PHOENIX — What a run. Valley residents hoping for a hometown American Idol won't be getting one this season. But we came close. 27-year-old Phoenix resident Wade Cota fought his way to the Top 5 but was eliminated Sunday night.
The Top 5 contestants performed three songs each: one chosen by in-house mentor, Bobby Bones; one dedicated to their heroes in honor of Mother's Day; and a song by Elton John. For the Elton John song, Cota, wearing large sunglasses, sang Rocket Man.
In honor of Mother's Day, Cota dedicated his performance of KISS's "Hard Luck Woman" to his mother. In a letter read on the show by his mother, Terri Cota, he also wrote of his appreciation for his step-father who raised him and gave him his last name.
In the first season episode featuring Cota, he spoke of a difficult childhood with an abusive father. He praised his mother for getting him and his siblings out of the house and away from his biological father. In subsequent episodes, he's consistently spoken of his desire to take care of his mother with the fame the show is bringing him.
“I want to be remembered for something, and it might as well be making my mom proud,” he said in an early episode.
Cota was the first of the five to perform Sunday. But his performance was not enough to get him to the next round. Cota, along with Texas college student Laci Kaye Booth were sent home. Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy, and Madison VanDenberg will advance.
The show's 3-hour finale airs Sunday, May 19. You can watch it on ABC15 at 5 pm.