Michael Johns booted from 'Idol'

LOS ANGELES, CA The Australian-born singer was eliminated Thursday from Fox's popular singing competition as the contest was narrowed down to the top seven finalists following Wednesday's "Idol Gives Back" charity event.

The dismissal came as a surprise to many since Johns had never been in the show's bottom three vote-getters and no contestants were evicted after last year's special "Idol" fundraiser. The hunky rocker, judges and his competitors all seemed stunned by the eviction.

Johns, 29, sang Aerosmith's "Dream On" during Tuesday's inspirational-themed performance show. Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson didn't think the song choice suited Johns, although Paula Abdul thought the selection was perfect.

Carly Smithson and Syesha Mercado, who've both previously been in the bottom three, were the other lowest vote-getters.

Before the elimination, host Ryan Seacrest told the audience that "Idol Gives Back" had garnered over $60 million thus far -- and reminded viewers that donations were still being accepted. Last year, $76 million was raised for underprivileged children. "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had earlier anticipated this year's event would lure $100 million.

Ratings were significantly down for "Idol Gives Back," which featured musical performances by Fergie and Miley Cyrus. Despite being the top-rated show Wednesday, 17.5 million viewers tuned into the second "Idol Give Back" special, down from last year when 26.9 million viewers watched, according to Nielsen Media Research.

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