LuvThisStuf, you make an excellent point.
The ironic thing about the love-fest with the judges is that it gives the fans a false sense of security. Remember when Simon would be really critical about a bad performance, and the contestant really would deserve to leave that week? But his criticism would motivate the fans to vote and the contestant would, at worst, make bottom 3 and somebody else who did much better left. If the judges would have given out a little more tough-love after Casey's performance, maybe he wouldn't have ended up at the bottom to begin with. Not that that should be the reason for people to vote.