‘American Idol’ Cuts Chris Sligh — ‘Bye Bye Curly’

Low votes put Haley Scarnato, Phil Stacey in the bottom three; Sanjaya stays safe.

If Simon’s said it once, he’s said it a million times: This is a singing competition. And one of the basic things a singer has to do is keep up with the band. Curly-haired nice guy Chris Sligh learned that lesson the hard way Wednesday night when he got the boot after his off-pace rendition of the Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” failed to impress judges on Tuesday.

Sligh, 28, who stood out thanks to his joking demeanor and slight lisp, seemed resigned to his fate Wednesday when host Ryan Seacrest announced that he was in the bottom three. Sligh drooped his head slowly as he crossed the stage to join fellow low-vote getters Haley Scarnato and Phil Stacey.

Asked by Seacrest to predict who might be going home, judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul demurred, but Simon Cowell — who called Sligh’s take on the Police hit a “mess” — predicted, “I think it’s bye bye curly” before the final results were announced.

Stacey’s rendition of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” earned praise from the tough Cowell on Tuesday, with the judge saying it was “very good,” while Scarnato’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” got the kiss-of-death “safe and forgettable” tag (see ” ’Idol’ Recap: Sanjaya Delivers A Jaw-Dropper, Haley Is Toast” ). Stacey was given a pass and sent back to join the rest of the finalists, while Scarnato sweat it out with Sligh.

In a show that opened with Seacrest wearing a replica of enduringly popular finalist Sanjaya Malakar’s seven-ponytail fauxhawk hairdo from Tuesday night — and featured guest coach Gwen Stefani performing “The Sweet Escape” with Akon — at the end it was a dejected-looking Sligh who left the competition.

The corpulent singer who vowed to “bring chubby back” ended his run with an ironically more on-the-beat performance of “Magic,” poignantly waltzing over to the rest of the finalists and giving them all hugs as he sang his way off the competition. Though every week seems like it could be Sanjaya’s time to go, Sligh seemed like he knew the end was nigh, as he stopped singing momentarily to joke to Stacey, “You owe me 50 bucks.”

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Can't stop, won't stop.