And then there were two.

At the end of the day and after 95 million votes had rolled in -– the highest tally at this point in the competition in any season -– only two contestants could move on to the finale to vie for the "American Idol" crown. Sadly –- very sadly -- Haley Reinhart will not be one of them.

"This is the biggest platform any girl -- anybody -- can ask for," Haley said after learning that Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina would move on to the final stage without her. "And I rocked it out and I had a blast. And this is only the beginning. Thank you all so very much."

When Ryan Seacrest invited Haley to rock it out again one last time, she did, singing the song that turned the tide that had appeared destined to sweep her from the competition much earlier: Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets."

If that wasn't the song that made Steven Tyler utter the memorable words "You … sing … sexy" (who can remember?), it might have prompted him to say them this time around. Haley smashed it the way we've grown used to seeing her do these last few weeks, hitting the words "stick around" with particular emphasis.

She made what has now become the requisite visit to the judges' table, singing to each and every one, incorporating their names into the song, and then moved into the audience to sing to the many "Idol" Top 13 contestants she'd managed to outlast (including, yes, a very encouraging Casey Abrams).

Then she turned to us, the viewers who had kept her around far longer than her detractors -– and probably many of her fans -– would ever have predicted.

"This ain't the end of this thing," she growled. "See you later."

Scotty and Lauren, those wholesome country kids, who had been thrown together several times to sing duets, their voices blending beautifully, would be duking it out on the final performance show in what would be "the youngest match-up in "Idol" history."

From latimesblogs.latimes.com.