NEW YORK – A deficiency of soul power cost Anthony Federov (search) on "American Idol" Wednesday, sending him home and leaving just three contestants remaining.
The 19-year-old Federov was the only performer to get low marks from the judges for both songs Tuesday. The Idols were asked to sing one tune out of Nashville (search) and one from Philadelphia, specifically the music of Gamble and Huff.
And Simon Cowell (search) didn't like either.
After Federov sang "If You Don't Know Me By Now," Cowell said, "I think you need soul for that song. It's like trying to have Woody Allen play the lead in `Shaft.'"
His version of Lonestar's "I'm Already There" was met with only slightly higher praise.
"On a positive note, you did sing that well, but the show tonight with all the film clips and the lyrics feels like Miss Universe," said Cowell.
Host Ryan Seacrest had kinder parting words for Federov, a Ukrainian-born college student who lives in Tervose, Pa: "A total class act, ladies and gentlemen."
Receiving enough votes to last another week was the long-haired heartthrob Bo Bice of Helena, Ala.; Vonzell Solomon of Fort Myers, Fla.; and Carrie Underwood of Checotah, Okla.
The show, broadcast live from Los Angeles, has been racked by controversy as it winds down to a May 24-25 finale. The latest snafu came after Tuesday's show continued previous "Idol" voting problems.
The dial-in phone number for Underwood was displayed on the closed-captioning for all the contestants, possibly aiding her survival. The correct numbers, however, were shown with on-screen graphics and announced by Seacrest.
A statement issued Wednesday by Fox read, "the producers and network apologize to our hearing-impaired viewers for any confusion, and the situation was immediately corrected for our tape-delayed West Coast broadcast."
The integrity of the show's voting system (where viewers either call or text message to support their favorite), has been in question before.
When incorrect call-in numbers were displayed for three contestants in March, the network added an episode to repeat the vote. In the past, fans have raged about clogged phone lines for voting and angrily speculated about conspiracies that allowed less talented contestants to hang on.
In recent weeks, a controversy has revolved around judge Paula Abdul and the allegations of a former contestant, Corey Clark, that the two had an affair during the 2003 season. Abdul earlier released a statement saying she would not dignify the accusations with a response.
"American Idol" has nevertheless remained a hit, steadily attracting more than 20 million viewers per episode.