'American Idol' Recap: Did Judges Save Jessica Sanchez for Ratings?

"American Idol" recap: Jennifer Lopez and the other judges came through in spectacular fashion to save contestant Jessica Sanchez from elimination at the hands of voters. Ratings were boosted significantly by the bold move.

"American Idol"- while judged by three stars, J.Lo, Stephen Tyler, and Randy Jackson- is decided by America's voters, who placed Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, and Elise Testone in the bottom three candidates out of the seven remaining. Sanchez accepted her place at the very bottom, singing what would have been a farewell song for the audience.

Instead, 15 seconds into the powerful performance of Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here," Lopez stormed the stage with Jackson and Tyler in tow, crying "Give me that mic! This is crazy!"

The audience went wild at the anticipation that the half-Mexican, half-Filipino girl who stunned viewers with a rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" might be saved, after all.

"Yes, we're using the save! You're not going home. Go sit down! Go sit down!" J.Lo shouted into the mic. Jackson and Tyler confirmed the sentiment, saying that talent, not Sanchez's poor choice of songs the past few weeks, should be the main judge of talent.

"This girl is one of the best singers in America. Ever. Are you kidding me?" said Jackson. "Please everybody, please vote for the best. It's about finding the best."

Although the host, Ryan Seacrest, could not get the judges to say who was above or below in the rankings, one thing definitely shot up: the show's ratings.

Thursday, "American Idol" had stellar ratings, drawing 15.3 million viewers to the program. Fox had an average of 11.8 million in the primetime slot, compared to 8.8 million for CBS, 8.1 million for ABC, 3.2 million for NBC, and 961,000 for reruns.

An Orlando Sentinel blogger, Hal Boedeker, alleged that producers staged the entire event to increase viewership, which has steadily declined during the season in recent years.

"I'm hearing from readers who see a setup by producers to bolster ratings," wrote the blogger.

If it was a setup, it definitely worked. The show's ratings could have also been bolstered by Jennifer Hudson's appearance; she is a past "Idol" contestant who performed for the show.