NEW YORK – The "American Idol" sing-off is down to 10.
Kevin Covais, a 16-year-old from Levittown, N.Y., was cast out Wednesday night in voting by viewers. His earnest rendition of "When I Fall in Love" on Tuesday's program had pulled at the heartstrings of judge Paula Abdul, who said he had "more moxie than most people I've met in my entire life."
After Wednesday's vote, host Ryan Seacrest — though he has compared Covais to the bespectacled cartoon character Chicken Little — lamented: "What are we going to do without you?"
Covais earned the affection of the show's female singers while often drawing the ire of cantankerous judge Simon Cowell, who has complained that his performances appealed mostly to the "granny vote."
Dodging elimination were Lisa Tucker and Bucky Covington, who had the next-lowest vote tallies. It was the second time Tucker has been among the bottom three vote-getters in the weekly contest.
Tucker, 16, failed to impress judges on Tuesday with her perky performance of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Cowell called her performance "cutesy" and said he felt "trapped in a high school musical."
Cowell also criticized the 28-year-old Covington's take on Buddy Holly's rockabilly hit "Oh, Boy!," deriding his rendition as "nothing more than a pointless karoake performance."
Wednesday's elimination show featured a performance by Barry Manilow, who sang the retro standard "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" from his new record, "The Greatest Songs of the Fifties."
Manilow was also this week's celebrity coach, helping Idols fine-tune their performances.
More than three years after its debut, "American Idol" remains a ratings power, attracting 25 million to 30 million viewers per telecast this season.
Seacrest said on Wednesday's show that viewers had cast 35 million online votes to determine the contestants' fates.
The final Idol will be crowned May 24.