updated 05/12/2011 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/13/2011 AT 8:45 AM ET
Ryan Seacrest put Wednesday night’s vote at 72 million, the highest ever for a top four – a quartet on the cusp of being reduced to a trio who’ll be celebrated by their hometowns on next week’s show.
It turned out that Randy Jackson’s recent prediction was inaccurate: James, the high-decibel rocker with the highly emotional back-story, was eliminated after being in the bottom two with country guy Scotty.
“I worked so damn hard to get here and, God, I was really hoping to get there,” James said, his voice shaking with tears while Jennifer Lopez cried from the panel. “I did so much stuff that’s never been done on this show before … In my eyes, in my mind … I did what I came here to do, and that was to give metal a chance!”
He managed to get through “Maybe I’m Amazed” for his encore, and even exited with a few high leaps and throwing his jacket into the crowd – a noble attempt to keep up the proper swagger.