AMERICAN IDOL, Holly Cavanaugh, Josh Ledet, Colton Dixon, Jessica Sanchez, Elise Testone, Phillip Phillips, Skylar Laine

Michael Becker / FOX

Who had a bad night on American Idol?

There was no use guessing ahead of time who would be kicked off: Elise Testone probably got the least positive feedback on Wednesday. Jessica Sanchez sounded fierce, but the voters tried to get rid of her last week. Hollie Cavanagh did better than usual. Colton Dixon had one top-notch song and one just so-so.

In any case, tonight's blood-letting was going to be painful, especially if the voters decided to throw the judges for a loop like they did last time.

So, did they?


Just when we thought the natural order of things had been restored with Hollie and Elise back in the bottom three, American Idol ended up saying goodbye to Colton—who was in the bottom three for the first time!

Colton handled his ouster with aplomb, giving the booing fans a little wink as if reminding them not to worry because they hadn't heard the last of him. (But they have until the Idol finale, at least.)

"I need to apologize," he told the judges. "I wasn't myself last night, and I get it, and I appreciate what you told me last night. I'll take that when I'm making a record."

"You'll make many records," Jennifer Lopez assured him.

"You have a huge career ahead of you," added Randy Jackson.

"To me, Phillip and Colton finished on opposite sides of the game," mentor Jimmy Iovine had observed earlier. He seemed to loathe everything about Colton doing Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" (and that was the better of his two performances!) while feeling that Phillip had nailed Usher's "U Got It Bad."

Ryan Seacrest toyed with Jessica and Joshua Ledet, who was also in the bottom three last week but utterly amazing yesterday, but he could only do so much before sending them to safety.

"I'm afraid you didn't get the right number of put you in the bottom three," Seacrest said. Ba-dum-dum.

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