NEW YORK (Reuters) - Megan Joy, the tattooed blonde singer from Utah, was given the boot by "American Idol" fans on Wednesday after she failed to impress them, or the judges, with her rendition of "Turn Your Lights Down Low" during the show's popular downloads-themed week.
Joy, 22, from Sandy, had been spared even a bottom-three finish last week despite the judges' unanimous, blistering comments about her performance, which Simon Cowell called horrible. This week they opted not to use their once-per-season veto power over the fan voting to keep her in the competition.
"This is your swan song, enjoy it," Cowell, who had called the performance boring, indulgent and monotonous, told Joy. He added they did not even need to hear her sing once more before deciding whether to keep her.
Joy seemed consigned to her fate, saying "It's OK" after host Ryan Seacrest revealed her fate.
Smiling, even cheerful, she added, "Judges, I love you, America I love you, and baby, I'm coming home."
With Joy's elimination, which was not a huge surprise after the judges agreed she chose the wrong song and Kara DioGuardi warned Joy she was "in trouble," the competition for season eight on the hit talent show was whittled down to eight.
Anoop Desai, 21, and Allison Iraheta, 16, were the other bottom-three finishers.
Among highlights of Wednesday's show were the return of last season's winner David Cook, who sang "Come Back to Me," and a performance by Lady Gaga of "Poker Face."
The remaining finalists include Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre.
"American Idol," the nation's top-rated program, pits aspiring singers against each other in a series of competitions that focus on a musical theme each week.
Past winners including Kelly Clarkson and several runners-up such as Clay Aiken and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson have gone on to lucrative music careers as well as in film and on Broadway.
The winner of "American Idol"'s eighth season will be announced during a live finale this spring.
Writing by Chris Michaud