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  • Michael Sarver, American Idol Season 8 Michael Becker / FOX

    So did the American Idol judges finally have to exercise their one-time-only veto power to compensate for America’s wonky voting ways?

    Nah. It turned into a rough night for the oil-rig roughneck as Michael Sarver‘s Idol journey came to an end following a subpar tribute to Motown last night.

    Unsurprisingly, redoing “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”—as fitting as the subject matter was—didn’t help his cause any, and Idol‘s resident quarrelsome quartet politely dismissed him…but not without making him squirm a bit.

    “We haven’t decided,” Simon Cowell said, laughing, when Ryan Seacrest pressured him for an answer right away.

    Anyway, the 27-year-old married dad will be back for the Idols Live tour, and we’ll probably catch him wearing all white and singing a medley or something on the season finale.

    More than 36 million votes were cast—a Top 10 record—and the identity of two of the three finalists who found themselves waiting it out did not come as a surprise. But like last week, when spunky little Allison Iraheta inexplicably landed in the bottom three, the third behind sitting in those bum-cupping white stools belonged to someone more deserving of a ticket into the Top 9 than anything else.

    Maybe it was because he sang first last night, but Matt Giraud, who left the stage in need of a squeegee after his steamy rendition of “Let’s Get It On,” was voted into the bottom three, taking the place of a more deserving Megan Joy, whose butchering of “For Once in My Life” made for a most unpleasant listening experience Wednesday but who was improbably in the clear tonight.

    Golden boy Scott MacIntyre spent a few minutes knowing what being in the bottom three feels like before being spirited off to safety ahead of Stevie Wonder‘s performance, which filled the time before Seacrest lowered the guillotine on Michael’s Idol run.

    If Matt had gone, it would have been quite a shock—at least to the betting types out there. The odds of the dueling piano player from Kalamazoo, Mich., being dismissed were 15 to 1, as opposed to Michael, who was practically already out the door at 6 to 5 (courtesy of America’s Line oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein).

    Meanwhile, of the nine photos in Tyra Banks‘ hands, the first name to be called out belonged to…wait, wrong show.

    American Idol, Top 10 Ray Mickshaw / FOX

    But the equivalent of that honor went to Adam Lambert, who was the first to be called safe after showing “The Tracks of My Tears” who was boss last night.

    Joining him were Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Allison Iraheta, Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey and, finally, Megan.

    Reigning Idol champ David Cook and Lady Gaga are scheduled to perform on next week’s results show.

    (Originally published March 26, 2009, at 6:18 p.m. PT)