UNC-Chapel Hill grad student Anoop Desai snagged the last of eight wild card slots for tonight’s American Idol sing-off that will fill the remaining three seats in the hit show’s Top 12 contestants. Called from a group of two dozen last-ditch hopefuls at the end of last night’s competition, Desai was awash with emotional relief as he took the stage to be congratulated by host Ryan Seacrest.

A former member of the Clef Hangers a cappella group, Desai, 21, has drawn a loyal local following that began clamoring for a wild card slot for him upon his elimination from the voting portion of the competition three weeks ago. Idol viewers have chosen the first nine of the final dozen from among the top 36 to make it through “Hollywood Week”; the last three are at the mercy of judges Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Season 8’s new judge, sharp-tongued songwriter Kara DioGuardi.

Tune in to Fox at 8 p.m. for the one-hour show, or just wait until tomorrow to read Entertainment Weekly blogger Michael Slezak’s usually hilarious recap.