American Idol narrowed it down to the Top 11 on Thursday night, when it was announced that the viewing public had decided to send 18-year-old Emily Piriz home.

American Idol Recap

At the start of the episode, the judges – more specifically, Harry Connick Jr. – were put under the microscope for possibly judging too harshly on Wednesday night. Randy Jackson, looking a bit bitter from his mentoring spot, made a joke about Connick suffering from some indigestion. Throwing some bile back Jackson’s way, Connick stated, “ I was not hired as a mentor; I was hired as a judge.”

In a lighter bit of ribbing, Connick received a message from the quarterback of his favorite football team – Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. After the teasing from Brees, Connick laughed with some humility before turning to the contestants to use Brees' job as an athelete to explain their relationship.

"I promise you this, if Drew throws a bad pass, his coach, Sean Payton, isn't going to come up to him and tell him how handsome he is," Connick told them. "He's going to say, 'Look, we got to make this work. What can we do to get you better?' He's already Drew Brees. You guys are already champs. Just trust me. I love you. I do."

After Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban backed Connick up, it was time for a treat from past Idol winner Phillip Phillips, who returned to the singing competition stage to sing his new single, “Raging Fire.” Irish band Kodaline also took to the stage during the night, singing a song titled “All I Want.”

Emily Piriz Sent Home

When it came time for Seacrest to announce the bottom three, Piriz was named along with Jena Irene and M.K. Nobilette, who was in the bottom for the second week in a row. Piriz sang “Stars” with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals to try to save her spot in the competition. The judges then deliberated as to whether or not to use their one save of the season on Piriz, who'd performed "Let's Get Loud" on Wednesday. Though Lopez declared that the decision wasn’t unanimous, Connick revealed that they’d have to officially say goodbye to Piriz.

American Idol will return next Tuesday on Fox at 8 p.m. EST with a “songs from the cinema” theme.

– Chelsea Regan

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