Soulful singer George Huff was voted off “American Idol” by viewers Wednesday during a live broadcast, leaving four women as the show’s final contestants.
Huff, 22, from New Orleans, performed “What a Wonderful World” and “Cheek to Cheek” during Tuesday’s show, receiving lukewarm reviews from the judges.
Judge Randy Jackson said Huff’s performance was “safe,” while judge Simon Cowell said Huff sounded like he belonged on a cruise liner.
The three judges, including Paula Abdul, play an advisory role after helping winnow the field of 70,000 applicants to 32 semifinalists and then, with viewers, to 12 finalists. The audience takes charge from there until the winner is picked.
Huff, while popular, had been one of the bottom three vote-getters last week, when red-headed crooner John Stevens was voted off.
He remained smiling and positive during Wednesday’s show, his trademarks.
“Thank you so much, America,” he said. “American Idol is my over-the-rainbow experience.”
The four remaining contestants are all women — Jasmine Trias, Fantasia Barrino, Diana DeGarmo and LaToya London.
Barrino, 19, brought Abdul to tears Tuesday night with her rendition of “What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life.”
Barrino and London are obvious favorites, and Cowell praised their performances repeatedly.
“You and La Toya are in a different league,” he said to Barrino.
The show, which airs Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox, boosted network ratings to third last week with 8.9 million viewers tuning in.