Top 3 - Contestant's, Judge's, and Jimmy's Picks - May 16, 2012
1. Joshua Ledet - "I'd Rather Go Blind" A-
(originally by Etta James)
I love Joshua's style on this song. The way his voice caressed the words, the old-school style microphone, suit and rose on his lapel. Joshua is by far and away the best performer of the Top 3 and has arguably the strongest voice. This was a pretty good song choice for Joshua from the judges, although it didn't allow him to do anything that we hadn't seen from him at this point. The run at the end was unbelievable!
2. Jessica Sanchez - "My All" B
(originally by Mariah Carey)
The judges saddled Jessica with the most challenging song of the night. While the judges' song choices for both Joshua and Philip were right in their respective comfort zones, Jessica had to tackle the insanely difficult Mariah Carey hit. While she sang beautifully, Jessica always sounded just a bit off as though she was trying to hit each note with perfection. She especially struggled in the later half of the song.
3. Philip Philips - "Beggin'" B+
(originally by the Four Seasons, covered by MadCon)
I think I liked this cover by Philip mainly because I was not familiar with the original version of the song, or MadCon's cover. Extremely catchy song and refrain that's definitely fun to sing along with. I loved the breakdown towards the end of the song. I notice as I'm about to wrap of this review, that the only thing I've mentioned is the song, not Philip's version of it, and maybe that says it all.
4. Joshua Ledet - "Imagine" B+
(originally by John Lennon)
The second I heard Joshua was tackling "Imagine", I immediately though of David Archuleta's seminal performance from Season 7 that has got to be in the Top 25 Idol Performances Of All Time (if not the Top 10). Of course, for me, for you, Joshua's cover could not live up to that, but that's not to say it wasn't pretty good in its own right. There were some beautiful moments here. I loved the way he gave it the perfect amount of restraint and letting go in equal measure.
David Archuleta's 2008 Season 7 cover:
5. Jessica Sanchez - "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" A-/B+
(originally by Aerosmith)
A very gorgeous cover of a song that has a lot of personal meaning to me. I think it blew my mind when Ryan told the audience that Jessica was only 3 when this song was released on the Armageddon soundtrack in 1998. Wow, I feel old now. Moving on. I think while Jessica's cover was beautiful, it lacked a real emotional connection to the song for the majority of the performance.
6. Philip Philips - "Disease" C
(originally by Matchbox 20)
Something about this performance deeply confused me. I literally still do not know what to think of it. I can't decide whether I actually like it, begrudgingly admit it's decent, or absolutely hate it. That's really all I have to say about it. I think I could listen to this a dozen more times and still not be sure.
7. Joshua Ledet - "No More Drama" A-
(originally by Mary J. Blidge)
Full disclosure: I have never liked this song or many of Mary J's later hits. ("I'm Goin' Down" and "Not Gon' Cry", both from the early to mid 90's, are insanely awesome however.) That said, Joshua brought everything and more that he needed to bring to this song that requires that you get a little crazy. The reaction shot of the rest of the Top 12 contestants rocking out from the audience says it all. Joshua is the ultimate performer and he really brought it home with this performance - both visually and vocally.
8. Jessica Sanchez - "I'll Be There" B-
(originally by Jackson 5)
Jessica really made this her own by distinguishing it from the amazing Mariah Carey live cover. The problem that she faced (and that Mariah did not) was both the original and Mariah's cover feature multiple vocalists singing the different parts. Barring that, Jessica did a pretty good job and showed off the beautiful tone to her voice. The problem is, this is not a performance I will remember in a few weeks. More of a Top 9 performance.
9. Philip Philips - "We've Got Tonight" A-
(originally by Bob Seger)
Did anyone else notice the way Philip's voice slipped into a tone that reminded me of Kermit the Frog (especially in the first minute) of the song? That said, the performance was staged beautifully and subtly - in a season that has thrived on being, as Steven would put it, "over the top" with staging. Philip's singing greatly improved as the song went on. Philip had a real moment here where everything came together - a great song, subtle performance, and excellent staging.
Would love to hear some opinions by anyone reading this on Philip's performance!
Best performance of the night: Joshua - "No More Drama"
Worst performance of the night: Philip - "Disease"
All that said - now that I am writing this blog post a day late and I know who went home (Joshua), it is an absolute travesty. Joshua and Jessica have arguably the best voices in the competition and Joshua has been consistently amazing from week to week. Joshua's amazing performances on the show include "To Love Somebody", "When A Man Loves A Woman", "I Wish", "Runaway Baby", and of course the song he chose as his exit performance: "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World".