American Idol: Joshua Takes J.Lo to Church; Farewell Hollie (Probably)

Lindsay Silberman
TV Guide

Joshua Ledet | Photo Credits: Michael Becker/Fox
Joshua Ledet | Photo Credits: Michael Becker/Fox

We've made it to the final four folks, and what a long, strange trip it's been. Tonight we'll take a stroll down memory lane as we recount the journey of each contestant. When that's over with, they'll sing a song about California, and follow it up with a song they wish they had written. It is at this point we realize the producers have simply run out of categories. Oh well.


Let's start with our resident country boy, shall we? The guy's so nice, they named him twice! Phillip Phillips came from humble beginnings, and by that I mean a dinky pawn shop in Georgia. But no matter... because tonight, Double P will take the stage in front of millions to sing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" It's a far better song choice for Phillip than last week's catastrophe, and as I've said before, it's always refreshing to see him sans guitar. There were points where he seemed to be stretching to hit the notes, but overall it was a solid performance. "You're living proof that the road to success is always under construction," says Steven, who acts as though he's given a compliment... when in actuality, it sounds more like an insult. But a confused Steven is to be expected.

Hollie's journey is a bit more peculiar because, to be honest, I'm not even sure why she's still here. She auditioned for Season 10 and cried and cried and cried and got cut after Hollywood week. But this time around, we got a brand spankin' new Hollie (clearer skin too!), who somehow slipped through the cracks and ended up in the top 4. Tonight, she sings Journey's "Faithfully" and for the first time, reminds me of a mini-Celine Dion. Which is great, or absolutely horrible, depending upon your opinion of Celine. As far as Hollie goes, it's a pretty good performance, and there's no doubt she's the most improved contestant this season. "You're peaking at the right time in this competition," says Randy.

Hey, look! It's Jason Derulo and his crystal-encrusted neckbrace again! Still not sure what the deal is with this song he's writing or singing, or whatever, and I'm confident that like me, no one else cares.

What I do care about? The fact that Joshua also tried out last season, and was rejected by everyone but Steven. Craziness! Well, Joshua made it this year, and overcame tremendous obstacles in the process. Namely, his entire family's fear of flying. It's a good thing he persevered, because tonight we were able to enjoy his performance of "You Raise Me Up." Joshua has the ability to turn any song he sings into an emotional, heart-wrenching experience. Tonight was no different.  "It was another great performance for you," says J. Lo.

Jessica has been dying to be on American Idol since she was five years old, and she's been singing since she was 2. I have no proof of this, but based on old video footage and several divalicious kiddie gowns, she might also be an original cast member on Toddlers & Tiaras. (I plan to investigate). Jessica sings "Steal Away" and it's fine vocally, but it's overly dramatic and forced — like she's trying really hard to assume the persona she envisions should be singing this song. The judges, however, all die for her performance, which is not a surprise as they've failed to criticize anyone yet. "Your vocals are ridiculous... that girl can sing the phonebook," says Randy, who went with the most dreadful, overused phrase in singing competition history.

Joshua and Phillip, two men who are clearly uncomfortable by the sight of one another, are forced to sing a love song together yet again. And somewhere, an evil Idol producer/puppet master is cackling in a corner. But cackle away, puppet master! Because the performance was brilliant. It somehow managed to work for both of their very different voices, and it was a pleasure to watch.

Hollie and Jessica sing "Eternal Flame" while swaying in unison on swings made of toilet paper. Unlike the boys' duet, theirs is insufferable. And for the first time tonight, a judge actually judges! "For me... I just didn't like that. I thought it was weird," says Randy. And then I'm all like, "YO! RANDY! THANK YOU DAWWWWG! I was so not feeling that either!" Steven calls them swingers. Double score!

The final four sing Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You," and it's arguably a bigger train wreck than "Eternal Flame." Nothing more to say about that.


Jimmy Iovine calls Phillip's song choice "Volcano" a "bullseye," and per usual, Jimmy is on point. The song showcases Phillip at his best — haunting, sexy, raspy, mysterious and so much more. I admittedly don't know this song, but after that performance, I have no interest in hearing the original. The shrieks in the audience indicate that 100 girls fainted, gained consciousness and then voted for Phillip until they were plagued with carpal tunnel. "It was one of the most beautiful, poignant moments a contestant has ever had," says J.Lo before plotting ways to make Phillip her sex slave without breaking code of conduct.

Hollie selects "I Can't Make You Love Me," a song that holds a special place in her heart. Jimmy encourages her to be vulnerable without oversinging it, and she definitely accomplishes that, but the song still seems too mature for someone her age. It wasn't a great performance and it will be the one that sends Hollie home. "I thought it fell a little short as far as a dynamic range of how you can sing. Sorry, baby," says Steven.

Inspired by his parents, Joshua selects "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" for his second song this evening. The performance is a perfect example of Joshua going absolutely off-the-wall crazy on a song. Like... he beat the song up with his voice, if such a thing were possible. At this point, it seems like Joshua has become somewhat of a polarizing contestant — many think he's God's gift to American Idol, and others are tired of his screaming-while-singing style. But we all know which side the judges are on. J.Lo says Joshua took her to church. "It's the greatest song for you and I think it's one of the greatest performances in the history of any singing show — including ours," say Randy.

Jimmy calls Jessica ferocious, and expects her performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" to be "every bit as powerful as you could possibly sing this song." The minute she opens her mouth, Jessica makes it clear she is going to pour every single ounce of energy into this performance. Powerful would be an understatement. I hate to quote J. Lo here, but I had "goosies" the entire time. How is it possible for so much passion and fierceness to come out of someone so tiny (and young)?! "Your vocal ability... it's not something that you see all the time. It was a real moment. That was amazing," says J. Lo.

So that's it! Did Joshua take you to church too? Do you think Hollie blew it? Who was your favorite, and who is going home tomorrow? Share your thoughts below!