While fans expected one contestant to be sent packing on tonight's (Mar. 24) "American Idol" elimination, the episode's outcome was more about coming than going. All 11 contestants will be joining the "American Idol" tour this summer -- including unlikely sex symbol Casey Abrams, who was saved by the judges after receiving the fewest fan votes.
This week's bottom three included Thia Megia, Stefano Langone and Casey Abrams. After Thia was revealed to be safe, the "Idol" elimination came down to two male contestants for the first time this season.
Abrams chose his audition song, Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor," as his sing-for-your-life chance, and after barely ripping into it, Randy Jackson stopped him. "We were wondering when we heard the results, 'Why is Casey at the bottom?' We don't know. You deserve to be here," Jennifer Lopez told Casey and the crowd. The judges promptly presented Casey with their only save for the season. Abrams quivered, cussed, and of course, sincerely thanked Steven, Jennifer and Randy for his second chance. Watch how it all went down below.
Abrams' near-elimination was not the only surprise on the episode, which host Ryan Seacrest promised would be filled with unexpected twists. Seacrest ended the episode by revealing that during next Thursday's "Idol" elimination, two contestants will go home. The blow was softened by Seacrest's news that the top 11 "Idol" contestants will embark on the show's summer tour, instead of the usual ten.
Other surprises from the show included an appearance from Hulk Hogan, who told Paul McDonald and James Durbin that they were safe from elimination -- with some extra oomph. All this was peppered with performances from Stevie Wonder (aided by "Idol" contestants), Sugarland and "Idol" alum Jennifer Hudson.
Wonder kicked off the show, keeping in line with last night's Motown theme while wishing an ecstatic Steven Tyler happy birthday with Wonder's song of the same title.
Sugarland enthusiastically performed on the "Idol" stage for the first time, giving fans a taste of country with "Stuck Like Glue." Watch below.
Later in the show, Jennifer Hudson "came home" to make "Idol" proud, singing her latest single, "Where You At," from new album "I Remember Me." Watch below.
What do you think, "American Idol" fans? Did the judges use their save too early in the season? Tell us in the comments below!