'American Idol' Down To Seven As Scott MacIntyre Exits

After much clamoring from the judges, the competition is over for Scott MacIntyre on "American Idol."

The 23-year-old piano player from Scottsdale, Ariz., who crooned Survivor's "The Search is Over" in hopes of being saved by the judges, received the fewest number of viewer votes Wednesday on the popular Fox singing competition.

"This is really tough," judge Simon Cowell said after MacIntyre reprised his performance sans electric guitar. "I really, really like you, Scott. I'm looking over there, and I think there's a bunch of talented singers. This decision isn't just based on you. It's whether I think — or we think — someone is more talented over there. This is the problem."

In a new rule this season, judges can save a contestant they feel has been wrongly eliminated by voting viewers before the final five finalists are selected. Cowell said two of the show's four judges wanted MacIntyre to stay while the other two wanted him to go. MacIntyre pleaded to remain in the competition as the judges bickered and audience hollered.

"I know I can please you another week, Simon," MacIntyre said.

The judges decided not to rescue MacIntyre. Joining him as the bottom three vote-getters were 24-year-old mother of three Lil Rounds from Memphis, Tenn., and 22-year-old college student Anoop Desai from Chapel Hill, N.C.

"Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said only 30,000 of the 34 million viewer votes cast this week separated MacIntyre from Desai.

The parade of praise also continued for Adam Lambert, the 27-year-old actor who earned a standing ovation Tuesday from Cowell after performing Gary Jules' arrangement of Tears for Fears' "Mad World." The other judges echoed the sentiment Wednesday because they did not have time to comment on Tuesday's performance show, which ran eight minutes over schedule.

"I was extremely honored," Lambert said of Cowell's standing ovation. "I really appreciate that gesture. There's really nothing else I can say. I have never seen that before. I have been watching the show for eight years. I'm flattered."

The seven contestants who remain in the singing competition are Lambert, Desai, Rounds, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud and Allison Iraheta.

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