In the end, neither his prior funny antics nor his suddenly-serious persona could save him: Heejun Han was voted off of "American Idol" Thursday night. Eight hopefuls remain.
Heejun had to sing for his life with a reprise of "A Song for You," his number from Wednesday night, after host Ryan Seacrest announced the results of the nationwide vote and said he was in jeopardy of going home.
Though Heejun's performance was better than Wednesday's rendition of the tune, the judges elected not to exercise their one "save" of the season and keep him on the show. Steven Tyler told Heejun, "Let the record show, you knew it was coming."
Heejun did seem to know it was coming. When he reached the final line, he sang, "And I'm singing this song to…everyone! Guys, thank you so much!"
Joining Heejun in the bottom three this week were Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine.
Heejun has been one of this season's most polarizing contestants, and the choice of the anti-"Idol" website Vote for the Worst, which encourages viewers to vote for the most inept singers each season.
The results show featured Nicki Minaj performing her latest hit, "Starships," while emerging out of - what else - a giant spaceship. Wearing a rainbow-colored bra and skirt, Nicki rapped, sang and danced while confetti rained down. She then told Ryan Seacrest she wanted to come back and be a guest judge. "J-Lo, can you scoot over a little bit?" Nicki asked Jennifer Lopez, indicating the judges' table. "There's not enough room for both of us!" Jennifer laughed nervously.
The show also saw the return to the "Idol" stage of reigning champ Scotty McCreery, who performed his latest single, "Water Tower Town." He was then surprised by Jimmy Iovine, who presented him with a platinum plaque marking sales of one million copies of his debut album, Clear as Day.
Earlier in the program, Ryan hyped Aerosmith's upcoming tour. Steven Tyler said the band has been "lighting a fire under the world's ass for 40 years," and they planned to continue that this summer.
In addition, the show announced that some of the contestants' idols, whose songs they performed on Wednesday night, had tweeted their appreciation. Carrie Underwood, Jonny Lang, Lifehouse and Mariah Carey all sent words of praise and thanks to, respectively, Hollie, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon and Joshua Ledet. But Deandre Brackensick got the best feedback of all: Eric Benét, whose song he'd performed, showed up in the flesh to personally tell the young singer he'd done an "incredible" job and he had a "beautiful, unique voice."
Viewers also saw footage of the remaining contestants moving from their hotel rooms into a sprawling, over-the-top mansion in the Hollywood hills, complete with enormous pool, a pool table, a screening room, and massive bedrooms and bathrooms.
"American Idol" returns next Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Fox. The contestants will sing songs from the '80s. On Thursday, hot British boy band The Wanted will perform, and Jennifer Lopez will premiere her new music video for "Dance Again."