Photo Credit: American Idol 2012/Getty Images Entertainment
American Idol experienced it's first truly shocking elimination Thursday night, with some of the judges' favorite contestants landing in the bottom three.
Host Ryan Seacrest cleverly placed divided the seven hopefuls in two groups: Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone in one camp, and Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon in the other. Then Seacrest declared the remaining young singer, Skylar Laine safe... and had her stand by Cavanagh, Phillips and Dixon.
That meant that the bottom three shockingly consisted of not one but two potential American Idol champs -- Jessica and Joshua.
"I've never seen this happen," an upset Randy Jackson said of the configuration of the bottom three. "This is a ridiculous bottom three ... [America] got it wrong tonight, so wrong."
The judges were even more shocked when the contestant with the lowest votes was declared to Jessica -- someone the judges have time and time again called a star in the making.
But luckily for Jessica, the judges still hadn't used their annual save, so they didn't even make her finish her last-chance song. The judges bounded onto the stage and announced their decision.
"Gimme that mic! This is crazy ... you ain't going home! Go sit down!" Jennifer Lopez shouted.
Jackson added: "We are saving Jessica without any doubt," he said, "This girl is one of the best singers in America ever!"
For her part, Jessica was the picture of grace under pressure, telling Seacrest she wasn't surprised to be at risk in the middle of the competition: "I don't expect anything. I just do what I do. Whatever happens happens. I just want people to know I've been working hard my whole life."
Now that the judges have used their one and only save of the season, there will likely be two eliminations next week to determine who lands in the Top 5.
Watch Jessica perform "Stuttering" by Jazmine Sullivan