NEW YORK "American Idol" narrowed its singers to the top 10 on Wednesday eliminating Paige Miles after her faltering rendition of "Against All Odds" during a week in which contestants were mentored by teen pop star Miley Cyrus.
Miles seemed resigned to her fate of failing to reach the all-important 10 finalists who will go on tour this summer, providing critical exposure for the aspiring singers.
She was unanimously criticized on Tuesday's show by the four "Idol" judges, who felt she hadn't stepped up her performances in recent weeks. She also had been struggling with laryngitis.
"It's got to a point where it's not working," said Simon Cowell, explaining that the judges did not need to hear Miles sing again before deciding whether to use their once-per-season save, which would have spared the singer after being voted out by fans.
"It's the end," Cowell added, wrapping up a week in which many of the singers came in for harsh criticism for performances and song choices, with the notable exception of emerging front-runner Crystal Bowersox.
"It was a roller-coaster of a lifetime," Miles said. "I had a blast."
Barely surviving Wednesday's elimination round were Katie Stevens and Tim Urban, who landed in the bottom three. It was the second time in two weeks Urban had been there.
His performance of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" proved lightweight and featured a silly stage slide. Stevens, however, surprised "Idol" watchers with her poor showing.
Cyrus, star of the upcoming movie "The Last Song," performed "When I Look At You" during the live telecast, which also featured a duet by Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas.
The remaining 10 contestants will return next week for an R&B soul-themed night of songs mentored by Usher.
The show's finale airs in May when viewers will choose the next "Idol" star, and he or she lands a recording contract, not to mention bragging rights and invaluable media exposure.
Past winners have included Grammy-winning artists including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, while other contestants such as Clay Aiken, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and last season's runner-up Adam Lambert have become breakout stars in their own right.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)