NEW YORK – Memphis siren Trenyce was the surprise loser on Wednesday's American Idol.
The 23-year-old singer was ejected by American Idol" viewers in a vote that stunned the judges and studio audience.
They were equally taken aback when Trenyce was joined in the show's "bottom two" by beefy Ruben Studdard of Birmingham, Ala. The judges felt both performers deserved better treatment.
"This is crazy, dude!" exclaimed judge Randy Jackson.
"This is absolutely ridiculous," chimed in fellow judge Paula Abdul.
Simon Cowell, who was just as surprised as the other judges, nevertheless conceded, "We've given the public the right to vote. You have to respect their decisions."
Studdard, 25, and Trenyce were among the final five performers left on American Idol. They were also the only two African-American contestants remaining on the hit Fox show, which had some of the show's fans wondering if racism figured into the voting.
Trenyce was gracious in defeat. She thanked the judges and the show's producers for giving her "the opportunity of a lifetime" and then sang the old Captain and Tennille song "Love Will Keep Us Together."
Four contestants now remain. Besides Studdard, the survivors are sultry Kimberley Locke, 25, of Nashville; all-American marine Joshua Gracin, 22, of Oceanside, Calif.; and jug-eared Clay Aiken, 24, of Raleigh, N.C.