Host Ryan Seacrest teased at the top of the show that "a lot of fans are going to be disappointed" by the results, hinting that a popular finalist would go.
Abrams, 20, an unconventional but versatile musician who plays piano, guitar and upright bass, had not appeared in the bottom three since the judges trumped fan voting and decided to keep him in the running on March 24.
But the bearded California singer, who received less-than raves from the judges on Wednesday, got the boot after fans cast the fewest votes for his quirky twist on King's song "Hi-De-Ho."
Jacob Lusk, and 17 year-old country crooner Scotty McCreery were also among the last to hear their fate after Seacrest announced the results were being read out in random order.
Lusk has skated on thin ice several times, but McCreery has been a consistent favorite. Randy Jackson on Wednesday had praised his romantic rendition of "You've Got a Friend" as "flawless".
Abrams went out with a stirring performance of "I Put a Spell on You."
Seacrest paid tribute to the singer saying, "This is what talent looks like."
Thursday's show featured performances by last season's runner-up Crystal Bowersox, who sang "Ridin' With the Radio," and R&B singer Bruno Mars who did "The Lazy Song."
The five remaining finalists are rocker James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Lusk, Haley Reinhart and McCreery.
"Idol," the nation's top-rated TV show, has recovered from several years of flagging ratings this season with new judges Jennifer Lopez and rocker Steven Tyler.
The finale airs on the Fox network May 24 and 25, when viewers will choose the next winner and he or she lands a recording contract.
Past winners such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, as well as runners-up like Clay Aiken and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, have gone on to successful careers on Broadway and in film.
(Editing by Jill Serjeant)