After last week's sensational near-elimination of Jessica Sanchez, American Idol voters were going to have to do something really crazy to drop the collective jaw of the judges panel. They came close on Thursday, booting off skunk-haired, skinny-jean-loving, nose-wrinkingly cutie Colton Dixon, 20, who originally followed his sister to his first Idol audition and ended up in the Top 7.

Like all the other contestants, Dixon performed two songs on Wednesday's show: Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," both of which were questionable choices. Judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez praised his Gaga cover (though nowhere as enthusiastically as they lauded Elise Testone's "You and I" a week beforehand), but panned his leaf-strewn piano take on "September." The consensus they seemed to draw was that it was classic Colton — in that bad, boring way, as opposed to a signature style way.

Still, Dixon's exit was not the easiest to predict. He had a bad night, but Elise Testone, who was testy with the judges both Wednesday and Thursday (she thinks she gets judged unfairly, possibly because she's older), and Hollie Cavanagh, who has wildly inconsistent throughout the finals, have week to week proven their staying power.

But can they outlast Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips and Skylar Laine? They're going to have to, because as the most recent elimination demonstrates, and as Jackson said Thursday night, "No more second chances, no more safety nets."


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Watch Dixon's "Bad Romance" here:

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