LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael "Big Mike" Lynche didn't get the big boot on "American Idol."
The soulful 26-year-old personal trainer and father from Queens, N.Y., was saved Wednesday by the judges on the ninth season of the Fox singing competition. Lynche was praised for his R&B take on "Eleanor Rigby" during Tuesday's performance show featuring tunes from the John Lennon and Paul McCartney songbook, but he still received the fewest viewer votes.
"We have decided we're going to see you next week," Simon Cowell declared.
The one-time-only power, introduced last season and previously used on piano-playing fifth-placer finisher Matt Giraud, allows the judges to save a contestant from being eliminated — if the panel unanimously agree — up until the round in which the show's top five finalists have been selected.
With Lynche safe this week, that means two contestants will be sent packing next week.
Joining Lynche in the bottom three were 25-year-old musician Andrew Garcia from Moreno, Calif., and 17-year-old high school student Aaron Kelly of Sonestown, Pa.
Garcia and Kelly both received lukewarm receptions to their respective renditions of "Can't Buy Me Love" and "The Long and Winding Road." None of the men had previously been low-vote getters.
"Idol" host Ryan Seacrest teased the "shocking" results before revealing that 24-year-old musician Crystal Bowersox of Toledo, Ohio, 20-year-old glass blower Siobhan Magnus of Marstons Mills, Mass., and 17-year-old high school student Katie Stevens of Middlebury, Conn., were safe from elimination. Stevens had been in the bottom three for the past two weeks.
"I'm always nervous every week, so it doesn't really change," Stevens said.
The other finalists also remaining in the competition are 24-year-old paint sales clerk Lee Dewyze of Mount Prospect, Ill.; 27-year-old musician Casey James of Fort Worth, Texas; and 20-year-old college student Tim Urban of Duncansville, Texas. The singers will be mentored next week by eighth season runner-up Adam Lambert.
Fox is a unit of News Corp.
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