The top three were in for a long night as one more hopeful’s dreams were cut short… this time, just before the finale! The top three performed three songs this week, “Judges’ Choice,” “Jimmy Iovine’s Choice,” and “Their Choice.” There were no particularly outstanding, unforgettable moments so the competition was no more difficult than it has been. Though this factor does not mean that voting came easy. All three contestants deserve the title. Now it comes down to not just favorites but who really impresses in these final moments. Everyone had three moments to shine Wednesday night but no one shined all three times. So who was great but not great enough?
Last night, the top three opened the show with a Beatles tuned and delivered a fun black and white music video, before getting to other time fillers until the results were read. This included a meeting with singer/songwriter, Ester Dean as she invited the (then) top four to record a number for Ice Age: Continental Drift and special guest performances. Lisa Marie Presley performed her new single “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” from her new album “Storm & Grace” which was a short sleeper. Season Eight Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert brought the house to life, performing his new song, “Never Close Our Eyes.”
As for the finalists… based on this week’s performances alone, 20 year old Joshua Ledet just did a good job. He’s had better nights, as Iovine pointed out when he hysterically mentioned that he was lying down – not giving a standing ovation to one of his performances. Nice dig at the judges. They’ve been giving out standing ovations like candy. Of the three songs that Ledet performed, “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige was a highlight. The judges’ choice of Etta James was predictable and like Ledet’s choice of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” boring. The entire night was boring frankly. I expected more a week before the finale. Am I alone here? The most moving point of Ledet’s journey last night was actually the footage of him visiting home. Ledet’s trip to Westlake, LA brought chills as he brought the house down at his home concert after being treated to a big parade. What a fulfilling moment… and this is only the beginning. Ledet can only go up from here. Job well done and a grand welcome home well deserved! Even though I have generally been wildly bored with his voice, he is a talent and that cannot be denied. Nor can his hard work. Congratulates Joshua Ledet for getting this far. Even though your journey in this competition is over, your music career has only just seriously begun.
Watching 16 year old Jessica Sanchez go home to San Diego, CA for her grand return was aso very emotional. Sanchez has done so much to get to where she is now. Long before her Idol and YouTube days, she was going after what she is now experiencing. I am so happy for her. If anyone has been fighting for the win, it has been her. Well deserved grand welcome home and spot in the final two. Jessica Sanchez for the win!
The “Judges’ Choice” for Sanchez was Mariah Carey’s “My All.” While a beautiful song, this performance really did not do wonders for her when it comes to viewers who do not understand and appreciate all that goes into this song. When they’re ready, she’ll be there. As judge, Steven Tyler said, I hope you get used to encores. Tyler also brought up a great point when he said that Sanchez makes people hang on every single note. This is so true! He certainly felt this way during her choice performance of Aerosmith’s own, “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.” As expected, she didn’t blow anything out of the water, but it was a great effort. “Jimmy Iovine’s Choice” of “I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5 was just alright. It seemed like Sanchez started out as strong as she would get for the night and then went downhill. But she is Jessica Sanchez, so there was no chance she would find herself eliminated. Good job Jessica! Even when you’re not fantastic, you’re still above average. Again, Jessica for the win!
Finally, there’s 21 year old Phil Phillips from Leesburg, GA who may have won the “Judges’ Choice” round but fell into the mediocre group along with the others for the night during his Matchbox 20 choice and Jimmy Iovine’s “We’ve Got Tonight” choice. Was his first song of the night all it took to keep him safe? Surprisingly, it was. I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you want Phil Phillips to make it to the final two? Yes, yes, I did. But after this week’s performances, it really looked like Ledet had it in the bag. Expect the unexpected is the theme of the game, eh? Sometimes the unexpected is a good thing! Who would have guessed? So Philips and Sanchez are in the finals and Sanchez is going to win it unless the extremely unexpected happens. While I adore Phillips, the win belongs to Sanchez. So make sure you all vote for Sanchez next week so that she can be crowned the winner. And if you think you’ve got what it takes, auditions for American Idol Season 12 begin June 7, 2012!
Watch American Idol Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
*Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta / PictureGroup for FOX