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The American Idol audience was rocking on Wednesday night as the show’s most lovable singer, Michael Lynche, also known as Big Mike, got the big save from the judges.

Last night, the judges gave Mike mixed reviews for his reworking of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” And he got the least number of votes this week. But under Idol rules this season, the judges are allowed to save one competitor who had been voted off by viewers. And, in a dramatic moment, Simon Cowell announced that they had unanimously decided to give Mike another shot.

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After the show went off the air, an eyewitness said, “The judges seemed thrilled to have been able to ‘save’ Mike. With the audience still cheering, Kara DioGuardi leaped onto the stage and into Mike’s arms with a congratulatory hug. Randy Jackson and Ellen DeGeneres also hugged the big guy, and Ellen spent some time after the show talking to him quite seriously, with her hands resting on his shoulders.”

“Even Mr. Nasty, Simon, who was the one judge who had panned Mike the night before, gave him a hug and shook his hand.”

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Then, after the judges had left the stage, “In her joy, Mike’s wife ran up to him and he picked her up in his arms way off the ground in a bear hug! The heartfelt moment truly touched the audience. But after the clinch, she had to tug up her tube top to avoid a wardrobe malfunction in front of the studio crowd,” the eyewitness said with a smile.

The couple has been the feel-good story of this season as she had a baby during Mike’s audition process for Idol.

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The 26-year-old former personal trainer was a surprise in the bottom three with Andrew Garcia and Aaron Kelly. The number 12 finisher this season, Lacey Brown, sat in the front row to cheer on her former co-stars. And The Blind Side star Quinton Aaron, the only person in the audience bigger than Mike, also watched the drama from the audience.

Rihanna really worked up a sweat during her performance of “Rock Star 101.” Wearing head-to-toe black spandex must have had something to do with it!

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“She blotted herself off with a towel, drank a lot of water, and fanned herself after her song,” the observer said.

The star delighted the fans when, after her song and off-camera, “instead of staying backstage, Rihanna came back to personally thank the Idol audience. She took the microphone from the warm-up comedian and said, ‘Thank you guys so much. You guys are awesome.’ Rihanna kept waving to the crowd and smiling as she left the stage. She was a class act.”

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But later, all eyes were on Michael and Andrew Garcia as they sat on stools during a commercial break while waiting to hear their fate.

“Both bottom-two guys looked very tense. The only thing that broke the tension was when a little boy named Max told the warm-up man plaintively, ‘I want Big Mike to win!’ and the Idol hoisted up the child and held him upside down by one ankle!” the eyewitness said.

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During Mike’s song that would decide if he’d get the “save,” the eyewitness reported, “Randy kept holding his hands up in the air and pointing to his ears as Mike hit all the great high notes. It’s as though Randy thought it was a complete no-brainer that Mike should NOT be eliminated. And the audience couldn’t have agreed more. They walked out happy.”

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