Live television calls for some surprises every now and then.
Though performer and drag queen Ada Vox wasn’t voted through to the next round by viewers after Sunday’s performance, she was given the chance to redeem herself. The judges, who could save four contestants who were not voted through, had the option of either saving Ada or sending her home — but immediately after Ada’s performance, they couldn’t hold back.
“I don’t know everything,” Perry told Ada. “But I think we do know talent when we see it.”
Without waiting for Seacrest’s directions, the three judges mixed things up and simultaneously pointed to where the Top 10 were seated and said she belonged there — no ifs, ands or buts.
“When the Ada moment came, it wasn’t just one person’s idea,” Perry, 33, told reporters after the show. “We all looked at each other and we saw the math … excuse us, we’re going to step in now. Were we allowed to do that? We found out we were.”
“We messed up the timetable a bit, but you know what it was, we felt so strongly about it, we didn’t have to wait for that vote,” added Richie, 68.
“Enough was enough and you put your foot down when it’s real,” said Perry. “We stand for truth and for justice.”
Ada, who has auditioned for Idol every season since the age of 16, previously told PEOPLE, “I have a much bigger skin this time around. I’m not afraid to hear the hate. It can bounce off of me and I can use it to build myself up.”
Also known as Adam Sanders when not in drag, Ada says, “Mr. Adam is the base of everything that I am. That’s just who I am and what I do every day of my life. Ms. Ada is kinda of the outer exterior, is a personification of the diva in Adam.”
Marcio Donaldson, Mara Justine, Jonny Brenns and Garrett Jacobs were eliminated leaving Maddie Poppe, Cade Foehner, Gabby Barrett, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Michael J. Woodard, Catie Turner, Ada Vox, Jurnee, Michelle Sussett and Dennis Lorenzo as the Top 10.
American Idol airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.