It happens every year. By the time you drill down to the top three on "American Idol," tears are shed and teeth are gnashed when host Ryan Seacrest announces the third-place finisher.

After coming so far, climbing so high and landing within one episode of the show's finale, whatever beloved singer makes it to the precipice of potential fame is sent to the sidelines to watch the final showdown and his/her fans are left dejected.

That's the general mood of Joshua Ledet's followers after the soul-stirring 20-year-old Westlake, Louisiana throwback singer was sent packing on Thursday night's elimination show
, paving the way for pocket diva Jessica Sanchez and (be)low key pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips to battle it out next week.

"They sabotaged Joshua and Jessica," raged reader Rienell John Llevado in a comment on an MTV News story in which Ledet called his elimination
 a "relief."

"Jessica got lucky she has the support she needed to go on. They will do the same thing again this Tuesday. They are giving their golden boy the best to bring him on top. After all, isn't 'American Idol' loves white guys with guitar only? Don't worry Josh, you're right when you said you could still have a successful career even if you don't win 'Idol.'"

Another reader, Keish, claimed that the voting was rigged because after always getting a message that their vote was counted before, there was no such message Thursday night. "I voted so many times & still got nothing! Josh you are the winner!!!"

Khan lamented that Ledet — who was touted by the judges as one of the best singers
 to ever grace the "Idol" stage — should not have been eliminated, because, "someone with that kind of voice should never be voted off a singing competition." A number agreed and added that Joshua is probably better in the long run because his singing style has a timeless quality and, besides, the recent track record
 of WGWG (white guys with guitars) has been pretty dismal anyway.

"American did not vote based on the talent," opined Lamran2010. "How come Joshua was voted off ... it is not fair." Interestingly, given the shrieks of joy Phillips often elicits on the show, a number of the comments derided his meat-and-potatoes singing style and predicted that voters would turn out in force for Sanchez next week. "Wow , how can America get it so hopelessly wrong year after year" wondered Muzz W. "Go Jessica, Phil Phillips should have gone weeks ago." Then again, Koo was not having it, bidding "good riddents [sic] Joshua" and proclaiming the singer a "drama mama."

Amid the sometimes nasty back-and-forth, writer Barry made a plea for peace, saying, "All three have sooo much talent!!! America has voted and unfortunately Joshua goes home. But don't take anything away from Jessica and Phil now!! The finale is all about the songs they sing and how they sing them. It's also about stage presence!!" His pick: Sanchez.

As many eagle-eyed "Idol" watchers are aware, it's not always the winners who end up winning, which is why LaNell was just fine with Ledet going home early. "Joshua became a winner the moment he stepped on the stage," she wrote. "He got the exposure he needed to get his career started ... he will go far because of his talent," adding that she figured a younger generation might not totally get his "good ole Motown sound."

Do you think Joshua Ledet deserved a spot in the "American Idol" finale? Leave your comment below!