Tens of thousands auditioned, and now only five remain.
With one of the American Idol Top 6 sent home on Thursday, the finalists are now less than a month away from the finale, where one of them will be crowned the next American Idol.
Coming off a night of "a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll" on Wednesday that Donnie and Marie Osmond would have been proud of, the Top 6 eagerly waited to hear their fate from host Ryan Seacrest Thursday evening.
Just like Donny and Marie, American Idol's Top 6 were a little bit country and little bit rock 'n' roll Wednesday night.
Each contestant performed two songs, and the results were mixed for most, with judges' comments varying as much as the song selection.
Birthday boy Caleb Johnson had the super save and magical moment of the night while rocking "Sting Me" when he lost his mic before catching it without missing a beat.
Newlywed Kelly Clarkson has another occasion to celebrate: the singer turns 32 on April 24.
C.J. Harris wants to be the next American Idol, but he has one fan that means more to him than all the others – his 2-year-old son, Jordan.
American Idol's Top 7 turned the tables on one another Wednesday night, with each competitor picking a song for another finalist.
Demi Lovato even stopped by to tout her tour and serve as a pseudo-mentor and judge.
Jena Irene (sporting new Lea Michele bangs) stole the night with her emotionally powerful rendition of "Creep" (chosen by Caleb Johnson so she could "turn it into a big, beautiful theatrical rock song"), which she did, earning a standing ovation from Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez (clad in a backless, DayGlo yellow leather dress).
Oh, what a difference a week makes.
Last Thursday, the American Idol top 8 spent elimination night celebrating the judge's choice to use their only save of the season on contestant Sam Woolf, but this week the reality set in that there are no more second chances.
Coming off a strong night of performances on Wednesday's '80s-themed show, it was anyone's guess which of the remaining contestants would be placed in the bottom three and who would be sent home with the lowest number of votes.
Keep reading to find out who was eliminated.
This isn't how they wanted to go viral.
The American Idol Top 8 gave strong performances Wednesday night, but at least two of them almost weren't able to perform due to illness.
"In rehearsal today, my voice totally went out," Caleb Johnson told PEOPLE following his performance. "There was so much crud in my throat. I couldn't breathe. We had to lower the key just so I could get through it tonight."
Johnson, 22, says he came down with bronchitis last week and had to visit the doctor three times before his symptoms finally began to recede.
"It was awful," he told reporters of not being able to sing to his fullest potential on Wednesday. "My voice kind of went out towards the end of the song. I just thought, 'Oh, Jesus. Just let me get through it.' "
Johnson wasn't alone. Dexter Roberts also fell ill this past week.
American Idol's Top 8 sang songs from the golden age of Madonna under the tutelage of season 7 winner David Cook Wednesday.
But who recaptured the '80s era of legwarmers, headbands and big hair the best (not counting Keith Urban, who opened the show sporting a clip-on mullet that had Ryan Seacrest calling him "Billy Ray Urban")?
Here are the singers who had "The Eye of the Tiger" and those who were more "Borderline."