"I have no regrets ... I'm gonna keep rockin'," said the Brooklyn-born crooner, 29. "Crazier things have happened in my life, and I'm just really blessed to have gotten this far."
He added: "I love you all very much. That's the name of the game. It's cool."
In tears, Abdul, who had been Maroulis's biggest supporter, said: "I can't even speak – I'm so shocked. I think you're such a star." Even the cranky Simon Cowell had told Constantine: "I think if this was Smoldering Idol, you'd win hands down."
After show host Ryan Seacrest announced the results of the voting, the audience erupted in boos.
"It's like Star Wars. Welcome to the dark side – or the light side," Cowell said.
Rounding out the bottom three were Anthony Federov and Vonzell Solomon. Federov's version of Celine Dion's "Surrender" drew mixed reviews. "I personally hated it," said Cowell.
Amazingly, the much-maligned contestant Scott Savol is still standing – as are, besides Federov and Solomon, Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice.
May 24-25 will bring this season's Idol finale – and the winner.