Former UCF defensive tackle Michael Lynche survived a dramatic night on American Idol last night to remain on the show. One of the show’s top performers for months, Lynche’s performance of “Eleanor Rigby” on Tuesday’s Lennon/McCartney night was not well received by judge Simon Cowell and, to the surprise of many, he had the fewest votes out of the nine finalists when they were tabulated at the start of Wednesday’s show.

After a stirring performance of “This Woman’s Work” the judges unanimously decided to use their lone “save” of the competition to keep Lynche on the show. Lynche is next in competition next Tuesday however the show will feature two eliminations instead of one since no one was cut from the final nine this week.

Lynche played defensive tackle for the Knights from 2001-02. He made an immediate impact as a freshman out of St. Petersburg’s Gibbs High School which also served as UCF’s practice site for the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl. Lynche had 24 tackles in 2001, 17 of them solos, with eight tackles for loss and a sack. As a sophomore in 2002, Lynche played in all 12 games and started each of the last three. He had at least one tackle in 11 of those contests and finished the year with 46 tackles in all, including a pair of sacks and six TFLs. He left the team just before the start of the 2003 season, returned to his native St. Petersburg and helped care for his ailing mother, Michele.