Frank Micelotta/FOX
People Staff
April 11, 2008 12:00 AM

It’s the end of the road for American Idol‘s Michael Johns.

The Australian singer, who performed Aerosmith‘s “Dream On” earlier this week, and was thrilled to participate in Idol Gives Back the following night, was sent packing in a surprising elimination Thursday.

Joined in the bottom three by Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson, Johns looked shocked when host Ryan Seacrest announced that both women were safe.

“That means Michael has the lowest number of votes this week,” Seacrest said. “Last year, during Idol Gives Back, we didn’t eliminate anybody at this stage of the competition. Tonight, we’re going to say goodbye to Michael Johns.”

As Johns hugged Mercado and Smithson, shook Seacrest’s hand and came to terms with America’s decision, the crowd in the Idol auditorium rose to their feet and erupted in boos and shouts of disapproval.

“I am definitely surprised,” Johns said. “I enjoyed singing that song.”

It’s no wonder he was surprised. Although Randy Jackson said his version of “Dream On” “had some pitch problems,” Paula Abdul said he was “unbelievable” and sounded “as good as you look.” Simon Cowell called it a “very good performance.” Also, Johns had never been in the bottom three.

As he sang his swan song, the other contestants stood and clapped for their fellow Idol. Johns moved from the stage to the platform behind the judges to be closer to the audience. And in the final moments of the live broadcast, Johns was hugging the judges.

There’s no telling what was said between them at that point, but earlier, Cowell said, “I’m going to miss you. You’re a very good singer and a very, very nice guy.”

Tell us: Did America make the right decision in eliminating Michael Johns?

Take our poll on the most shocking eliminations in Idol history.Frank Micelotta/FOX

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