During Thursday night's results show on Fox, it was revealed that Jessica Sanchez had finished bottom of the viewer vote and would have to sing for her right to stay in the competition.
> 'American Idol's Top 7 perform: Live blog
Sanchez barely managed a verse of her rendition of Deborah Cox's 'Nobody's Supposed to Be Here' before the judges stormed the stage. Jennifer Lopez snatched the microphone from the teenager, yelling: "This is crazy! Of course we're using the save! Go and sit down!"
Randy Jackson also dubbed Sanchez "one of the best singers in America ever" and implored Idol viewers to "vote for the best".
Producer Nigel Lythgoe posted a message on Twitter before the broadcast saying that the result had left him "truly shocked" and he didn't understand it.
The judges have to use their power to save a contestant before the Top 5 stage of the competition, and may only do so once during a season.
Aerosmith frontman Tyler had commented before the result had even been revealed that the judges would be playing their "save card" that evening.
Tonight's results show also saw former Idol contestant James Durban welcomed back to sing his new single, in addition to a duet between Ne-Yo and Jennifer Hudson on Hudson's track 'Think Like a Man'.
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.