Thursday night's "American Idol" turned out to be the most shocking episode of the season thus far, proving one sure thing: America got it all wrong this week.
The judges were quick to point that out when they unanimously decided to save 16-year-old singing prodigy Jessica Sanchez before she could even finish her last-chance performance song after receiving the fewest votes.
Sanchez, who has impressed the judges week after week with renditions of songs well beyond her years, "slayed the biggest fish of the night," according to Randy Jackson, with her performance of "Stuttering" by Jazmine Sullivan on Wednesday night. She even had guest mentor Akon predicting legend status one day, only fueling the fire that the singer, a.k.a. Bebe Chez, was well on her way to becoming a title hopeful.
So what went wrong? "Well, I think [America] thought she was safe," explained Jackson, who stopped by backstage to speak on Sanchez's behalf. "I think they thought she was safe, I'm sure, and I think they thought Joshua was safe because those two alone, with Colton and some of the others, have been the most consistent. So, you know, yeah, I think they just forgot."
Probably the most inconsistent of the final seven who was a sure bet to be the one sent packing last night was Hollie Cavanagh. Despite her strong vocals, her nerves and stiff stage presence have led the little English southern belle to the bottom three for weeks now. But after her less-than-perfect performance of "Perfect" Wednesday night, she dodged the bullet completely this time around thanks to her devoted fans.
"She's got a lot of fans out there. A lot of people love her. I mean, look, all of these kids are very talented, and you just said it a minute ago," Jackson said, turning to judge Steven Tyler. "They're all individual, they're all different."
"I mean, the proof is that one sings great, the other one's style is crazy great," added Tyler, comparing Cavanagh and Sanchez. "And then you got Elise, who just laughs all the time and just takes it just so effortlessly free. And there's just so many different singers out there. That's why it's hard for me now. I like to let America judge. Tonight they were wrong."
So with the panel deciding to rescue San Diego's savvy young diva, all seven contestants will return to the stage Wednesday night to continue to fight for the crown. But there's one catch: Next week two finalists will be given the boot. Will Sanchez be one of the two to go, or will she take Jennifer Lopez's advice and take the audience on a ride like they've never seen before? Who knows? Let's see if America gets it right this time.
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