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'American Idol' 13 results twist: Top 5 get to vote to keep or send one home

'American Idol' finalist Sam Woolf was eliminated on the Top 5 results show, ending his quest to be the show's thirteenth idol.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

There was a bit of a twist to the "American Idol" Top 5 results show on Thursday night. Not only did one of the finalists face elimination due to receiving the least amount of votes from America, but the five remaining finalists were given a choice to keep the five together for one more week or send said lowest vote-receiver on home.

Could it be that the "Idol" finalists aren't one big happy family after all?

As Daniel Fienberg at HitFix recapped (via Yahoo TV), host Ryan Seacrest took to Twitter to toss out a lure: He posted that something was going to occur on "American Idol" that he had never seen before. And when the show went live, he noted that there was a "gamechanger" in the works and that the Top 5 finalists would have to make "a difficult decision."

And so it came to pass that after a quarter of an hour of idle (see what happened there?) chit-chat, commercials, and a Ford commercial featuring the finalists, Judge Keith Urban stepped out onto the "Idol" stage and performed "Good Thing," a track from his latest album chart-topping album (Billboard's Country Albums and Billboard 200 charts), Fuse.

Twenty minutes in, viewers watch as Ryan Seacrest reveals that the Top 5 finalists had a choice: Either vote to send the lowest vote receiver home after the night's reveal or keep the lowest vote receiver around for another week and send two home after a Top 5 redux show.

It was a first for the show. The finalists could choose to allow one of their number stick around for another show. That would allow for more iTunes songs for the should've-been-eliminated. The only condition regarding the vote was: The vote had to be unanimous.

It was not. The final vote: 3-2.

The process was no "shocking twist" as was promised, but it did provide a twist. But where was that all-for-one cameradery that was being pushed by the producers through good editing throughout the season?

It seemed that two finalists were ready to get the contest over with -- or they just might have thought that keeping the lowest vote receiver around another week could jeopardize momentum. Regardless, the vote was to send home the finalist with the least number of votes.

So the five -- Jena Irene, Alex Preston, Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse, and Caleb Johnson -- lined up at center stage. And Ryan read America's voting results.

Sam Woolf would be headed home.

Undeniably, the recently turned 18-year-old was the best choice for elimination. He's nowhere near the same calibre of singer and/or performer that the other four remaining contestants are.

So Sam Woolf's departure sets up a battle royale between four outstanding young talents, all of which could win the competition. Unfortunately, only one can win the title, album contract, and prize money.

"American Idol" airs on Wednesday evenings at 8 p.m. and Thursday evenings at 9 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.

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