a woman problem, but as it moved into the last half of the season, there’s been one woman in particular whom the show seems to have an issue with: Haley Reinhart. The 20-year-old bluesy balladeer has staged quite a comeback — thrust into the group of finalists with little in the way of backstory, she was a perpetual bottom-three presence, yet climbed steadily into the top four on the strength of scorching covers of “House of the Rising Sun” and “Benny and the Jets” — but comes in for the most criticism from the judges. “Yeah, man, I mean, come on, everybody else gets good feedback,” she told reporters last night. “They really let me have it.” (At least fellow contestant Lauren Alaina is in her corner: “That made me a little ill … I’m sorry guys, but Haley has the best voice on this show, and she gets the most criticism. It’s just, like, I deserve a lot more criticism than she does.”) Even executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is on the defensive. So what is the judges’ damage when it comes to Haley, and is there any chance she can make it to the finals?
Photo: Frazer Harrison