NEW YORK – Nikko Smith, dubbed the "comeback kid" by Paula Abdul (search), was voted off "American Idol" Wednesday night.
Smith was previously eliminated from the Fox show, but was allowed to return when Mario Vazquez withdrew from the contest March 13. The son of baseball great Ozzie Smith (search), Nikko's rendition of "One Hand, One Heart" from "West Side Story" failed to impress judge Simon Cowell.
"Even though you ended well, the first part of the song was out of tune," Cowell said after Smith's performance Tuesday night.
When the votes were tabulated Wednesday (host Ryan Seacrest said 32.8 million were cast), Smith, Vonzell Solomon and Scott Savol had the fewest. After Smith was announced as the lowest vote-getter, he remained unbowed.
"Y'all gonna see me again," he said.
Vazquez left "Idol" just after the final dozen contestants were decided. The Bronx-born singer said he quit to focus on his personal life. Smith had been voted off the week before and was selected to replace him.
Though they received enough votes to last another week, two contestants were especially relieved after weak performances on the Tuesday showtune-themed show.
Cowell deemed Bo Bice's rendition of "Corner of the Sky" "a mess," and called Anthony Federov's version of "Climb Every Mountain" "hideous."
Some older Idols attended Wednesday night's show. Ruben Studdard, the winner of the show's second season, watched from the audience.
Last year's winner, Fantasia Barrino (search), sang her song "Truth Is" at the top of the show.
Her advice to the current contestants: "Get up here and act ugly!"
The "Idol" finale is scheduled May 24-25.