NEW YORK (AP) – Aloha means goodbye for Jasmine Trias, who was voted off “American Idol” Wednesday night after a longer journey than some thought she deserved.

Her departure leaves Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo to go head to head – or voice to voice – in next week’s two-hour finale.

With her trademark sunny style, the 17-year-old from Hawaii kept smiling even as she learned of her removal from the Fox singing competition.

“I just want to thank all my fans for believing in me and embracing my talent and for making my dreams come true,” Trias said. “It’s been such an honor to share the aloha spirit with the rest of America.”

She also got to toss a coin, deciding that DeGarmo will sing first next week.

“I love you, Jazzy!” DeGarmo and Barrino said as the threesome shared a group hug.

“I love you too, guys,” Trias said, trying not to cry.

Logic suggested Trias would get the boot in viewer voting – she was the weakest of the three singers remaining in the competition Tuesday night.

But Trias had popularity on her side as she faced powerhouse Barrino, 19, and perky DeGarmo, 16. Last week, her home state was third in the number of votes cast, behind only New York and California, in the 29 states in Verizon’s local territory.

The contestants sang three songs each on Tuesday: one they chose themselves; one judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson chose for them; and one selected by this week’s guest judge, music mogul Clive Davis, whose record company gives the “American Idol” winner a record contract.

Barrino blew the judges away with her rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” and Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All,” and DeGarmo drew unanimous praise for hitting all the high notes on Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud.”

But the judges told Trias she couldn’t quite match Houston on “Saving All My Love for You.” Cowell said the song was “rather like dinner with Paula Abdul: sweet but forgettable,” an easy jab at his fellow panelist.

Among the filler to build suspense before Wednesday’s results were announced: two songs from Tamyra Gray from the first season of “Idol” and a performance by Guy Sebastian, the winner of “Australian Idol.”

Gray, who has since launched a singing and acting career, co-wrote the single that the eventual “American Idol” will record.

Viewers also got to see video of the overwhelming reception the finalists received when they went back to their respective hometowns.



On the Net:

http://www.idolonfox.com

AP-ES-05-19-04 2231EDT



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