"I can't believe it. I'm so thankful for the opportunity," said James after his elimination was revealed. "It's been an amazing, amazing journey and I'm just so honored that I'm here. It's amazing."
James, a 27-year-old from Fort Worth, TX, was ousted after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Tuesday night's live performance show that saw the Top 3 finalists each performing a "contestant's choice" and a "judges' choice."
James chose "OK, It's Alright with Me" by Eric Hutchinson for his first Tuesday night performance, and the selection was largely panned by the judges.
"I wanted to hear more from you, something that was different, unique, interesting -- this is down to the wire. You can't do a safe, easy kind of song like that right now," commented Randy Jackson on Tuesday. "It just didn't quite work for me man."
"Casey, it's hard to pick a song not everybody knows -- especially tonight, because you have to really be fighting for this competition," agreed Kara DioGuardi.
"When you pick something that is a first-listen for a lot of people, you can't take it to the next level and make it your own because you're just establishing it. I think that didn't work in your favor."
"You're lucky you've got two song choices because I would compare that first song to if you were having dinner, that's the salad," said Simon Cowell.
"In other words, there's hopefully something more substantial to come. That song will leave no lasting effect on the audience whatsoever. It kind of sounded like you were sort of busking for a couple of dollars rather than competing on the most important night of your life. So I think that was a dud song choice. But you sounded good."
James subsequently performed "Daughters" by John Mayer, which was chosen for him by Jackson and DioGuardi. While Jackson said it fit James "like a glove" and DioGuardi thought it allowed him to show his "sensitive" and "vulnerable" side, Cowell wasn't to sure because it "didn't have that wow factor."
Dewyze, a 23-year-old from Mount Prospect, IL, was the first finalist to learn he made the Top 2 during last night's results show.
"I'm safe?!" replied Bowersox, a 24-year-old from Toledo, OH who is the first female finalist to make the Top 2 since Jordin Sparks' won American Idol's seventh season in 2007.
"You are safe, congratulations," repeated Seacrest as Bowersox and Dewyze embraced.
Seacrest added James was eliminated based on the "over 47 million" home-viewer votes -- a season high -- that were cast after Tuesday night's episode.
American Idol's final ninth-season performance episode will air live next Tuesday at 8PM ET/PT before the is crowned at the conclusion of Wednesday night's live 127-minute results show, which begins at 8PM ET/PT.