Joshua Ledet's third-place elimination on "American Idol" Thursday was a shock and a disappointment to many viewers, but there was one thing that wasn't disappointing about that night: His swan-song performance of "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World," arguably THE best exit song in "Idol" history. The judges were on their feet (of course), everyone was in tears, and even Joshua's beloved mama got in on the act. It was bittersweet to think that a phenom capable of such a stupendous performance would not be in next week's finale, but Joshua certainly went out in style--and he definitely set the bar for the two contestants, Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips, that remain.
Speaking backstage to Yahoo!'s Reality Rocks after his emotional elimination, Joshua said his last performance was a bit of blur. "I was, I don't know, I was just in that state of mind where I was ready to leave everything on that stage," he recalled, "because I've come so far...just making it to the top three out of the 200,000 people that auditioned was the most amazing thing ever."
Joshua appeared reserved and shy backstage, the polar opposite of his fiery and unhinged onstage persona. ("Yeah, I'm actually very quiet," he chuckled softly.) When asked how he transformed each week into the extrovert behind such over-the-top performances as "No More Drama" and "Man's World," this preacher's son revealed: "I just pray a lot, and ask that God walks on that stage with me and just leads me and guides me in the right direction."
Joshua seemed genuinely humbled by the judges' gushing praise and support during this season (and by the record number of standing ovations he received, SIXTEEN), saying: "It was amazing seeing them stand up so many times throughout this competition. It definitely makes me feel good about myself and confident. It was very touching, and I was very humbled [when Jennifer Lopez called me 'one of the top singers of the past 50 years'], because she has been around some amazing singers, and to hear her say that is the most amazing feeling ever."
As for Joshua's future plans, he said the judges advised him "to never give up and stay true to myself, and my career is only going to go higher from here"--but he didn't elaborate on what type of album he'll be recording, other than it will be "soul music" with a "strong message." However, he seemed very amenable to the idea of recording a duet with his idol, Season 3 "American Idol" winner Fantasia.
A Mantasia/Fantasia collabo? Hey, let's make that happen in time for next Wednesday's finale!