Lacey Brown became the first American Idol casualty of the top 12 on Wednesday night, bidding a tearful goodbye to the other contestants after her rendition of a Rolling Stones hit left the judges cold.
The 24-year-old Amarillo, Texas, singer with the fiery red hair was eliminated after her tepid, violin-backed version of The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" failed to impress the judges.
And OK! was at the St. Patrick's Day taping to see Lacey wiping away tears after cameras stopped rolling and the reality set in that she wouldn't sing on another Tuesday.
Lacey was surrounded by the 11 other Idols, including Tim Urban and Paige Miles, who were in the bottom three with her but stayed on the show. All her fellow singers enveloped her in hugs.
Judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres decided unanimously not to use their "save" to keep Lacey on another week.
According to this season's rules, judges can spare one contestant even though he or she got the lowest number of votes. Lacey performed the song "The Story" Wednesday night in the hopes of proving she should remain on the show, but it wasn't to be.
Before Lacey got the boot, the judges proved in front of the studio audience that they're getting along just fine.
Although rumors flew earlier this season that Simon and Ellen were feuding, Mr. Nasty greeted the comedienne with a kiss on the lips when they arrived at the judges' table Wednesday.
Host Ryan Seacrest — who had put himself aggressively into Simon's face the previous night in apparent anger over how he treated the contestants — laughed with Simon before the show started. Kara had animated discussions with Simon throughout the night.
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Meanwhile, Ellen's wife Portia de Rossi cheered her on from the fourth row of the audience and the two hung out during commercial breaks. The judges and Ryan gave Lacey hugs and words of encouragement on the stage after she was eliminated and the show went off the air.
Lacey's Idol journey didn't end the way she'd hoped. Just last week at the top 12 party, Lacey (who tried out last season but didn't make it into the top 36), told OK! "I'd like to be the next American Idol because I really feel like when you listen to music you feel the music.
"Music is an art form and I think stories are necessary to be told through music. I think that I would do a great job of taking a song and telling a story with it, and making you feel the emotion of that song and giving you happy memories of that song that you don't think of normally all the time."
Sadly, it's her short Idol stint that will be just a memory.
By Carole Glines