"American Idol" Axes Leggy Finalist

Haley Scarnato performs in front of the judges on "American Idol" Tuesday, April 3.
Michael Becker / FOX
She's got legs — and she knew how to use them.

But Wednesday night, the magic finally ran out for Haley Scarnato on "American Idol."

(Yes, that means the Sanjaya phenomenon continues.)

The departure of Scarnato, 24, of San Antonio, trimmed the number of finalists to seven. The winner will be chosen in May.

Simon Cowell suggested on Tuesday's program that Scarnato was using her curve-hugging, leg-baring attire as a "tactic" to stay in the competition.

Photos: Haley Scarnato: She's Got Legs!
"I'm not gonna wear anything ... that's completely inappropriate," a jeans-clad Scarnato countered Wednesday.

Photos: "American Idol" Season 6
Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson had the next-lowest vote tallies in the phone balloting, which drew more than 35 million calls and text messages.

Stacey, 29, of Jacksonville, Fla., earned mixed reviews on Tuesday for his performance of "Maria Maria," which Cowell derided as flat and unoriginal.

Cowell, however, complimented Richardson, 22, of Chesapeake, Va., for putting a contemporary spin on the Latin-flavored song "Smooth."

Wednesday's program featured performances by rapper Akon and the glamorous Jennifer Lopez, who doled out valuable advice as guest coach.

"I guess I come from the Paula (Abdul) school of criticism. ... Not that we don't need our Simon," Lopez told Ryan Seacrest, who asked for her reaction to the judges' critiques of the finalists.

In its sixth season, "American Idol" continues to rule the ratings. It has attracted 26 million to 37 million viewers per telecast this season.
By Erin Carlson