NEW YORK – Despite a tongue-in-cheek Internet campaign to keep him, "American Idol" (search) voters sent home Scott Savol (search), the shaky singer from Shaker Heights, as it reached its final four on Wednesday.
Fox's popular talent contest made no mention of the ABC News expose that was to air later in the evening, featuring a former contestant who alleges judge Paula Abdul coached him through the competition and had a sexual relationship with him.
While seemingly under siege this season, "American Idol" is still a hit with viewers — 23.8 million watched Tuesday night — headed to a May 24-25 finale.
Long-haired heartthrob Bo Bice (search) of Helena, Ala.; birthday boy Anthony Fedorov of Trevose, Pa.; Vonzell Solomon of Fort Myers, Fla.; and Carrie Underwood of Checotah, Okla., remain in the competition.
Wednesday's vote was a disappointment for organizers of votefortheworst.com, a Web site that was conspiring to get the least talented contestant the record contract prize. Savol, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, was their pick.
The Web site became a victim of its own popularity when a crush of visitors led to its shutdown Tuesday night.
"We had a big traffic problem yesterday at 5 p.m. (PDT) before the show aired on the East Coast, more than 200,000 hits," founder Dave Della Terza said Wednesday.
The traffic jam infringed on other Web sites on the shared server so the site went down. He was trying to get it back up as quickly as possible, this time on a dedicated server, Della Terza said.
Savol was booted off despite hard-to-please judge Simon Cowell's opinion that his Tuesday performance of "Everytime You Go Away" was his best ever.
Meanwhile, ABC News' "Primetime Live" intended to air its interview with Corey Clark, a 2003 contestant who said that Abdul, after she took a shine to him, helped him with wardrobe, grooming and song selection. Clark was dropped from the show for failing to reveal a past arrest record.
In a snippet of the interview aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday, Clark said Abdul's coaching was designed to "knock the dust off the dirty diamond and help me shine."
ABC gathered seven former contestants who had lost to Clark, who was 22 at the time, to show them an interview where he made the allegations.
"They watched, their silent faces saying everything about disappointment and disillusion," said John Quinones, who reported the "Idol" story.
Fox said Clark had never informed the network about his allegations. The network promised to look into them, but noted Clark was writing a book and had an incentive to seek publicity. A representative for Abdul, now 42, called Clark "an admitted liar and opportunist who engages in unlawful activities."