May 06, 2004 01:00 AM

Now it’s an all-girl competition. Voters booted soulful singer George Huff off of American Idol Wednesday night, leaving Jasmine Trias, Fantasia Barrino, Diana DeGarmo and LaToya London to belt it out for the grand prize.

After finding himself in the bottom three last week, Huff, 22, was sent home to New Orleans Wednesday after performing “What a Wonderful World” and “Cheek to Cheek” on Tuesday.

The reaction of the judges on the FOX talent hunt was tepid, at best. Randy Jackson called Huff’s delivery “safe,” while Simon Cowell suggested the singer was better suited to a cruise liner.

Still Huff, with his mustache and scruff, put a smiling face on his dismissal. “Thank you so much, America,” he said. “American Idol is my over-the-rainbow experience.”

In an interview on the Idol Web site, Huff, who went to the University of Oklahoma School of Music for three years, said that if he didn’t make it on the show, his plans were “to pay off school, so I can finish my last year. And also continue to pursue my singing dream.”

As for the women: Barrino, 19, brought judge Paula Abdul to tears Tuesday night with her rendition of “What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life.”

Even the normally acerbic Cowell curbed his tongue, praising Barrino by saying, “You and La Toya are in a different league,” he said to Barrino.

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