Ryan Seacrest opened Wednesday night's show by warning us to "be prepared for a surprise or two" - two was about right.

Not only was Sanjaya... um, I mean Tim Urban... not in the bottom three, but the American Idol voters inexplicably voted to send home Michael Lynche.

I know I wrote in my blog Tuesday night I did not like Big Mike's arrangement of "Eleanor Rigby" and he has to be more consistent. But there is no reason in the world he deserved to get less votes than at least four of the other contestants - Urban, Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens. Five, if enough people agree with me about Siobhan Magnus.

And following this horrendous vote, I would not be surprised if the "American Idol" producers will be forced to, once again, have to refute claims of racism in the voting process - which they have had to do a number of times over the years.

Elton John called the show racist in 2004 when the three contestants he liked the most (all black women) constantly ended up in the Bottom 3. And many viewers (including Rosie O'Donnell) echoed those remarks in 2007, noting Season 2's Frenchie Davis was disqualified when risqué photos of her surfaced, but infamous New Jersey-native Antonella Barba - who also had some risqué photos released during Season 6 - was not.

I hope that is not the case. This is a singing competition taking place in the 21st century. In which a man is trying to provide a better life for his wife and newborn baby. That doesn't mean he should be given a free ticket to the finale. It just means I truly hope this was merely a freak vote - like if enough people thought he was safe, so they didn't vote for him - and had nothing to do with the color of his skin.

For the record, Fantasia Barrino, who is black, went on to win the competition in 2004. And Jordin Sparks, whose father is black, won the competition in 2007.

But the judges thankfully used their only "Judges' Save" of the season to keep Big Mike around on Wednesday night, which means two contestants will get eliminated next week.

So I find myself, yet again, having to plead with "American Idol" voters to cast their vote for the contestant they think did the best. Maybe I should be clearer... Don't vote for who you think is the cutest. Don't vote for who dresses the best. Don't even vote for someone simply because the judges liked them. Vote for the person you think had THE BEST performance.

My picks to be in the Bottom 3 next week are - Kelly, Urban, and Garcia. And I'll pick Urban and Garcia to go home.

(All projections are based on the assumption voters understand what the point of the competition is).

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