After once again being voted into the "American Idol" bottom three alongside two female singers, Karen Rodriguez could not survive this week's competition and was voted off during the elimination episode on Fox tonight (Mar. 17). Haley Reinhart and Naima Adedapo joined Rodriguez in the bottom three but were eventually cleared into the Top 11.
Video: Karen Rodriguez eliminated from 'American Idol'
When Rodriguez, who delivered a take on Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back" on last night's episode that made Steven Tyler praise her "ethnic-what-is-it-ness," found out that she had received the least votes, she busted out a multilingual performance of Mariah Carey's "Hero" that earned a standing ovation. "It just felt great to have at least that one chance," she said as she broke down in tears following the performance. "I can do so much better, and I know you guys believe in me."
Sadly, Randy Jackson told Rodriguez that the judges had chosen not to save her, although unlike last week's decision on Ashthon Jones, the vote was not unanimous. With the departures of Rodriguez and Jones, season 10 of "American Idol" is left with 6 male contestants -- none of whom have yet to crack the bottom three -- and 5 female contestants.
"American Idol" kicked off a particularly lively elimination episode with a group performance that mashed up Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," and culminated in a "West Side Story"-esque battle between the boys and girls. "Idol" also offered a preview of the Ford music video that the contestants are shooting -- in one memorable sequence, Lauren Alaina is shown tied to a chair next to a ticking time bomb while Paul McDonald laughs maniacally.
Season 9 champ Lee DeWyze also returned to the "Idol" stage to perform his latest single, the sweeping rock ballad "Beautiful Like You."
Shortly after, the Black Eyed Peas played new single "Just Can't Get Enough" for the first time, and before busting out some robotic dance moves, Will.i.am dedicated the track to "our friends in Japan."
Yet between the contestants' hidden-talent confessionals (who knew Casey Abrams could moonwalk?) and the audience members finding free copies of the "American Idol 10th Anniversary - The Hits" compilation under their seats, Steven Tyler once again shown through as a fascinating live-TV presence. The Aerosmith singer sarcastically told James Durbin that he doesn't remind him of himself, and reiterated that Casey has a winner's amount of "goop" -- which he defined as "the stuff that you get when you're creative and you do what it takes to get the job done."