updated 03/06/2014 AT 7:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/06/2014 AT 9:05 PM ET
“Harsh Harry” has been out in full force, but it was the fans who made the important decision of who was going home on American Idol Thursday.
“I just want them to get better,” Harry Connick Jr. said to fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban after a particularly negative critique on Wednesday night’s performance show that left at least one contestant in tears.
While no contestants received universal praise from the judges Wednesday, Urban had guaranteed finalists Sam Woolf and Emily Piriz that they would be safe despite the tough criticism.
But who did America deem worthy of another week in the competition?
After more than 70 million votes were counted, it was Piriz, MK Nobilette and Jena Irene who were asked by host Ryan Seacrest to take a seat in the stools reserved for the bottom three contestants.
Jena Irene was soon sent to the safety of the contestants’ lounge and was later joined by Nobilette, leaving Piriz to sing for her life as the judges contemplated using the Judges’ Save.
Ultimately, the judges did not use their one save of the season and Piriz was sent packing.
“This is amazing,” Piriz said of her Idol experience, shortly after being eliminated. “I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more.”