When it came time to say goodbye to "American Idol" on Wednesday night, Nikko Smith was calm as could be. Maybe it was the practice, or maybe it was the comment earlier in the show from judge Paula Abdul, who said she thought everyone in last night's bottom three "is going to be able to get a recording deal anyway" if they wanted to.
Either way, the 22-year-old son of former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith ran out of chances just three weeks after being given a lifeline due to the March 13 shock departure of Mario Vazquez (see Mario Vazquez Quits 'Idol' — 'It Wasn't Right For Me' "). When Ryan Seacrest broke the news, the singer — whom Abdul had taken to calling "the comeback kid" — took it in stride. "It's all good," Smith said. "Y'all gonna see me again."
Tuesday night's show-tunes revue wasn't kind to fellow bottom three dwellers Scott Savol or Vonzell Solomon, either, but it was Smith's uneven rendition of the "West Side Story" ballad "One Hand, One Heart" that did him in with the 32.8 million voters who weighed in this week (see " 'American Idol' Recap: Is Carrie Pulling Ahead Of Bo?").
An uncomfortable looking Savol, who weathered the revelation late last week of a 2001 domestic-violence charge (see " 'Idol' Finalist Scott Savol's Past Domestic Violence Rap Surfaces"), did not refer to the incident while awaiting his fate, but said, "Whatever God has in store for me, that's what's gonna happen."
The finalists got a visit from last year's idol, Fantasia, who sang a medley of "Truth Is" and "I Believe" from her debut, Free Yourself, and gave sage advice to the remaining contestants: "Get up here and act ugly!" Season-two winner Ruben Studdard was in the house also, but he was content to watch from the audience.
Seacrest also announced that the audience had chosen the song "When You Say That You Love Me" for the "Idol" hopefuls' upcoming American Red Cross benefit single, due out April 19.
There are now eight contestants left on the show. The "American Idol" finale is scheduled for May 24 and 25.