Thursday, May 17th 2012
Who's Going to the Finale?
by The AI Insider
After four months and millions of votes, Season 11 of American Idol finally has its top two finalists. Here's how it all went down:
The three remaining Idols performed the Beatles hit "Got to Get You Into My Life," and debuted their new Ford video, "Cinema." All three admitted that they were nervous but excited to learn who made it into the final two.
First, Ryan called Joshua to center stage. On Wednesday Joshua sang Etta James' "I'd Rather Be Blind," which fit him "like a glove," said Randy (who chose the song for him). Steven added, "This is another Joshua moment. There's only one American Idol, and you sang like that one tonight."
Jimmy thought he had a good night, but not his best. "I feel the judges were generous on 'I'd Rather Be Blind,'" he said. "It was kind of right down the middle. Overall, I gave it an 8."
For his second song, Joshua chose "Imagine," and Jennifer admired how he's "willing to dig deep into the words and the meaning through the music." But Jimmy thought the melody was too simple.
"He had to overcompensate with riffs and runs. To me, that didn't work. It was slightly overblown. It was not the right song for him . . . it just sat there for me," he said.
For his third song (Jimmy's choice), Josh sang Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama." Jennifer told Joshua he has the "perfect marriage of knowing exactly what you're doing and letting completely go at the same time." Steven wanted even more "Drama." And Randy said Joshua has "laid everything on this stage that there is to lay. That's what being a great artist is about."
Jimmy, however, thought Joshua failed to have a big moment with the song. "In fairness, I gave him a song that didn't have enough melody," he admitted. Nevertheless, he thought Joshua "100 percent" belonged in the finale.
After the Idols put their own vocals to the test on the music for "Ice Age: Continental Drift," and Lisa Marie Presley performed her new single "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," Ryan called Jessica to center stage.
Jennifer chose Mariah Carey's "My All" for Jessica, and Randy loved it. "I think it's one of the best times a Mariah song has ever been performed on TV," he said. Jennifer agreed that Jessica did it "so beautifully and your own way." And Steven even predicted that she could be "the last one standing here." Jimmy, however, thought that "powerful" Jessica failed to have a "shock and awe moment" with the "tender" song. "I don't think it came together . . . I don't think this was enough," he said.
For her second song, Jessica chose Aerosmith's hit, "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," and Steven said she "took a great song and made it greater." Jennifer said Jessica should appreciate what a "big deal" that is that Steven liked her version of his song. "When people sing his songs, I don't think he's ever said one good thing," she joked. But Jimmy said he was looking for more than that.
"She's got it," he said. "If she makes it to the final, to win she has to have the most magical moment she's had so far."
For her third song (Jimmy's choice), Jessica sang The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." Steven loved it. "Perfect song, perfect voice, you nailed it," he told her. Jennifer thought she "almost sounded like Michael [Jackson]." While Randy said he liked it, he didn't love it. "There was never a 'moment moment.' I wasn't like, 'Oh my God!' And I'm looking for that now."
Jimmy said when he chose the song, he didn't realize that Jessica would have to sing both Jermaine and Michael Jackson's parts, and he thinks that hurt her. Nevertheless, he said, "I think Jessica is worthy of singing on the Grammys."
Next, former Idol runner-up Adam Lambert returned to perform his new song "Never Close Our Eyes" from his latest album, "Trespassing." Then Ryan called Phillip to center stage.
Steven chose "Beggin'" by Madcon for Phillip, and Jennifer really enjoyed it. "You can't help it, you gotta mess with [the melody]. You catch a vibe in a song that is all yours, and you ride it all the way home. It was great," she said.
Steven was blown away, saying he hopes Phillip winds up writing his own songs. "You could be a new-age Boss . . . you could be a new Springsteen." Randy also thought he rocked out. "You are who you are, and we love it," he said. Jimmy agreed that Phillip did a great job. "It was entertaining, and it was fun," he said, adding that Phillip is getting "more original and less derivative" as an artist.
For his second song, Phillip chose to sing "Disease" by Matchbox 20, and Jennifer was a little disappointed. "I didn't feel like it was the 'wow' performance, which we are needing and wanting right now," she said. Steven felt the same way. "It wasn't over the top, but it was Phillip Phillips," he said. Randy also agreed. "It was such a subdued moment," he said. Jimmy said it was a "total snoozefest."
For his final song (Jimmy's choice), Phillip sang Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight," and earned a standing ovation from the judges. "You just showed you got all that passion wrapped up inside of you. It doesn't matter if you hit the notes or not, it's about the passion," Steven raved. Jennifer added, "I know one thing: There are 20 million girls out there who wish you were singing that song to them." Randy also had high praise. "The perfect song at the perfect time, and your best performance on this show ever," he said. "This boy is in it to win it!"
Jimmy agreed that Phillip "won the night" with the performance. "Hands down, his best performance of the entire contest and the best of anyone last night. He was flawless. I was genuinely knocked out," he said.
And then it was time for the results we've been waiting for. After nearly 90 million votes were cast, Ryan announced that the first person to compete in Tuesday night's finale is Jessica Sanchez. The second person to compete is Phillip Phillips, meaning it was time for Joshua Ledet to head home.
But don't shed any tears for Joshua. In his farewell video, he said he's "definitely proud" of himself for coming this far. And earlier in the show, he said, "We're all winners at this point."
Speaking of winners, tune in on Tuesday for the first part of our 2 day finale and then Wednesday to see who will be crowned the next American Idol at Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE. We can't wait!