Heejun Han, the 22-year-old from New York, was sent packing Thursday night

By Aaron Parsley
March 29, 2012 09:15 PM
Credit: FOX via Getty

After an emotional night of stellar performances – which earned a record five standing ovations from the judges! – American Idol‘s top nine contestants faced another elimination night on Thursday.

The contestant with the lowest number of votes would have to sing for his or her life in an attempt to convince the judges into using their one save of the season.

Did they use it? Keep reading for all the results …

Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone, who closed out Wednesday’s show with a rocking rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” were the first singers called to the front of the stage. Ryan Seacrest skipped his usual tricks and quickly revealed that Hollie was the one of the three in the bottom.

The next contestant sent to the stools of doom was Heejun Han, who staged a comeback the night before in the eyes of the judges, after Steven Tyler questioned last week whether he took the competition seriously. It wasn’t enough: Heejun joined Hollie, while two of Wednesday’s most emotional performers – Joshua Ledet and Colton Dixon – were deemed safe.

Jennifer Lopez told the audience Wednesday to pick up the phone and vote for Deandre Brackensick – and they did. He and Jessica Sanchez, an early favorite since she sang Whitney Houston‘s “I Will Always Love You,” were declared safe, while the show’s only country singer, Skylar Laine, was told she was in the bottom three.

But Ryan quickly put Skylar and Hollie out of their misery, leaving Heejun to sing for his life. After he reprised his performance of Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song For You,” the judges deliberated. Then, Steven said, “Heejun, let the record show that you knew this was coming yourself. You saw it come last week … Unfortunately, after talking, we’re going to have to let you go.”

And then there were eight.