If "American Idol" was decided by whoever received the most standing ovations from the judges, Joshua Ledet would have this year's competition in the bag.
Ledet racked up two more standing O's from the judges on Wednesday's (April 25) "Idol," which found the contestants singing two songs apiece: one from Queen, and another of their own choosing.
That brought Ledet's unofficial standing ovation season total to 12 — that figure according to Skylar Laine, who ribbed him backstage for receiving a dozen standing O's over the course of the season.
Ledet first got a rise out of the judges with his version of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," which caused Jennifer Lopez to ask, "Is it bad for me to say the Joshua part of the show is my favorite part of the show?" He followed it with a version of India.Arie's "Ready for Love" — which was sung by Michael Lynche back in "Idol" season nine — which was called "another unbelievable performance" by Randy Jackson. Added an enthusiastic Steven Tyler, "I hope the label finds you a bunch of good songs, man, and you're off to the moon. I smell the finish line with you."
Hollie Cavanagh received the evening's other standing ovation from the judges with her second song, "The Climb," the Miley Cyrus song that seemingly summed up her journey on the show so far. It came after she received so-so marks for her first song, Queen's "Save Me," which played into theme of "The Climb" even further.
"That's the Hollie Cavanagh that we love, that's the one! Hollie is back! Yo!" said Jackson. Added Lopez, "You said it backstage, 'I gotta step it up,' and you did! It was perfect."
Steven Tyler's favorite of the night was Skylar Laine, who opened with "The Show Must Go On" and followed it with Jason Aldean's "Tattoo's on This Town." On the Queen song, Tyler praised her energy and her passion as over-the-top, saying, "the way you hit your notes, for an 18-year-old? Oh my God. That was fabulous." Lopez said she got "goosies" from Laine, while Jackson dubbed himself a "ginormous" fan of the Mississippi singer.
Jessica Sanchez kicked off the show with "Bohemian Rhapsody," which was shot in black and white while a chorus of Sanchez heads backed her on the oval "Idol" video screen at the back of the stage. For her second song, Sanchez sent a shout-out to her dad, singing a touching version of Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father."
Lopez told Sanchez she expected more energy from her during "Rhapsody," but said her "Dance With My Father" was "the best I've ever heard that song sang." Meanwhile, Jackson summed up her two performances by saying, "every time you get up and sing, you know what's wrong with it? Absolutely nothing!"
Phillip Phillips, who has battled Dave Matthews comparisons from fans all season, seemingly got away from the Matthews talk with his first song, a fun, spirited take on "Fat Bottomed Girls." "People say that you remind them of Dave Matthews, that didn't remind me of Dave Matthews at all. That was something totally different," Lopez said, invoking Matthews name out loud for the first time this season. "That's the mark of a great singer for me."
And how did Phillip Squared follow it up? With a performance of Dave Matthews' "The Stone," on which he sounded like a direct clone of Matthews. Lopez was not pleased, dismissing the song "obscure" and "artsy," and worrying it would get him voted off the show. Jackson, for his part, admired Phillips' sticking to his guns. "Die, sink or swim, Phil Phillips will always be Phil Phillips," he said. "I love that."
Elise Testone took on Queen's "I Want It All" early and followed it with Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love." The first song got high marks, though the latter "wasn't the right song for this time in the competition," Jackson told her, criticizing her for "boxing" with the song, and saying Hendrix sang "about 1/25 of what you sang" in his original. J. Lo had the opposite reaction. Although she said she wasn't familiar with the original, "you slayed that song so hard, it didn't even matter," she said.
Wednesday's show opened with the Top Six performing a medley of Queen songs, backed by Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Thursday's show will feature performances by Katy Perry and 10th season "Idol" contestant Stefano Langone, and one of the six remaining contestants will be sent home.
What did you think of "Idol" on Wednesday? Let us know in the comments!
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