May 6, 2011 -- "American Idol" is inching closer to the final showdown of naming the 2011 winner after Jacob Lusk was eliminated Thursday night.
The singer from Compton, Calif. received the fewest number of votes after he performed the songs "No Air" and "Love Hurts" this week.
Lusk and Lauren Alaina, who was nearly in tears, were in the bottom two.
"I got to share a little bit with America, and I think America's fallen in love with me," said Lusk after the results were revealed.
For his swan song, Lusk gave a dramatic performance of "A House Is Not A Home."
Lusk's elimination leaves just four finalists -James Durbin, Scotty McMcCreery, Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart to compete for the top prize.
James Durbin may have come close to clinching the competition Wednesday with his second song of the night, Harry Nilsson's "Without You." Durbin, who sang with tears in his eyes, was obviously overcome with emotion.
And the judges responded positively.
"This competition, it's yours to lose," Randy Jackson said.
Country crooners Scotty McMcCreery and Lauren Alaina also turned in solid performances and could easily end up in the finals.
Meanwhile, some "Idol" watchers wondered what was the judges' beef with underdog Haley Reinhart. Jackson and Jennifer Lopez criticized the raspy singer for choosing to sing the unreleased and relatively unknown Lady Gaga song "You and I" for her first selection Wednesday night.
Reinhart came back with "The House of the Rising Sun" for her second number, starting out a capella and bringing all three judges to their feet by the end.
Lopez was reluctant to predict who would make the finals.
"I don't know, and I'm not making any predictions, but I think what would be pretty exciting is maybe a James Durbin/ Haley [Reinhart] sing-off," she told MTV News on Tuesday. "Then I think it could be good having Scotty [McCreery] and Lauren [Alaina], the two country kids battling it out too, so I don't know."
"I've said this from the beginning: It's anybody's game. And I really still feel that way," she continued. "I think the voting's pretty close, and it could be anybody. It really is in America's hands. I am just a spectator."
Lopez is, of course, much more than a spectator.
The singer/dancer/actress, who recently released her new album "Love?," which includes the hit single "On the Floor," performed Thursday night, showing young aspiring Idols how to sustain a career in the music business.
Lopez has seen her own profile rise during the show, and although she's only signed for one season and is reportedly shopping her own Latin American singing competition with "Idol" creator Simon Fuller, Lopez is ecstatic about "Idol."
"I loved doing 'American Idol' this season," she gushed to MTV News Tuesday. "I loved it. I had the best time. The great thing for me, at this moment, is that there's a lot going on. There's a lot of possibilities, and I'm open to every single one of them."
Fellow newbie judge Steven Tyler also had a big week, releasing his much-talked-about memoir, "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?" The book reveals his thoughts on sex (good), drugs (bad, mostly) and reality TV (a little bit of both).
Tyler recalled how former judge Kara DioGuardi sent him a text last June asking if he had ever thought about being a judge on "American Idol."
"I didn't know," Tyler wrote. "Like a dummy, I went, "Does it still have high ratings?" She's going, "Oh, yeah!" So I said, "Well, I'll get back to you."
Good thing he did.
For the first time since 2007, the show has gained viewers and is showing a slight uptick in ratings over last year, according to The New York Times.