Melinda Doolittle by Frank Micelotta/Fox Melinda Doolittle by Frank Micelotta/Fox

In a shocking turn of events, frontrunner Melinda Doolittle received the least amount of votes and was sent home. Despite earning high praise from all of the judges of her three songs on Tuesday, she failed to win America's approval. The talented performer graciously smiled and applauded the two remaining finalists. Simon Cowell looked stunned behind the judges' table. His initial reaction was, "Congratulations to you two [as he gestured to Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks]; my commiserations to you, Melinda, because you are one heck of a singer."

Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul complimented Melinda's consistency, and reassured her that she'd have an incredible career in the future. Doolittle delivered her song choice from Tuesday's episode, a sassy rendition of "I'm a Woman," for her final performance on the Idol stage. She slowly walked over to the backup singers at the end of her tune, perhaps as a silent nod to her pre- Idol profession.

Next week's finale will be a showdown between 17-year-old Jordin and 25-year-old Blake. The duo will perform on Tuesday night's show and the sixth American Idol will be crowned on Wednesday. - Angel Cohn

For more information and discussion on last night's Idol, click here.

POLL: How shocked are you by Melinda's exit? Vote here.

POLL: With Idol about to end, what summer reality series are you most excited for? Vote here (bottom right).

UPDATE: In Today's News: My Take, Melinda shares with TVGuide.com her theory on why she got sent home.