The wailing 22-year-old rocker from Santa Cruz, Calif., was revealed to have received the fewest viewer votes on the Fox talent contest Thursday, leaving just three finalists remaining in the competition. Durbin consistently wowed the judges and did so again Wednesday with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and The Clovers' "Love Potion No. 9."
"I was really hoping to get there," a tearful Durbin said after the results were revealed.
Durbin, the towering singer whose vocal acrobatics recalled the wonders of eighth season runner-up Adam Lambert, was never among the show's bottom-three vote-getters after such eccentric performances as Muse's "Uprising" or Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," which respectively included accompaniment by marching drummers and a flaming piano.
"I did so much stuff that's never been done on this show before," he said Thursday.
Durbin's dismissal means deep-voiced 17-year-old country crooner Scotty McCreery of Garner, N.C., growling 20-year-old singer Haley Reinhart of Wheeling, Ill., and soaring 16-year-old songstress Lauren Alaina of Rossville, Ga., are the top three finalists. Reinhart has appeared at the bottom a total of four times, while Alaina was there only once last week.
Before the elimination, Durbin and McCreery teamed up for the Brad Paisley and Keith Urban duet "Start a Band," while Reinhart and Alaina were paired for Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead." The installment also included performances by Lady Gaga, Enrique Iglesias, sixth season "Idol" winner Jordin Sparks and the debut of Steven Tyler's solo music video.
The top-three singers will visit their hometowns this weekend then return to the stage next Wednesday with another finalist dismissed Thursday, paving the way for the 10th season "Idol" champion to be crowned on the May 26 finale. In addition to Sparks, past winners of "Idol" have included Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen, David Cook and Carrie Underwood.