New York — Sanjaya Malakar, the under-talented but unflappable singer who horrified and captivated millions in his improbable "American Idol" run, was finally voted off the show Wednesday night.
When the result was announced, Malakar wiped away tears and got a big hug from LaKisha Jones, the next lowest vote-getter.
"I'm fine," he told Ryan Seacrest. "It was an amazing experience."
"I can promise you: We won't soon forget you," Seacrest replied.
Malakar then performed one last song, "Something To Talk About." Putting his own twist on the song, the 17-year-old known for his pretty looks and ever-changing hairstyles ad-libbed: "Let's give them something to talk about ... other than hair."
On Tuesday night's show, Simon Cowell had slammed his performance as "utterly horrendous." And for once, the notoriously mean judge was vindicated.
"I'm beginning to sense something here," a grinning Cowell said when Malakar wound up in the bottom three.
Six contestants are now left: Jones, Blake Lewis, Jordin Sparks, Chris Richardson, Melinda Doolittle and Phil Stacey.
Malakar was routinely savaged by Cowell as he developed into one of the weakest, most awkward "Idol" finalists ever. Still, the gangly teen managed to outlast better singers by cultivating an unlikely fan base that helped him survive round after round of viewer elimination.
Though his breathy, childlike singing voice paled in comparison with other finalists, his ability to stand out kept him in the competition. He consistently delivered the season's most talked-about performances, even daring to sport a ponytail mohawk that added pizazz to an otherwise tepid rendition of No Doubt's "Bathwater."