Let this be a lesson to future "American Idol" contestants: A once-in-a-lifetime kiss from Simon Cowell might be deadlier than no kiss at all.
LaKisha Jones learned that Wednesday, one night after the notoriously unkind judge said her hoarse, uneven performance of the Bee Gees' "Run to Me" didn't warrant another peck (see " 'Idol' Recap: Melinda's Worst Is Still The Best; Blake Needs To Think Outside The Beatbox").
In a season with few shocking results nights, Jones' ouster was a surprise only because fellow top-four-finisher Blake Lewis was coming off an even rougher night, one in which the judges lambasted his signature beatboxing as unnecessary and boring and Cowell pegged him as "absolutely terrible."
Regardless, the top three is now set and Jones will not get her shot at the title, which she seemed to sense all night leading up to her elimination. As the final four waited for the news from host Ryan Seacrest, they had to wade through a performance of "Who Knew" from Pink, a montage documenting their private preview of this summer's "Fantastic Four" sequel, an "Idol" yearbook montage in which the singers talked about their childhoods and a performance from this week's mentor, Bee Gees singer/songwriter Barry Gibb.
Though the wait was typically long, LaKisha's departure seemed imminent all night. She appeared listless during the group performance of a Bee Gees medley early in the show and when Seacrest asked the performers how they thought they'd done the night before, LaKisha talked about how she struggled with her outfit and changing the key of one of her songs right before Tuesday's show.
After the commercial break, the 27-year-old mother from Flint, Michigan, told Seacrest she realized she'd been overthinking things. And, despite that kiss from an impressed Simon last week (see " 'Idol' Recap: Blake's Brave Choice Is 'Brilliant'; Jordin Is 'Criminally Heinous'") — followed, unfortunately for her, by Tuesday's "no kiss tonight, baby" — when it came time to predict who was going home, Cowell said he was confident it was Jones.
With elimination looming, the "Idol" four put on a good face as they circled the wagons for a centerstage group huddle that they refused to break up even when Seacrest demanded it, but as 17-year-old wunderkind Jordin Sparks made her way to the safe house, followed by 29-year-old Melinda Doolittle, that left Lewis, 25, and Jones alone center stage.
When Seacrest waved Lewis on, the tuxedo-shirt wearing beatboxer gave Jones a long hug and they exchanged niceties as her going-away montage was cued up. By the end, tears were streaming down her face and, in a final bit of irony, Jones made her way off the stage with her boogie-stopping, half-tempo version of "Stayin' Alive."