Julia DeMato was booted off American Idol 2 last night -- leaving only nine contestants remaining on the popular Fox reality show.

The dark-haired DeMato, 24, from Brookfield, Conn., got the boot shortly after she and blond, curly-haired Kimberly Caldwell were singled out for getting the fewest votes from viewers after Tuesday's country-and-western-themed live show.

"For never performing before in my life, what a way to start a career, hopefully," a disappointed-yet-resolute DeMato said when asked for her reaction from Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

"My family has been so supportive. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you guys," DeMato said, looking directly at her parents and supporters. "And thank you, America. Thank you so much for getting me here."

DeMato, visibly holding back tears, then joined the nine remaining Idol contestants in singing a rousing rendition of "Proud to Be an American."