It’s Joshua Ledet’s Ledet’s Ledet’s World.
The “American Idol” frontrunner soared higher than ever while Hollie Cavanagh may have sealed her fate on Wednesday’s (May 9) performance episode, which saw the contestants battling for the hometown visits that await the top three finalists.
The evening saw the final four taking on two songs apiece — one with ties to the state of California and one song the contestants wished they’d written themselves. (The categories were some of the loosest in “Idol” history, but hey, they can’t all be winners.)
Joshua Ledet stepped out with Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” (his California song — Grobes hails from L.A.) and James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” the latter of which earned Ledet his latest in a long line of standing ovations and had the judges singing his praises, saying Ledet was second coming of the Godfather of Soul himself.
“Neither a man nor a woman has ever sang that good with that much compassion on this show ever!” Steven Tyler said following the performance. “I can go home right now. I never heard anything like that in my life!”
Jennifer Lopez said, “I think people at home maybe thought, like I did, that they had seen everything you had to give and how you can interpret a song. We hadn’t.” She then started speaking in Spanish. “You’re making me speak different languages now!” she said, calling his song “sickening.”
Randy Jackson put the cherry on top, calling it “one of the best performances in the history of any singing show, including ours, any show, any show, yo!” Yo indeed, Randy.
Jessica Sanchez was no slouch herself, turning in a “crazy, crazy, crazy” (per J. Lo) rendition of Etta James’ “Steal Away,” washing it down with a stunning “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” the “Dreamgirls” staple that she delivered with the fierceness of Jennifer Hudson. The performance earned her the night’s other standing O from the judges. “It was a real moment,” Lopez told her, while Jackson complimented her by telling her, “Dude, you are phenomenal.” (It’s always extra special when Jackson refers to females as “dudes.”)
Phillip Phillips, who’s been living in his own personal version of “Contagion” all season long, managed to fight his sickness enough to deliver a strong version of John Fogerty’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” (making two Fogerty songs in two weeks for “Idol”) and a splendid version of Damien Rice’s “Volcano.” Continuing with the hyperbole that has been tossed around like a Frisbee on the judge’s panel the last several weeks, Lopez said after “Volcano,” “After watching the show for many, many years and now being here for two years, it was one of the most beautiful, poignant moments a contestant has ever had.” Jackson followed by saying, “So yo, that’s wassup right there!” and calling it one of the best performances of the season.
Poor Hollie Cavanagh, who has barely avoided elimination the last few weeks, may have met her end following her versions of Journey’s “Faithfully” and Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Her first song received good marks — both J. Lo and Steven Tyler called it “beautiful” (but when don’t they say that?) — but her Raitt song was slammed for being distant. “I thought it fell a little short,” said Tyler, and Lopez said the emotions of the song — or the emotions she thought she had to deliver with the song — got the better of her. Jackson was even harsher. “It gave you nowhere to go,” he said. “There were no moments for me. For me, it was the wrong choice at the wrong time.”
The two-hour episode was padded with bonus performances, including duets between Phillips and Ledet (Maroon 5′s “This Love”), Cavanagh and Sanchez (the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”) and a performance of Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl Like You” tied to the upcoming “Rock of Ages,” which gobbled up a healthy amount of promotional time during the show.
One of the four singers will be eliminated on Thursday’s episode, which is also set to feature performances by David Cook and — hey, would you look at that? — Jennifer Lopez. How’d she manage that gig?
Who do you think is getting eliminated from “Idol” on Thursday? Let us know in the comments!
Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.