Ace Young’s ‘American Idol’ Run Ends

Chris Daughtry, Paris Bennett skirt elimination.

Ace the Face is out of the race.

Before “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest revealed the name of this week’s pop-star pariah Wednesday night, he turned to Simon Cowell to gauge the judge’s opinion on who’d be the next contestant sent packing. Cowell glared at Ace Young, the 25-year-old heartthrob from Colorado, as well as bottom-three first-timer Chris Daughtry, the smooth-domed 26-year-old from North Carolina, before calling it: Ace was toast.

And without further ado, Seacrest delivered the crushing news that America had pulled his card. Young, who’d performed the retro standard “That’s All” during Tuesday night’s American Songbook-themed episode (see ” ’American Idol’ Recap: Ace Is Out Of Time, Katharine Can’t Be Stopped” ), became the latest “Idol” wannabe to be ousted, leaving six contestants — three male, three female — in the running for the show’s coveted title. This season’s final episode airs May 25.

Cowell, one of Young’s most consistent critics, said Ace’s performance was “charming,” but did feel his voice was “a little nasally.” Young, who’d been no stranger to the threat of elimination, seemed resigned to his fate, and said that he couldn’t “wait to perform with all the top 10 [finalists]” on the annual “American Idols Live” tour and “see all my fans that have seen me through the TV.” Paris Bennett, who evaded elimination but was among the show’s bottom-three vote-getters, sobbed at the news of Ace’s elimination. Judge Paula Abdul, one of Ace’s biggest fans, appeared stunned by the results. Seacrest told Young he has “a bright future” ahead of him, and Ace flashed his trademark smile.

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For the first time this season, Daughtry was relegated to the bottom three — which surprised several in the live studio audience. Considered a favorite in this year’s competition, Daughtry had impressed the judges Tuesday night with his rendition of “What a Wonderful World.” The 17-year-old Bennett also delivered a strong performance of the jazz standard “These Foolish Things,” but found herself in the bottom three for a second-straight week.

Wednesday’s elimination episode featured a performance by this week’s guest coach, Rod Stewart, who crooned “The Way You Look Tonight,” which appears on his 2002 album It Had to Be You … The Great American Songbook. Next week, the “Idol” gang will be tackling the greatest love songs of all time, under the guidance of Italian vocalist Andrea Bocelli.

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