Chikezie Eze was revealed to be the third finalist eliminated from American Idol's seventh season during last night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
The 22-year-old from Inglewood, CA was ousted from Idol's seventh season after host Ryan Seacrest said "over 30 million" home viewer votes -- "the highest this season for a single show" -- were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance episode broadcast that saw the Top 10 finalists perform songs from the year they were born.
"I'm just really proud to be here. I feel really blessed," Eze said during a video montage of his Idol journey. "It's been an amazing ride."
Eze sang "If Only for One Night" by Luther Vandross during Tuesday night's performance episode. Judge Randy Jackson said he "didn't love it" and criticized it for not being "that vibey Chikezie that I love with all that energy" and instead "just kind of boring." Paula Abdul disagreed with Jackson and said Eze did a "great job."
"Chikezie I think you sang it well. Having said that, I thought the performance actually was very cheesy," commented Simon Cowell. "It's that you have to show originality. I didn't see anything original other than somebody trying to copy the original. I don't think that's what you should be doing. I miss your personality now."
Prior to Eze's elimination, Syesha Mercado, a 21-year-old from Sarasota, FL who currently resides in Miami, FL, and Jason Castro, a 20-year-old from Rockwall, TX, were revealed to be the other members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.
Castro was the last finalist to learn he was among the bottom three.
"I knew it. I knew it because I've never been [called] this late. I was like, 'It's going to be a big shocker!'" said Castro. "I've been thinking about it since last night. I just had this feeling. I've just been thinking about it so much. I was freaked out about it all day today. That's okay... I was ready for it."
Seacrest than revealed Castro was safe, leaving it down to Eze and Mercado.
"Let me tell you why you're here Chikezie -- because you chose the wrong song last night," said Cowell. "It wasn't original. Same with Jason. Don't underestimate how smart the public are who watch this show."
"But that doesn't hold true for Syesha I don't believe," said Abdul.
"No, Syesha... I don't know. [Home viewers] just didn't quite get it, because you were brilliant last night," agreed Randy.
"I don't think she was brilliant," said Cowell. "I didn't like the song."
Seacrest then revealed Eze was ousted.
Former Idol second-season third-place finisher Kimberley Locke also performed "Fall" -- a current single from her second album "Based on a True Story."
In addition, Seacrest mentioned Apple's Idol sponsorship prior to a video segment about the contestants recording their weekly song that is available on iTunes. However unlike other content sold via the store, where shows and musical tracks are ranked by popularity, Idol's iTunes site does not release any sales information.
"We can't allow these downloads to actually chart because it would affect the competition," explained Seacrest before boasting, "but if we did, they'd probably take up the Top 5 positions on iTunes."
Idol's Top 9 seventh-season finalists -- Brooke White, Carly Smithson, David Archuleta, David Cook, Michael Johns, Ramiele Malubay, Kristy Lee Cook, Jason Castro and Syesha Mercado -- will all take the stage and perform during next week's live one-hour performance episode broadcast beginnning Tuesday at 8PM ET/PT. Country singer Dolly Parton will serve as the mentor.
On Wednesday beginning at 9PM ET/PT, another finalist will be eliminated from the competition based on home viewer votes, revealing the season's Top 8 finalists.