NEW YORK – America: Simon got it wrong.
The 19-year-old North Carolina native's goodbye slimmed the number of "Idol" contestants to five. The winner will be named May 25.
Cowell, who once called the bubbly blonde a "naughty little minx," said on Tuesday's program that her rendition of the Righteous Brothers classic "Unchained Melody" was "bland."
"You were like a robot," he said.
In a surprise, typically lenient judge Paula Abdul also offered tough criticism: "I don't see you raising the bar each week. At this point it was about greatness, and I didn't see that in you."
Paris Bennett, 17, had the next-lowest vote total despite good reviews from judges for her soulful take on "The Way We Were."
Wednesday's elimination show featured a performance by guest coach Andrea Bocelli, who sang "Because We Believe" from his latest album, "Amore."
Nearly four years since its debut, "Idol" continues to rule the ratings. It has attracted 25 million to 33 million viewers each telecast this season.
Host Ryan Seacrest said on Wednesday's program that viewers called in nearly 48 million votes.
"American Idol" airs on FOX, which is owned by the parent company of FOXNews.com.