Chikezie Leaves American Idol

Chikezie Leaves American Idol
Frank Micelotta/FOX

03/27/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT

And then there were nine.

Chikezie Eze, who became known on Idol as just Chikezie, sang for the last time on the show Wednesday after he was cut from the competition.

On Tuesday's show, Chikezie sang Brenda Russell's ballad "If Only for One Night." Before the performance, host Ryan Seacrest asked him about song selection and Chikezie seemed uncertain about his choice. "After the first time that I sang a ballad, I kind of got torn apart for it," he told Seacrest. "I was afraid to go back to doing that again, but then ... I picked a song that resonates really deeply within me."

Judges Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell were not fans. "It wasn't hip and cool," Jackson complained. "It was just kind of boring."



Cowell called the performance "cheesy" and told the 22-year-old, "You have to show originality, and I didn't see anything original."

Paula Abdul disagreed, telling the soft-spoken singer, "You did a great job."

Joining Chikezie in the bottom three Wednesday were Syesha Mercado and Jason Castro. Castro, who's regularly impressed the judges -- and elicits as many screams from female fans in the audience as any contestant -- admitted, "I knew it!"

Chopping block regular Kristy Lee Cook looked surprised and happy to escape the bottom three this week after singing "God Bless the U.S.A.," which the judges called "poignant" and "respectful." Cowell even called it the "most clever" song choice he'd heard in years.

Tell us: Did America make the right decision? Are you sad to see Chikezie go?

Frank Micelotta/FOX

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