Michael Becker/PictureGroup for FOX
May 13, 2009 12:00 AM

Danny Gokey, whose long-running success on American Idol was undercut by the constant bittersweet reminder that his young wife had died shortly before he auditioned, was the one sent home Wednesday night. “I just want this to be over,” he told Ryan 45 anxious minutes into the show. Then the results came.

Danny was, actually, a much more consistent performer than Kris Allen, who now advances along with Adam Lambert. He’d never even been in the bottom three. But Kris was the first one sent to safety Wednesday, three minutes before the end of the hour — his surprisingly dynamic performance of Kanye West‘s “Heartless” Tuesday night must have given him a solid boost.

Then it was Adam’s turn to get good news. He’s been as consistent as Danny, only at a much more dynamic level. Danny did not swagger like Adam. He could never wear his hair like Adam.

So, we head into the final week with a terrific matchup of two singers who are easily distinguishable from each other and talented in very different ways.

Adam is an almost purely theatrical performer. (Katy Perry, performing “Waking Up in Vegas” and dressed accordingly like a she-Elvis, prominently displayed “Adam Lambert” on her cape — a perfect salute to his flamboyance.)

Kris is more in the line of subdued folk-rock-pop singers who’ve been a staple since James Taylor. He’s anti-flamboyant. He’s the non-Adam.

Will this be a tight contest? Could be. Hope so. At the start of the hour, Ryan announced that, of 88 million votes cast, not much more than a million separated the top two. Simon said the finale could be “a big ding-dong,” by which he meant a fierce competition and exciting.

Elsewhere in the hour: hometown visits (Danny to Milwaukee, Kris to Conway, Ark., and Adam to San Diego), plus season 6 winner Jordin Sparks performed her new single, “Battlefield.” She looked great, but performed without much conviction.

After the broadcast, a coin toss determined the order of performances for next week’s finale. Kris won the toss — and Adam will sing first. — Tom Gliatto

Tell us: Were you surprised with the results? Does Danny have a bright future in the music industry? Who will be the next American Idol?

Michael Becker/PictureGroup for FOX

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