American Idol pared its finalist down to the Top 3, sending voting one more off the show. Oddly enough, though, all four contestants were headed home. But only the Top 3 would be coming back to Hollywood.
The Top 4 results night is a special night on "American Idol," as host Ryan Seacrest was quick to inform the audience Thursday evening. By show's end, the Top 3 finalists would be named. That trio of remaining contestants would then become hometown "Heroes" for a week, heading home with an "American Idol" camera crew in tow to document all the goings-on and celebrations. But that was at the beginning of the show and Seacrest had an hour to fill...
So the Top 4 performed the obligatory awful group number. This week's massacre: The Mamas and the Papas' classic "California Dreamin.'" Fitting, since that was the Top 4 performance theme (well, half of it; the other half was "Songs They Wish They'd Written"). Then there was the Ford commercial (also always awful). And then Seacrest got down to eliminating someone.
He brought Phillip Phillips to center stage. Iovine done his weekly critique of the previous night's performances. He said Phillips' finally "delivered," that on the second number, Damien Rice's "Volcanoes" was so well performed, that if he'd heard it from inside a club, he would have walked in, signed the artist, and closed the place down. Seacrest told Phillips to have a seat on the couch. But as Phillips turned to go, Seacrest told him he wasn't safe, he just needed to go sit down.
Second up, Hollie Cavanagh. Iovine gave her props for Journey's "Faithfully," but did the same thing the judges did the night before, panning the Bonnie Raitt tune. He said she went "opera" on the song, but, then, that made it a Cavanagh song. And the judges and mentors wonder why the singers get confused (be who you are vs. do what we tell you, but know who you are -- criteria to alternate weely).
The Season 7 winner, David Cook, took the stage. He performed "The Last Song I'll Write For You," which is a song that was released on May 8 by 19 Recordings after he was dropped by his record label, RCA. His sophomore album, This Loud Morning, did not sell as well as expected (112,000 to date), although it did generate two Billboard Adult Contemporary and Adult Pop Songs hits, and he and RCA parted company.
After Cook's performance, Joshua was called to center stage. Iovine said he wanted Ledet to keep "You Raise Me Up" simple but he went "full glorious gospel rendition." He said he would try to talk him out of stuff like that on his first album. As for the powerful "It's A Man's Man's Man's World," Ledet "created a piece of magic you rarely see on the ‘American Idol’ stage… it was so so captivating." He said that was the kind of song he should do on his albums and, in fact, should do that song.
Jessica Sanchez was the last to be reviewed. Iovine said that her Etta James cover ("Steal Away") was her "impersonating a great older jazz blues singer" and it was not a good idea. However, he noted her Jennifer Holiday ("And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going") number was "flawless." "It was shock and awe," he said.
"American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez then performed next, premiering her hit single "Dance Again." As yet, the single does not appear on an album, but it has charted in over two dozen countries in addition to making the Top 50 on five separate Billboard charts. Seacrest and Lopez' fellow judges introduced the song, also plugging Lopez' upcoming summer tour with Enrique Iglesias.
Finally, it was time to name the three. Seacrest gathered the quartet on center stage.
Jessica Sanchez was first to receive the good news that she was headed home for Homecoming Week.
Then Joshua Ledet.
Phillip Phillips and Hollie Cavanagh were left standing on stage. Was there going to be another shocking fourth place results show elimination, a la James Durbin in Season 10 or Chris Daughtry in Season 5?
With a dramatic pause, Phillips was named the last of the trio. After five previous visits to the bottom, Hollie Cavanagh was eliminated.
She took it well, just like her roommate Skylar Laine did the previous week. She sang the show off with a powerful rendition of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," the song she had performed for her "American Idol" audition that got her to Hollywood in the first place.
"American Idol" returns next week with the Top 3, their homecoming video montages, and performances to see who will sing in the Season 11 finale.
(photo credit: Angela George, Creative Commons)
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