The 23-year-old nurse from Mulberry, Ind., was voted off "American Idol" Wednesday, leaving 10 hopefuls to vie for the title and record contract.
A spot in the final 10 guarantees participation in the "American Idols Live!" tour after the season ends.
"It's been a run. ... No. 11 out of all them people is more than I could expect," she told host Ryan Seacrest.
Carly Smithson and Kristy Lee Cook were the other lowest vote-getters.
Cook, a 24-year-old from Selma, Ore., has been a bottom-three fixture in the past weeks. She appeared overwhelmed with the news that she'd made the cut again.
That means Cook might have to endure another week of serving as judge Simon Cowell's favorite target.
Cowell - who has called Cook "forgettable" and compared her voice to "Dolly Parton on helium" - continued his harsh criticism Tuesday after the country singer's take on the Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away."
"(You're) like musical wallpaper, insomuch as you notice it, but you can't remember it," he said. "And that's what you're doing week after week: You're making no impact."
Cook talked back to the acid-tongued judge, saying: "I can blow you out of your socks, and you know it."
Wednesday's "Idol" featured a performance by season-five finalist Kellie Pickler.
Seacrest also announced this year's roster of celebrity mentors: Parton, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Neil Diamond.