LOS ANGELES - Paul McDonald kept grinning despite being gouged on "American Idol."
The smiley 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tenn., was revealed to have received the fewest viewer votes on the Fox talent contest Thursday after kicking off Wednesday's film-themed performances with Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" from "Risky Business." Jennifer Lopez requested he sing Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" as his swan song, and he happily obliged.
"C'mon, man, let's not get sad about this," he said after his dismissal.
McDonald was joined in the bottom three by Stefano Langone, the smooth 21-year-old singer from Kent, Wash., who powered through Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" from "Boomerang," and Haley Reinhart, the bluesy 20-year-old college student from Wheeling, Ill., who growled Blondie's "Call Me" from "American Gigolo."
Before the elimination, the eight finalists teamed up for various performances. This season's youngest remaining singers, 17-year-old Scotty McCreery and 16-year-old Lauren Alaina, dueted on Lady Antebellum's "American Honey," and Reinhart joined Casey Abrams, the 20-year-old film camp counselor of Idyllwild, Calif., for the jazz standard "Moanin'."
"They sound like they've been doing it all their lives," said "Idol" judge Lopez.
McDonald joined Langone, 23-year-old spa concierge Jacob Lusk of Compton, Calif., and 22-year-old rocker James Durbin of Santa Cruz, Calif., for Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" and "Mrs. Robinson." Rihanna also crooned "California King Bed," and first season "Idol" champ Kelly Clarkson performed her duet "Don't You Wanna Stay" with Jason Aldean.
McDonald, the offbeat vocalist who waltzed through the competition with his signature bright smile, raspy tone and wacky dance moves, is the first male contestant to be booted from the 10th season. Abrams was announced to have received the fewest viewer votes three weeks ago, but the judges used their one-time-only power to save him from elimination.