The top three made it to the ‘Choices Week’ of the ‘American Idol’ competition, but the most important choices now are America’s! Who should be in the finals next week?
The three remaining American Idol finalists — Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips — took on three songs May 16: one picked by a judge, one picked by themselves, and one picked by Jimmy Iovine. In order to get into the most coveted spot of the finals, they had to deliver performances like they never have before. So who shined and who blew it? You’ll be surprised to find out the answer!
Etta James, “I’d Rather Go Blind”
Joshua was given the death spot tonight, which was surprising since Jennifer Lopez called him “the best singer in the last 50 years!” But after Randy Jackson‘s choice was revealed, I could see why he was given this spot. It was safe and very forgettable. Joshua seemed to be on auto pilot, which for him is a good place to be — but we’re talking about competing for a chance to get to the finals of American Idol here. The judges were in love, yet again — and basically said he should win the competition. Still, I don’t think Randy chose wisely for Joshua; he should have challenged him just a little more. It was nothing bad, but also nothing amazing.
Mary J. Blige, “No More Drama”
This was Joshua’s best performance of the night, but nowhere near what he has done before. He picked it up towards the end and made the song exciting. Having this performance after the bashing of Phillip will probably also help matters. The judges didn’t go as insane as I thought they would, but they still loved it. This will be — and should be — the last time we see Joshua on stage. No matter how many times people want to say he is the best singer of all time, the fact is, he is not.
John Lennon, “Imagine”
This is pretty much one of the greatest songs ever written, but after Joshua sang it, I think that he’s in trouble and will be voted off tomorrow. This was very bland and very karaoke. There were good moments, and Joshua can obviously sing, but this was a misstep. So overall, he was in the death spot, he didn’t get a great judges song, and he didnt sing his own choice song very well. Not a good sign. And J. Lo did her good-comments-that-actually-mean-bad routine. The judges seemed to try to save him a little bit here, but this just wasn’t Joshua’s night. He’s in the most trouble for sure.
Mariah Carey, “My All”
J. Lo actually chose a great song for Jessica. This was younger and more thought-out than anything she’s done all season. She wasn’t growling, and she wasn’t shrieking and carrying on. She was actually singing and feeling the song. She looked more reserved and comfortable on stage, and — wait for it — I really liked the performance! If she does this for the rest of the show, and in her career, she will be a star. This was the first time she really felt the emotion and sang Mariah Carey like a Mariah Carey song should be sung. The judges liked it, but didn’t go crazy for it, even though Steven Tyler may have told her she was the winner. She was definitely in the zone; I just hope she doesn’t go back to her diva ways and ruin it.
Aerosmith, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”
This was a far cry from Jessica’s first song performance. It sounded like the music actually overpowered her vocals. It was a decent performance, but she made such an iconic song sound sort of hokey. Jessica, who won round one, certainly lost round two here. She did do better than Joshua, but when Steven almost on cue said it was greater than his own rendition, he was wrong — but what was he going to say? She was bold to do this song. Randy was looking for a moment, and though he said there was one, I don’t believe she pulled it off. Jessica obviously needs direction, so hopefully she gets great producers to lead her down the right path because she doesn’t have that power in her quite yet.
Jackson 5, “I’ll Be There”
This is a great song that was amazingly done by both The Jackson 5 and Mariah Carey. I’ve been waiting for her to do something young, and she finally did it. Jimmy thought the same, and gave her a great song to sing. This proved once again that when songs are picked for her, they are home runs — but when she chooses stuff herself, not so much. This performance sealed her spot in the finals with Phillip. I’m glad they went more Jackson than Mariah, but the judges weren’t loving it, especially Randy. I agree there wasn’t a moment. Randy wanted the Mariah version. I didn’t. Jessica should be in good shape.
Steven chose a song that was tailor made for Joshua — which may not have helped Phillip much. The one thing I liked is that this forced Phillip to do something different than what he usually does with his song choices. The song improved as it went on, but at best, he came in second this round. Jessica definitely won round one. That said, the fans loved this performance and gave him the most cheers, so I think he should actually be safe. The judges were in love with his performance, but when are the judges ever worth their comments? Not very often. (Thankfully, Jimmy brings everyone back to earth.)
Matchbox 20, “Disease”
With this choice, Phillip brought himself to the front for the second round. He is the only one of the remaining Idols who actually knows who he is in this competition. Whether you like it or not, this is what Phillip will sound like in concert. This performance was not a moment, and not the best he has ever done, but it was good enough to get him to the finals. If he’s not in the finals, it would be a shame. The judges didn’t think this was the ‘wow’ performance because they really want a Joshua/Jessica final. Their intentions have been obvious all season. If the judges’ opinions have any clout, this may have ruined Phillip’s chances. We shall see what America really cares about tomorrow! I’m scared because every time the judges bash someone, they usually go home. Just like Hollie Cavanagh last week.
Bob Seger, “We’ve Got Tonight”
This is one of the greatest songs ever, and Phillip absolutely slayed it. It was spectacular. The only complaint was the last line, but overall, it was a complete home run. The judges loved it as well, and gave him a standing ovation. Steven added that he looked like he didn’t give a s**t, which was actually a compliment, and the perfect thing to say at this time in the competition.
So HollywoodLifers, after tonight’s performances, which two singers deserve to be in the finals next week? Sound off below!
— Russ Weakland