Fans pare "Idol" top 10 with Sarver elimination

Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:59am EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fans of "American Idol" eliminated Texas oil rig worker Michael Sarver from the show's eighth season on Thursday, casting the fewest number of votes for his rendition of the Motown hit "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."

Sarver, 27, from Jasper, Texas, lost after what host Ryan Seacrest set was a record-setting 36 million-plus votes cast on the hit television talent show, and the judges opted not to use their once-per-season veto to keep the burly singer.

"Michael, you're going home -- sorry," said Simon Cowell after a conference by the judges that sent the show into overtime. Sarver performed his version of The Temptations song on Wednesday during the show's Motown-themed performances.

"American Idol" pits aspiring singers against each other in a series of competitions that focus on a musical theme each week. It is the most watched TV show in the United States, with more than 24 million viewers per episode broadcast by the Fox network, a unit of News Corp.

Sarver was gracious in defeat, noting "I'm going on tour," referring to the summer "American Idol" tour by the top 10 contestants.

The show's judges were unanimous in giving Sarver's singing the thumbs down, with even normally gentle Paula Abdul saying it "was a tough performance." Cowell said: "It just wasn't good enough."

Scott MacIntyre and Matt Giraud, both 23, rounded out the all-male group of bottom-three finishers. The remaining finalists include Adam Lambert, Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Megan Joy and Allison Iraheta.

Joy's performance was slammed by the judges this week and observers thought the tattoed blonde could be eliminated.   Continued...

<p>Performer Michael Sarver poses at the party for the 12 finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>