May 16, 2012 07:18 PM by Candace Young
Last week on American Idol, Hollie Cavanaugh had to console Joshua Ledet following her elimination from the competition. That left just Joshua, Jessica, and Phillip as the Top 3 – a scenario many had predicted weeks ago. Will it all come down to performances? Keep reading for tonight’s highlights…
This week, the contestants are starting out doing songs chosen by the judges – who need to come up with something original to say about these contestants or we’re in for a long two hours.
Joshua Ledet kicks it off with I’d Rather Go Blind by Etta James. The performance is more subdued than his recent frenzied offerings. He still bumps it up a notch toward the end, but it’s cool to see his more relaxed side. The commentary is positively boring with Steven Tyler gushing that he sung like the American Idol, and the other two following suit.
Jessica Sanchez is singing a Mariah Carey tune, My All. Her vocals are absolutely beautiful, but can’t they give this girl an age-appropriate pop song? Jennifer Lopez comments on her tenderness and control. Steven believes she’ll be the last one standing. Ryan Seacrest latches on to Steven predicting the winner.
Steven says the judges chose a song for Phil Phillips that would challenge him to stick to a melody. Phillip performs Beggin’ and nails the melody without losing his signature style. Man! I’m bouncing in my seat and the crowd is hopping! Jennifer says he rode that groove all the way home – it was great! Steven hopes he writes his own songs. Randy, wearing a startling tangerine jacket, says Phil’s been in the zone since day one. True talk.
It’s pretty sweet that Joshua tells Ryan he sold out an arena in his hometown that’s never sold out before ever – this guy is truly down-to-earth. On the trip home, Joshua shows himself to be a nervous flier, cringing and telling his pilot, ‘Sparky’, to take it easy. He brings his little niece Chloe in the car with him for the parade – she has eyes like dinner plates as she takes in the commotion. Josh gets a big reception at his old high school and later puts on a concert.
Back on the Idol stage, Joshua performs Imagine by John Lennon – his own selection. One of my favorite songs. His energetic James Brown routine is fun, but to just listen to him sing this simple arrangement is very appealing. Randy asks why he chose the song. Joshua says he heard it on the radio on the way to rehearsal and he loved the message.
The teen tells Ryan how she was previously unpopular, but when she went back to her hometown guys were chasing her car! Love it. She reconnects with her family in Chula Vista and takes them with her on a limo ride. Jessica seems genuinely floored by the pandemonium in her honor at her former high school. She sings on the USS Midway in tribute to her father who is overseas.
Jessica performs her choice – an Aerosmith tune – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. Is she kissing Tyler’s butt? Hmm. Her vocals are terrific as always, but she’s wearing a one-piece sand-colored pantsuit that totally distracts me from the song – this girl has freakishly long legs! If she was kissing Steven’s butt, then he kisses her’s right back, saying she made the song greater. I think he’s being kind – her version was decidedly more dull for those of us who are rockers! Randy gets a giggle out of her being so bold as to do a Tyler tune. He says it was slow, but she delivered a big moment by the end. Ryan does a quick calculation and announces that Jessica was three when the song first came out, aging Steven like never before!
Phillip arrives in his hometown after nightfall in an ancient old pinkish t-shirt and growls appreciatively at the assembled crowd. First stop the next day is the pawn shop where he used to work. There he embraces his tearful dad – it’s a regular love-in! Phil is then reunited with his mom and sisters before heading off to his parade. He cries his way up the parade route – so moved by the reception he receives. Later, he performs and then it’s time to go.
Phil sings Disease by Matchbox Twenty for his personal choice tune. It’s a more mellow, bluesy arrangement, as toning down seems to be the theme for the night, and showcases his natural talent and stage presence nicely. The judges all agree they wanted more ‘wow’ from him – he could do that in his sleep!
Jimmy selects No More Drama by Mary J. Blige for Joshua. It doesn’t grab my attention until the end when he, well, ups the drama a bit. Randy says it doesn’t matter what he does anymore – he’s laid it all out there. Jennifer and Steven enthuse predictably about him being amazing and over-the-top.
Jimmy decrees that Jessica must perform I’ll Be There by The Jackson Five. He picked it because it appeals to the older crowd, but still showcases how young she is. Except she sings it like a 50-something diva. There’s no denying she sounds incredible, but I’ve been waiting all season for Jessica to have a performance that would appeal to her peers, or a song with age-appropriate lyrics – it may not happen! Randy didn’t love it – it needed a moment.
Phillip will be doing We’ve Got Tonight by Bob Seger, courtesy of Jimmy. I get shivers from the the first note. It’s absolutely riveting. Chicks have melted into puddles all over America by the end of this tune – guaranteed! Randy calls it the perfect song at the perfect time – his best performance ever on the show! It inspires some bleepity-bleep filled commentary from a very passionate Steven Tyler.
Who do you think deserves to stay in the competition as we get down to the American Idol finale crunch? Who performed best tonight?
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Photos courtesy: FOX