05/01/2014 at 10:00 PM EDT
With only five contestants left in the competition, a fan favorite was sure to be sent home Thursday on American Idol
The voting public had chosen some hits
and some misses
for the final five to sing on Wednesday night, and none of the competitors felt safe going into the elimination episode.
"I think we are all scared," contestant Alex Preston told reporters after performing Wednesday. "None of us are safe at this point. We are all on the same level."
But that was before everything turned topsy-turvy. (You guessed it: spoilers ahead …)
At the beginning of Thursday's show, host Ryan Seacrest
promised a "shocking twist" that would be a "game changer" and soon revealed that the contestants had the option of unanimously voting to forgo the elimination this week – but at the cost of sending two contestants home next week.
After a short commercial break, the decision was ultimately not unanimous with two people voting to send a contestant home.
"I'm surprised … oh, they didn't ask me," Jennifer Lopez
said to fellow judge Harry Connick, Jr. in the commotion of the studio during the live show.
Before the audience had a time to calm down from the announcement, Seacrest announced that it was the season's heartthrob, Sam Woolf, who was sent home with the lowest number of votes from America.
Proudly taking to the stage for the last time, Woolf closed the show with a reprise of his rendition of "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons.