It was the end of the road for "American Idol" contestant Paul McDonald Thursday night and the end of the women's losing streak.
McDonald's ouster comes after last week's shocking elimination of favorite Pia Toscano.
While McDonald became the first male contestant cut from this season's top 13, the 26-year-old took the results in stride.
"C'mon, man, let's not get sad about this," he said after the results were revealed.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly McDonald said it was "it was about my time to cruise out!" Even will.i.am and those guys were like, 'Dude, I know you're a real artist. It's killing you to do these covers.'" McDonald said that he woke up Thursday morning with a premonition that this might be the end for him. "It was weird, man, I had a feeling about it," he told EW backstage. "When I got up there, I was completely at peace. It was good, man, you know, because I looked over, and I saw these kids, man, that they've dreamed of winning American Idol forever. So I'm like, 'Go get it, win this thing!'
With seven contestants remaining, the race is tightening, but the judges seem to be doing little to help shape it.
"The judges aren't really judging," said M.J. Santilli, who has been hearing complaints from fans on her "Idol" website MJ's Big Blog. "They're more like cheerleaders, at this point. They're giving the same boring critique to nearly every contestant no matter how they sing."
Some fans are even blaming the judges for Pia Toscano's stunning ouster last week, saying they could have helped guide the voting public by being more critical of less talented contestants and providing more constructive criticism to the stronger ones.
"If she had captured the imagination of the viewers it wouldn't have mattered what the judges said," Santilli said. "She was kind of dull and robotic. She sang ballads every week. She was a little bit cold on the stage. I wouldn't necessarily lay that on the judges.
"They actually did try to get her to step out of her box," Santilli said.
And despite the strong reaction to Toscano receiving the axe, "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythogoe told Yahoo Music last week that "she was never a frontrunner."
Still, Santilli thinks the judges are pampering the contestants too much by holding back the harsh words.
"They're giving some of them an over-inflated sense of how good they are," she said, singling out Casey Abrams, who performed Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" Wednesday.
Jackson and Tyler stood and applauded, and all three judges gushed about what a great artist Abrams is.
"The standing ovations were too much," Santilli said, adding that James Durban also got overly praised, though his performance last week fell flat.
"Right now, at this point in the competition, I'm missing that critical voice, that voice of someone who would be blunt," Santilli said.
She's referring, of course, to Simon Cowell, who left "Idol" at the end of last season to focus on his own singing competition, "The X Factor."
The judges seem to be aware that they are being judged, too. On Wednesday's show, Lopez acknowledged that fans think the judges are being too nice -- but, she countered, the contestants are just so good this year.
Santilli didn't buy that excuse. She thinks Lopez stopped giving out constructive feedback a few weeks ago because she has an album coming out.
"If she became this harsh critic, fans of the contestants she's criticizing would hate her," she said.
"That's the problem when you have two people who are stars and have products to sell," Santilli said, referring also to Tyler, who she said looks bored half the time. "They don't want to tarnish their reputations."
But Jackson defended the judges' new approach to the judging.
"It's a different energy, it's a different sensibility," he told website Hollywood Outbreak last month. "People are saying to me, 'Dawg, you guys are so nice." If you really listen to what we say, we give people it the straight way, too. It's just not quite as biting. It's a remix. Season 10."