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6 Excellent 'American Idol' Exits

Casey Abrams' swan song stands among the most memorable eliminations in 'Idol' history. See who else made the list.

Casey Abrams might not have been the perfect fit for American Idol, what with his trademark growl and kooky stage moves. But the bearded jazz-head was nothing if not entertaining, as the Idyllwild native displayed until the very last moments of his time on the stage -- and off, where he showered unsuspecting audience members with kisses, hugs, oohs, ahhs and grrrs. Rather than reminding us all of the dreaded awkward encore moment, his performance of “I Put a Spell On You" made for one heck of an exit!

So Casey got us thinking: who else from Idol’s past has had memorable final performances? Here, five more excellent Idol exits -- four from season 3 alone -- boy, did those kids have a good attitude! 

Matthew Rogers, Season 3

The 11th contestant out on season 3 was a big guy with a big heart and huge cojones. Case in point: while delivering his swan song, Lonestar’s “Amazed,” he serenaded Simon Cowell directly and even grabbed the crabby judge’s cheek.   

LaToya London, Season 3

LaToya finished strong in Season 3, and didn’t let anyone rain on her Idol parade. Although her ouster triggered waterworks for Paula Abdul, who needed Randy Jackson to console her during London’s swan song, she went out with a bang, performing a rousing rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade” years before we ever heard the name Rachel Berry.

Allison Iraheta, Season 8

She just missed the Top 3 but took her elimination like a woman, not a “Cry Baby.” Allison received a major accolade from Slash during her video exit package, when the guitarist said she sang better than some 30-year-olds he knew. Indeed, she went out on a high note belting some classic Joplin with no tears and making no apologies for her Idol choices.

Jennifer Hudson, Season 3

It was until that point the most jaw-dropping elimination in America Idol history, prompting millions to wonder: how the heck did the three “Divas” wind up in the bottom 3 but Jon Stevens survived to sing another week? The collateral damage in this round? Future Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Aftershocks reverberated from celebrities as huge as Elton John, while Ryan Seacrest pleaded with the audience, “You cannot let talent like this slip through the cracks!” For her part, Hudson delivered an emotional performance of Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England” and left the show in her rear window.

Jon Peter Lewis, Season 3

The week America voted off Jon Peter Lewis, the former pen salesman didn’t go out on a somber note – rather, JPL rocked the stage Elvis Presley style, gyrating his hips, running through the audience, singing directly into the camera and grabbing random audience members to join in for the fun.