Back in Hollywood, Kimberley Locke and the long-disqualified Frenchie Davis put on a spectacular duet of this 1970 smash by Freda Payne, the video clip of which will live forever on Idol fansites and YouTube. Fast forward to the present. After the previous week's results show, each of the Final 3 contestants – Locke, Ruben Studdard, and Clay Aiken – chose a song out of three glass jars prepared by the producers. Locke was essentially asked to duplicate her memorable number in competition, sans Davis.
And, she did. Whether this performance was better or worse received than the duet, we can't say, because we don't calculate Hollywood approval ratings. Still, Locke's reprise was an across-the-board success among reviewers. Aiken fans liked it. Studdard fans liked it. Locke's fans loved it. At 89, it was the highest-rated performance of the evening by over 25 points. And Locke's reward for it all was to be voted out of the competition...an outcome that came as a surprise to absolutely nobody.
This is the highest-rated elimination performance so far, and it's unlikely to be challenged any time soon. Locke sang brilliantly, but in the face of the gargantuan fanbases of Aiken and Studdard, this was truly a case of "You have no chance to survive, make your time!" We suspect Locke could have channeled the voice of Ella Fitzgerald, with choirs of angels descending from the heavens to sing backup, but she'd still have gone home the next night.