NEW YORK Scott MacIntyre was sent packing from "American Idol" on Wednesday after his poorly received performance of "The Search Is Over," leaving seven finalists in the hit talent show's competition.
The 23-year-old man from Scottsdale, Arizona, who is legally blind, was eliminated after four judges split on whether to use their once-per-season veto power to keep him in the running.
"This is really tough," Simon Cowell, one of the judges, said at the end of the live broadcast before finally declaring: "Someone's got to make a decision here, and I'm going to say it's the end of the competition. Sorry."
Cowell called the choice of the song by the rock group Survivor boring and even horrible.
MacIntyre was on the brink of elimination in recent weeks.
"You've been an inspiration to the entire world," said Paula Abdul, another judge.
"This was not the right song for you, but it doesn't diminish your talent," said Abdul, who added. "You are one classy gentleman."
"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
Anoop Desai, 21, and Lil Rounds, 23, were the other bottom-three finishers. Ryan Seacrest, the show's host, said only 30,000 votes separated MacIntyre and Desai among some 34 million votes cast this week.
Highlights of the live broadcast on Wednesday included performances by Frankie Avalon, Flo Rida and season five finalist, country singer Kellie Pickler.
The other remaining finalists are Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen and Matt Giraud.
Past winners of the competition 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 later this spring.