Mandisa Cut From American Idol
04/06/2006 AT 08:00 AM EDT
The one-named singer, nicknamed "Mandiva," had been among the show's top contenders, with judge Simon Cowell once praising her as this year's best female singer.
But the 29-year-old Antioch, Tenn., native's undoing came with her performance on Tuesdays's country-music theme night. She sang Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine" – a selection Cowell deemed "horrible." Success, he added, "comes down to song choice."
After announcing her elimination, host Ryan Seacrest praised Mandisa's presence in the competition: "You've been a great spirit on the show."
She wasn't the only contestant who suffered from the country-music theme – Elliot Yamin and Paris Bennett were also in the bottom three.
Yamin, one of the leading male contenders, sang Garth Brooks's "If Tomorrow Never Comes," a choice Cowell called "safe" and "hesitant." Bennett sang Trisha Yearwood's "How Do I Live"; Cowell said her version was "excellent," but Randy Jackson called it "a tough song" for Bennett.
Idol continues to lead the ratings, drawing nearly 35 million votes on Tuesday's performances, Seacrest said. The winner will be announced May 24.