Toby Moulton in shock Idol resignation

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Just four weeks to the finish line, but Toby decides to follow his heart.

Toby Moulton, the school teacher turned singer shocked viewers last night when he quit Australian Idol live on air.

Moulton, 30, was one of five remaining contestants in the Channel TEN reality series.

"After many, many hours of soul searching and many sleepless nights, I have decided to withdraw from the competition tonight. I have come to a point where I have realised that at this stage I do not want a career in music and these four people do," he told the live audience.

"They each have an enthusiasm and drive that I cannot match and I must step aside so that they have the best chance to prosper as young Australian artists. I must be real with myself and feel I can no longer continue on this adventure.

"My biggest consideration when making this decision was those beautiful people who have become fans. I will miss the smiles, hellos and beautiful messages you have blessed me with."

Moulton had been well-liked by fans and judges for his singing skill and demeanour, frequently singing songs by Radiohead, Oasis and British indie acts. But sometimes he was questioned as to whether his image fit the songs he was pursuing.

"I know many of you identified with me, the school teacher who just decided to have a go, someone who acted on his passion. I hope my decision doesn't leave you downhearted," he said.

"I have had the most amazing experience of my life. I now know who I am. I am a teacher. I am a teacher who knows he can sing and is no longer afraid of being heard."

Moulton is only the second-ever contestant to quit the series. In 2003 Cosima De Vito quit the show because of a sudden diagnosis of throat nodules. With just three remaining in the contest, it guaranteed Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll a place in the final two.

In taking his exit from the show, Moulton similarly gave James Johnston another free pass. He was due to leave the show, but will live to sing another week. He continues against Stan Walker, Hayley Warner and Nathan Brake. <[>"If it's OK with you guys, I'd love to be up on stage with you at the grand final. I can't wait," said Moutlon.

"I'll miss you all and pray you all continue to shine and never forget the magic of music."

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