Milwaukee's "American Idol" finalist Danny Gokey returned to the stage that made him a star Thursday night to perform his country single "My Best Days are Ahead of Me."
While his performance was smooth, he seemed nervous afterward, chatting with Ryan Seacrest, and telling new judge Ellen DeGeneres that he was looking forward to dancing on her daytime talk show.
The real meat of the one-hour Fox show was the axing of four of 20 semifinalists, after viewer votes were tallied.
First, it was the guys' turn.
The first to go was John Park, 21, of Northbrook, Ill. He was followed by Jermaine Sellers, 27 of Joliet, Ill.
Then the ax started falling on the female singers. It fell first on Michelle Delamor, 22, of Miami. It moved on to one of the younger contestants, 16-year-old Haely Vaughn, of Fort Collins, Colo.
None of the singers sent home were a surprise. Sixteen semifinalists return to the stage next week.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.