Danyl Johnson became the latest contestant to be voted off the 'X Factor', missing a place in the final.
The 27-year-old hugged fellow contestant Stacey Solomon who beat him to secure a spot in Saturday’s decider.
He said: “I might have gone out in the semi-final but I’ve gone out to some of the best people I’ve ever met.”
Mentor Simon Cowell said he was “genuinely upset” at his exit.
The pop mogul told host Dermot O’Leary: “There is nothing more I could have done. It’s just one of those things. He has gone out on a high.”
The teacher from Kent was non-committal about going back to his career in the classroom.
He said: “I’m just going to see what happens. I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends and maybe play a couple of gigs.”
Johnson had looked certain to go through to the final after storming covers of Michael Jackson’s 'Man in the Mirror' and I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston in yesterday’s show – despite earlier claiming that the diva “absolutely hated him”.
Bookmaker Coral made Joe McElderry 1-3 favourite to win the series after last night’s result, with Solomon the 3-1 second favourite, ahead of Olly Murs at 7-1.
Spokesman David Stevens said: “Joe has been hot favourite to win for several weeks now, and his latest performances showed why, and it would be the biggest shock since Will Young beat Gareth Gates in Pop Idol if he didn’t win next week’s final.”
The Geordie was lavished with praise by the judges for his renditions of Jackson’s 'She’s Out of My Life' and 'Open Arms' by Journey on Saturday’s show.
Last night’s programme featured a performance by Lady GaGa who sang her current single Bad Romance in a typically bizarre metallic outfit with devil horns.
The set featured a giant bath, shower and toilet and a troupe of dancers in zombie-esque white costumes.
When asked to give advice to the contestants she said: “Be yourself. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams.”
Wearing a more orthodox denim get-up, Janet Jackson performed part of her 2001 hit 'It’s all for You' before launching into recent release 'Make Me'.
'The X Factor' charity single 'You Are Not Alone' dropped down from two to five in this week’s chart, while Peter Kay’s Children in Need fundraiser stayed at number one.