American Idol Top 4 Tackle 'California' and Songs They Wish They Wrote: Who Were Your Faves?

idol top 4This week’s American Idol performance show was a little like a Michael Bay action movie. There were explosions (courtesy of Jessica Sanchez). There were laws of nature and logic being defied (hi, Joshua Ledet). There was a sly, winking heatthrob and a damsel tied to the train tracks (played by Phillip Phillips and Hollie Cavanagh), as well an unspeakable villain — code name: Dr. Yo! — hellbent on leading everyone and everything on a path to ultimate destruction.

RELATED | American Idol: What Should the Top 4 Cover for California Dreamin’ Week?

I’ll post a full recap of the proceedings on Thursday right here at, but until then, here are just a few pithy thoughts on the evening’s performances.

California Dreamin’ 
Phillip Phillips: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” | Perfectly fine, in the same way your bowl of breakfast cereal was on Jan. 14, 2012. In other words, you won’t remember it in three weeks — except for maybe the awful “surfin’ safari” backdrop.

Hollie Cavanagh: Journey’s “Faithfully” | I’m not sure Hollie revealing that she needed famed choreography duo NappyTabs to explain the meaning of the song to her will do her any favor with Idol voters. Plus, her voice seemed just a wee bit tremulous for the opening two-thirds, no?

Joshua Ledet: Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” | I’m not sure why the judges didn’t call him out, but I felt like Joshua allowed his emotions to overtake the performance, and as a result, his voice closed up like the branch of your credit union on a Sunday afternoon. Not his best work, and possibly his worst of the season?

Jessica Sanchez: Etta James’ “Steal Away” | Go on with your bad self, Bebe Chez! I’m not sure where Jimmy was to keep an eye out for “age appropriateness” of this 16-year-old’s song choices, but the vocal was pretty stellar.

RELATED | American Idol Top 5 Results Recap: She Ain’t No Fortunate One

Joshua & Phillip: Maroon 5’s “This Love” | Ridiculous fun. Also: Proof that Joshua can really handle contemporary material.

Hollie & Jessica: The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” | Of course Randy hated it: No one on stage had a Y chromosome! Me? I thought it was really good.

The Song I Wish I Wrote
Phillip Phillips: Damien Rice’s “Volcano” | Talk about the right song and performance at the right time! Phillip’s stripped-down arrangement and whispering intensity really stood out in a field of power belters. This had shades of Kris Allen’s “Falling Slowly,” so in other words, I loved it.

Hollie Cavanagh: Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” | I’m going to have to watch back a second time, but I felt like Hollie might’ve lost her spot on the bridge, and everything that came after it was being chased by a beast born from the marriage of panic and insecurity.

Joshua Ledet: James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” | If I knew any language other than English, I’d be using it to try to describe a performance that I’d easily rank in the Top 10 best in American Idol history.

Jessica Sanchez: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” (from Dreamgirls) | By bringing note perfection and gale force delivery to the pimp slot, Jessica pretty much assured us she is not going anywhere on Thursday’s results show. Now you and you and you, you’re gonna love her, even if she did perform like somebody glued her stilettos to the floor.

What were your favorite performances from Top 4 night? Take our poll, then sound off below. And for all my reality TV recaps and news, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:

    Oh yeah did anyone notice the part where JLO was saying to Joshua something along the lines of the top 4 being so great, that him, jessica, phillip and I quote “EVEN Hollie” could all make it. This was right after Joshua’s 1st performance….I should change my name to WishesJLOCouldn’tSpeak, or Judgesmustdie, the favoritsm on the show is so frustrating sometimes and I like all the contestants! I just wish ALL bad/mediocre performances could be called out instead of copping out and being scared that America will vote one way or another

    • Marie says:

      I think she was referring to his overall talent and his whole repertoire of performances to date-and not just his first performance of the night. Sorry-I’m not a huge J-Lo fan, but she’s right. Josh does deserve to be in the finals

      • WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:

        Oh I think u misunderstood me, Joshua was flippin fantastic. I meant when J-Lo was talking about all the talent etc she mentioned all the contestants names but added the ‘even’ before she mentioned Holly which irritated me. I mentioned after Josh’s 1st performance just to indicate to other ppl when she said that lol

    • Yeah, I caught that “even Hollie”. It’s pathetic. I’m not sure if this show ever had integrity, but it certainly no longer does between the judges blatant favoritism and the utterly broken voting system.

      • Templar says:

        All of the judges yeas and nays are following the guidelines set down by Nigel Machiavelli. He needs to make that popping sound and get his head out of his rectum. Jimmy I. may care about who wins, Nigel does not. He cares only about ratings and the $ from the partnership with AT&T. After Idol, they can all go hang as far as he’s concerned.

  2. Paula says:

    If it’s not a Joshua/Jessica finale, then this is not really a singing competition.

    • Leah says:

      Paula, you are absolutely 100% correct.

      • JASon says:

        Hollie is as good a singer as Jessica.

        • CatLyons says:

          ya jessica is so over the top sometimes. Especially tonight during and I am telling you. I prefer to listen to Hollie’s vocals more that Jessica’s.

          • ramification says:

            but I Am Telling You is a song that demands to be over the top, if she doesn’t sing it like that it would have swallowed her up whole. Jessica has shown restraint before, last week even on the softer songs, she can do both!

        • Tara says:

          Hollie is a better singer than Jessica and has far greater marketability. Let’s face facts. Hollie is beautiful, Jessica is not. People don’t go to concerts to hear a singer, they go to see and hear a singer. Hollie is mainstream, Jessica is old fogey ballads. Guys and girls relate to Hollie. Old people relate to Jessica. Ask yourself, who buys music and concert tickets?

          • yeah says:

            Not that it’s real relevant, but Jessica and Hollie are both beautiful. I personally find Jessica better looking than Hollie.

          • Marsaili says:

            I would just say they are both beautiful and leave it at that—no reason to pit one against the other.

    • TC says:

      amen to that!

    • Marsaili says:

      I disagree. they are all very talented singers—Hollie is different than Jessica, Phillip is different than all of them—but they ALL deserve to be where they are and after tonight, they all deserve to be in the final—-it’s all a popularity contest from here on out.

    • tarc says:

      If it’s not a Phillip Joshua finale, it’s not a singing competition. *ahem* :)

  3. PatD says:

    If Jessica Sanchez becomes a mega selling recording artist I will eat crow. The girl is the epitome of generic song competition. She may be the least relevant, enormously talented singer I’ve ever seen on any of these shows.

    • JC says:

      Then start eating crows because as soon as Jessica is over at Idol she will be selling a lot of albums and please do me a favor for every album jessica sells is equivalent to 1 crow you will be eating. 1,000,000 albums = 1,000,000 crows for you :)

      • joseph says:


      • Jay says:

        I highly doubt she’ll ever sell 1 million of a single album. Pat will be safe.

        • JC says:

          Jessica is the most buzzed about Idol contestant in years she has a huge international following and she has a lot of supporters from Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Colbie Caillat, Akon, Jennifer Holiday, Dax Shepherd, Kris Allen, Haley Reinhart and a lot more. I think she’ll do great :)

          • Marsaili says:

            Yeah, and Phillip has tons of famous people behind him too—they are all great, they are ALL going to do well.

          • JC says:

            They each have their own batch of celebrity supporters I am ok with that I just hate this smug for underestimating Jessica :)

          • fiona says:

            i definitely said this last week too but Jessica will definitely be popular post idol as she not only appeals to american audiences but internationally as well especially in Latino and Asian (Filipino mostly) communities. The others are great and I’m sure they’ll all do well post idol but internationally speaking someone like jessica appeals more than phillip and skylar (country music is only so popular in certain groups) and I mean that genre wise.

      • MamaLis says:

        Ya, you bet get a feather remover and some garlic salt, Pat, because I think Jessica is gonna kick some booty.

  4. MA says:

    O.M.G. Hollie is seriously cute like bunnies and puppies. I want to squeeze her face and buy her cotton candy and some balloons. But sweetheart, you have to pick FUN songs!! I know she likes the big ballads and she does a good job, but she’s just so young. Even when she loves the song and emotes, it’s just waaaaaay beyond her life experience. She’s a kid, and I wish she’d sing like a kid. That said, I still love her and think she sounded great and seemed super confident and the judges suck, so I voted for her a bunch. Come on, Hollie!!
    I liked both Phillip and Joshua’s second songs better than the firsts, though 1) oh, the cheekiness of a guy singing “it’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world” on a show that’s dominated by male winners, and 2) shhhh…sorry, but I liked Elise and Juliet’s versions better.
    I always seem to forget about Jessica, but I did like that Etta James song, and so in honor of the office pool and the hometown girl, “Woot! Go Jessica!”
    Shallow comment for the night: WTF was Randy wearing??!!

    • FreeHaley says:

      Elise sang Man’s World?? Yikes could I have totally forgotten one of her performances??
      I can’t believe that. Wait let me check the list. OK, I checked every last song she did and I don’t see it. Not top 13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6.

      • MA says:

        It was her final audition song, on that crazy indoor water island thing. It was very short, but spectacular.

        • FreeHaley says:

          Oh I will have to search youtube. Thanks.

          I skipped the first half of the season in protest after last season’s diabolical machinations. And even parts of the first live week. And much of last week. So yeah I didn’t see that whole weird indoor water thing this season.

    • noa says:

      1. :) Hollie the bunny…
      2. i was happier than i would have imagined to see the Phillip i love back. i thought i was done with his singing, but i really liked his second song. i should really start listening to Damien Rice…
      3. i totally agree about it’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world. i thought it was a great performance, but not because of his vocals (which were good, just not my taste). the band and staging were great. but Elise’s vocals were so much better in my opinion.

  5. jaypee says:

    OMG JESSICA IS SO AMAZING! will vote for her!

  6. Callum says:

    I was crying from the first word that Hollie sang of “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Most amazing performance tonight– in fact, best EVER ON IDOL. I have never felt anyone so as I have with Hollie. She is winning material and she deserves to win… P.S…. VOTE FOR HOLLIE!!!

    • WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:


      • Sandi says:

        You must be an official graduate of the American Idol school of hyperbole. Now every song we like even a little must be the greatest thing on Idol ever.

        • yeah says:

          Hollie is the little engine that could. Some people are responding to that storyline and mistaking her performances for something extraordinary which they’re just not. She is a good singer, not a great singer. Maybe in a few years she could mature into a great singer but she is just too inexperienced now.

  7. joelscorp says:

    There seems to be atypical, but justified, unanimity here. I don’t usually break out the bubbly superlatives, but Phillips’, Jessica’s, and Josh’s #2’s were probably all all-time Top 15s, if not higher. Holly just left a #2 on the stage. (In fairness, on her own it would score a C, but relative to the others it’s an F).

    I haven’t had such an positive reaction since Adam Lambert dominated. (I wasn’t watching the Fantasia season). Usually, if lucky, we’ll get one of those in a season, but just as likely we’ll get 0, like last season. This season, we got three (or 2, depending on how much overall credit your give P2 for one terrific performance).

    Holly did a decent Faithfully, but tell me — what’s not to understand about the lyrics for “Faithfully”? It’s not “Losing My Religion” for Pete’s sake! She should have just watched the video.

    Phillip’s “Volcano” was the best Phillip ever, but let’s be clear — he just doesn’t have the vocal skill of Jessica or Josh. That said, if the viewers liked him after last week’s high-pitch debacle (which even the SHOW itself pointed out, ya dumb judges!), then he could go all the way on simple white male appeal alone.

    My only other note is the mild judges’ reaction to Jessica’s #2. Sure, she got the Standing O, but it was followed up by really lame comments like “Another great performance” and whatever Jennifer said that she might have also said to Deandre at one point or another. And then from Dr. Yo we get not much more than a catch phrase. She nailed it, and deserves better.

    But I’m happy we’re all hoping for a Jess/Josh/P2 homecoming, then hopefully a Jess/Josh final, then Jessica for the win… if only by a (cutely-imperfect) nose.

    • FreeHaley says:

      “Josh. That said, if the viewers liked him after last week’s high-pitch debacle (which even the SHOW itself pointed out, ya dumb judges!),”

      Seriously, shows the joke of the judging.

    • Chris says:

      I’d prefer a Josh win-by a hair :)

    • tarc says:

      But Phillip’s style isn’t judged by a four octave range, as it’s completely unnecessary (if not distracting). It’s not fair to judge Hollie for having the growl of a kitten when she doesn’t sing like that. Or to be clearer, Christina Aguilera isn’t anywhere near as great a singer as Billie Holliday- mostly because Christina doesn’t know when to quit embellishing her song (by huge amounts) and she doesn’t have a fraction of the emotional committment of Billie. Conversely, if you judged Billie on range and loudness, you’d be right that her voice was limited – yet, she’s considered one of the greatest vocalists in history. To me, the boys took the night by a mile.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Heck, George Strait has about a five-note range and he’s had over 50 number one hits and is huge in country music. It’s not always about the vocal range and gymnastics. Strait has made a good career for himself by picking good material that suits his voice. My husband loves the guy, I find him boring. To each his own.

        • tarc says:

          Exactly. The iTunes Top 200 is filled with people that don’t have any more range than Phillip (I think Britney’s down to half a dozen notes now, and she makes millions a year). Most of the country men certianly aren’t any more rangey or versatile. You simply can’t judge singers solely based on range and tricks.

  8. brandon69 says:

    the reason why phillip never gets criticized is obvious. His unobjective fan base can carry him to victory no matter how limited he is. The judges, aware of this, cleverly choose to praise him so that the flaws of the show’s voting system are not exposed!

    • FreeHaley says:

      Yeah I think they probably see he gets Scotty votes where he has more than the rest combined and they don’t want to tarnish a winner so as with Scotty they just call him the best when he is really good and really good when he is really average or worse. He has had some really good performances but he’d showed a lot of weakness too that wasn’t called out while other people they will coat in honey and then set the fire ants loose even when they are just a hair worse than great.

      • Tiff says:

        Absolutely – don’t get me wrong, I liked P2 more than I have in a long time tonight, but you’re absolutely right. He’s not up to the par of the others, and he doesn’t get judged against them – they know he’s going to win and they don’t want to be the jerks that say he shouldn’t when America votes for him.

        I couldn’t believe the number of women/girls screaming for him. It was disgusting. I think people forget that runs are HARD, and it is WAY harder to sing a song the way Jess/Josh sing it – with every fiber of their being, and with technical prowess – than the way P2 sings his songs.

        • Marsaili says:

          runs are not hard for the people that can do them—-they are no different than breathing. You can’t compare a singer like Jessica against a singer like Phillip—it’s apples and oranges. There are plenty of awesome singers in the world that don’t do runs—personally, I think runs and hollaring are over done these days. Elise knew how to do them properly—she didn’t over do them, she inserted them exactly where they should be—Jessica runs all over the place—this is irritating to me sometimes. So what if people were screaming for Phillip—they LIKE him and who are you or anyone to assume that it’s only for his looks??? I’d be screaming too—just like I have screamed for all the people I’ve seen in concert, because I love their MUSIC.

        • Dubliner says:

          And the vast majority of people on the charts right now don’t do any runs. They’re just tricks, not core singing. I could do without them completely and not miss them.

    • jaxguy says:

      You just may be right. If the voting rules changed the results on this show the last few years would have been wildly different. They need to use the dancing with the stars voting system. They only allow I think 10 votes per person.

      • Jay says:

        I totally agree – I think they should actually just give the number of votes that there are contestants left. But, they seem to think stating a huge number of votes matters to people. No one cares.

        • JASon says:

          Even with limited votes there are still voting tragedies, How did Jermaine paul beat Juliet Simms?

          • brichb says:

            Exactly, the worst singer and worst itunes seller on the voice still somehow beat the best. They might have to go with itunes only voting.

          • tarc says:

            I have no idea. Jermaine’s voice is less pleasant than your average circular saw, and the saw is less irritating. It was beyond me how the guy was on the show, let alone won. Ugh.

    • Temperence says:

      I think you judge different styles of music differently, so to say Phillip fans are ‘unobjective’ is backwards and shortsighted.

  9. Miscellaneopolan says:

    The poll at the top is flawed. I want to vote for Joshua’s performance of “It’s a Man’s World” three times.

  10. mick says:

    Gee, can’t a person just sing a song anymore for the beauty/worth of the song. I can’t stand all the over the top carrying on. Reminds me of when Aguerila oversang the National Anthem. Just spare me all the extra crap. Sometimes I wished I’d had a muzzle to shut them up. On the side, any overproduction on the show can be blamed on the show itself. You know they push it on the contestants. I know I’m not bothering to watch next week(not that I bother to watch it all anyway.)

    • ashley says:

      this is very interesting! Jessica and Josh oversing everything. interesting point.

    • Yo' says:

      I actually think Phil did that last night – and I haven’t been a Phil fan in a while. It was all too much, with the runs and such, as you say. Good singing, but overwrought.

  11. Addie says:

    Is it just me, or did it seem that the judges reluctantly stood after Jessica’s second song? She finally got the pimp spot and instead of just commenting on her amazing performance, the judges had to bring Joshua into it and what a great night he had. What is their deal??

    • IdolFan says:

      Yep. It’s because they knew they’d just witnessed a performance that could send him home tomorrow night (especially if Hollie’s fan base goes into overdrive).

      • Cip says:

        If you are referring to Josh’s 2nd performance, then you are high or something. If logic prevails, that performance should have catulpulted him to top 3 week. It was that amazing

        • kelly says:

          It wasn’t that great, he hasn’t been standing ovation material since When a man loves a woman.

          • Marie says:

            well Kelly-I think there are a lot of people on this blog who would disagree with you

          • Marsaili says:

            Ooooohhhh Kelly, dem’s fightin’ words ;-)

          • chelle says:

            I’be mostly been indifferent to josh over the season, but I must say you are wrong. His performance tonight was perfect

  12. Cel says:

    Nicest recap I’ve ever read. This blogger is so funny.

  13. NedPepper says:

    I must say, though, that even though I was surprised how much I loved Phillip’s second song, Joshua’s Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World was absolutely incredible. And Jessica Sanchez flat out SANG the crap out of that Dreamgirls song. It was just the wrong night for Hollie to fall flat. But after looking at the whole night, all songs accounted for, Jessica won, hands down. Then Joshua. Phillip, And Hollie. It was a good run, Newt, but I don’t even think Ripley can save you now.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.
      Ripley: Yes, there are, aren’t there?
      Newt: Why do they tell little kids that?
      Ripley: Most of the time it’s true.
      Ripley: But, baby, baby, we are on American Idol and here there are Randys and JLOs and Nigels.
      Haley: Well that’s great, that’s just f’in’ great, man. Now what the f are we supposed to do? We’re in some real pretty sht now man…
      Bishop: I’m afraid I have some bad news.
      Elise,Hollie,Haley at once: Well that’s a switch.

  14. peggy says:

    Who is lily scott…the name compared to the sax player.

    • WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:

      She was on American idol season 9, she was amazing shoulda made the top 10/12/wtvr number it was that year but didn’t. Youtube her :)

  15. Mango says:

    Josua was stellar with A Man’s World.., he slayed it and my family couldn’t keep still. Gospel hands in the air, fist pumping…very emotional. He is so talented to be so young. Joshua all the way to the finals.

  16. Tim says:

    Am i the only one turned off by the overpraising, too many standing ovations for Joshua?

  17. jiji33 says:

    idology with elise?

  18. Jonathan Carter says:

    I had to listen back to Juliet’s and Joshua’s performance to make sure I got what I’m about to say right. Juliet’s performance in no way shape or form rivaled Joshua’s rendition of that song. She was screeching because of the limitation of her vocal range, and was tryin to make the performance into something it wasn’t hugging the mike stand from beginning to end.

    Back to Idol:

    1st half:
    P2 delivered in his fashion. 3rd best
    Hollie – I think this performance deserved the 2nd half criticism. It was definately not better than Phil’s. I’m guessing the judges didn’t want to make her frown after seeing the video.
    Joshua – His performance was risky, but it delivered to put him in 1st with Jess. It started off questioning, but ended giving those trademark JLo goosies.
    Jessica – her performances still have no uniqueness, she sings the songs how they were sung; however Joshua’s slip up puts her with him in 1st.

    2nd half
    P2 – great performance. not sure I would to so far as to say what the judges said, but it was definitely one of his best. If he’s going to be voted in by all the young girls, he needs to at least deliver more of these. 3rd
    Hollie – didn’t deserve the criticism for this performance, but it wasn’t a top 4 performance. Landing in last for the first and second round, she should be on the plane home, which sucks because I’m going to miss her accent. 4th
    Joshua – !!! I had shivers while the judges were giving their takes. 1st
    Jessica – Definitely a beautiful performance, but she still lacks the connection that Joshua has that sets him apart. Along with the fact she isn’t original, if You were to listen to Jennifer Hudsons version, they sound almost identical. 2nd best

  19. Jay says:

    I know that everyone wants to think that Hollie is done, but the blatant fawning over everyone else and then a kind of rudeness to her by the judges may really energize her fan base, as well as some of Skylar’s followers. Hollie is the cute kitten no one wants to see abused – people will jump to her defense.

    If the judges has just said, “It was ok for me,” I doubt voters would go into protect mode like Twitter seems to indicate they have.

    Then again, with this show, who knows what’s really happening. We have no way to really verify anything.

    • gregk says:

      I’ve voted for Hollie regardless, even with less than stellar performances. Maybe she will survive just like P2 after his sour-note stink up last week. That was inexplicable but we all know how that happened after hearing all the high-pitched screams for him today.

  20. Tammie says:

    My hubby loved the 1st PP song and I loved the 2nd; PP all the way!

  21. Jay says:

    There is a huge push in the Philippines to get people to vote by Skype, even though they’re — well, not American. Idol is supposed to block international votes, but they can’t through Skype. This whole voting method is whacked – but, they’ll never do anything about it.

    • Sheena says:

      I’m from the Philippines and I can’t vote through skype. If that is true then the Philippines has taste and will vote for the best which are Hollie and Jessica

  22. Tanyababe says:

    Allison Iraheta killed “Im gonna make you love me” no one can ever top her!!!!!!! Hollie was boring

  23. bev says:

    I like P2–but-I’m not sure if this guy is the real deal. .Volcano is a great song and a smart pick. However, tonight’s performance isn’t an original arrangement by P2. The whole thing was very close to the music video from Rice. So, Jimmy Iovine’s comment about P2 finally not copying others is odd.

    I think he got the idea for Have U ever seen the Rain from his new buddy Casey Abrams. (who did it better last yr with the bass)

  24. JASon says:

    Can I vote for Julianne Hough? She is the hottest thing to happen to vagina in the last 50 years!!!!

  25. DW says:

    The problem with “And I Am Telling You”, -and why it can be spoofed, -is that it has been ruined by talent contests; its a “Go-To” song to show off verbal gymnastics and has very little to do with the song’s meaning. Its become the equivalent of Juggling. Jessica did the song tonight for the same reason she did it in the clip when she was seven; while it was technically precise I just can’t feel much other than Jessica wants a Standing O. [I]That[/I] is the problem I have with under-age singers like Jessica and Holliie.

    I wish on one of their Results Shows “Idol” was self-aware enough to pull out a phone book and have the finalists actually sing it.

  26. Tahoe Mike says:

    Round One: Nothing to see here, not worth comment.
    Round Two:
    ~ I don’t get what anybody liked about P2’s song, it sounded indistinguishable from any other song he’s sung.
    ~Hollie, Hollie, Hollie I luv ya but that just didn’t work.
    Joshua ! Dude, I am giving you a standing O-Vote-tion. That was awesome, and I loved that he used all women musicians including Mindy Abair. Nice Touch.
    Jessica, Josh was a tough act to have to follow: Nice Work. That is all of what has been so missing in most of her performances this season..

    • gregk says:

      Also love the women horn and sax players, very sexy, especially Mindy. P2 has had a lot of performances with her, a big advantage.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Tahoe Mike – I disagree on one point – I liked Jessica’s “Steal Away”.

      • Tahoe Mike says:

        I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t think it was that special. It was probably the best of the first round. I just didn’t hear Etta James in there.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I do agree with your comment about “not hearing Etta James in there”. Can we say Jessica “made it her own”? :-)
          I actually prefer Lauren Turner’s version. Not sure if you remember it from last season, but it was marvelous.

        • tarc says:

          Jessica’s voice just doesn’t have that adult woman maturity, and she doesn’t have that dept of emotional range. Ten years (or ten boyfriends) from now, she’ll kill it. But now… they were just very promising.

          • NR says:

            Ten boyfriends from now? what are implying you don’t need to slut it up to feel the lyrics of a song

          • tarc says:

            No, I’m stating that one way or another emotional experience makes you a better singer. A young girl singing about heartbreak that she’s never had always (always) rings false. And since when does ten boyfriends make anyone a ‘slut’? What absurd judgmentalism…. rather sexist IMHO.

          • MA says:

            Ten boyfriends makes you a slut?? Ohhhhh…I’m in trouble now!
            Totally agree with you, tarc, by the way.

  27. JASon says:

    I never thought I would be rooting for the RNB contestant on IDol because I hate all modern RNB!! Only like RNB from the sixties. But here’s this kid who comes from another time!!! If he doesn’t win it’s a travesty. Personally I think the top 2 should have been joshua and Elise but of the people left the most believable and commercial are Joshua and Philip!! My only problem with Philip is he changes every song to exactly the same notes and exactly the same rythm. You can completely predict where his vocal is going to go.

  28. darcy's evil twin says:

    just watched the DVR – not much I can add to Mr. Slezak’s comments.
    Sweet Baby Jesus – Joshua’s ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” was one of the best things I have ever seen on Idol. CAN I GET A WITNESS?
    He was just incredible.
    My other favorite individual performances were P2’s “Volcano”, and for the first time this season I enjoyed Jessica. I liked her totally age-appropriate (*sarcasm) version of Etta James’ “Steal Away” (although I liked Lauren Turner’s more soulful, understated version a little better). Well, at least Jessica’s second song was “younger” – uh, or not. Nevermind.

    • Marsaili says:

      LOL, I’m with ya on that ^. I feel like I’m watching a video of a super talented 7 year old who has learned attitude and technique from watching music videos over and over again and she’s putting on a show—oh wait—-that really DID happen! Jessica surely meant every word of “And I am Telling You” I felt it, I saw the emotion in her eyes—but the song was screamy to me as was the first song. Haley got PUMMELED for pulling out the growl here and there—Jessica used it during the entire song BOTH times and got praised. UGH. But, I thought her second song was still the best of the her season—because she WAS feeling it! The song didn’t bring a tear to my eye—but her reaction to the judges did—and I saw this little girl who just sang the crud out of herself waiting to be told that it was good. I felt the judges weren’t as generous to her as they seemed to want to show they were being and their standing O seemed disingenuous. I felt bad for her.

      • tarc says:

        I don’t think Jessica has the vocal maturity or the emotioanl experience to sing either of those songs the way they are supposed to be sung. They just weren’t convincing to me at all. Amber Riley, for example, made “I’m Telling You” something heartcrushing. Jessica made it pretty, and tried, but it never got even halfway there.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Amber Riley’s version of “And I am Telling You” is my favorite version of that song, hands down.
          Granted, “Steal Away” is too old for Jessica, but if I’m completely honest with myself as to my top three performances, that one comes in third. Part of that is because I am biased and love the song. Part of it is process of elimination.

          P2’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” was good, but not great (and the person that put the surfing scenes in the background should be fired). Both of Hollie’s songs were just okay – darn, I wish the girl had picked more “fun” music! don’t even get me started on “You Raise Me Up” – I would rather walk over flaming hot glass than listen to that song. And Jessica’s “And I Am Telling You” was a good performance but again, I’ve heard better versions.
          If we include the duets I thoroughly enjoyed both performances, especially P2 and Joshua. that was just too much fun.

          • tarc says:

            It *is* really hard to separate one’s appreciation (or dislike) of the actual song from the song + singer’s performance. That’s why it’s so critical to anyone that’s looking for success to only do the very best material you can get (or write). I love “Rain” and though Phil really killed it, whereas I love “I’m Telling You” (I’m guessing that we have two dozen covers in the house), and Jessica just didn’t cut it. I’m with you on “You Lift Me Up” – my brain just tunes out on when the song develop too much of an agenda. My mom mentioned that’s she’s watching Idol and that she’s firmly convinced that the producers want Joshua for the winner. I think she’s right. I’m hoping for a two guys finale.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            you know, I liked P2’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”, but that darned surfing video in the background was just so annoying. When I think of his performance I think of that video – which is ridiculous!

          • tarc says:

            Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the performance episode until 3:30 AM, so I didn’t get to vote. I guess I didn’t even notice the background.

    • sara says:

      (re: Josh) YES YOU CAN. Ho-ly crap. I was fist-pumping, jumping out of my couch, shouting obscenities and throwing stuff off the table and onto the floor because I just didn’t know what to do with myself. And all this at 7 am! If anyone had seen me they would have put me in a strait jacket.

  29. Linda says:

    “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is one of my all-time favorite songs. And Bonnie Raitt is my all-time favorite singer. I had the immense pleasure of seeing Bonnie in concert tonight and then came home and watched my recorded Idol. Bonnie’s version tonight was INCREDIBLE. She was in tears at the end. And Hollie’s was so much more bombastic and showy and not moving at all. Too bad. Hollie killed it last week, but I think she will be going home.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yea, that was unfortunate – I think Hollie thought it was a Celine Dion song. The vocals were fine but the interpretation left a lot to be desired. I really wish she’d picked a more “fun” song. While Hollie might think it’s a beautiful song, and it IS, I think it as a little old and depressing for her. (That doesn’t mean I don’t like the song, though, and Bonnnie Raitt is wonderful).

      • tarc says:

        I’m really not sure why the ladies don’t pick songs appropriate for the age and emotional maturity. When they do, they are great. When they don’t… the results aren’t impressive.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Exactly. And if the judges were going to criticize Hollie up for her song choices they should have criticized Jessica equally for the same reason. I did like Jessica’s “Steal Away” even though it probably isn’t a song for a 16 year old. Oh well, at least she got the memo on the clothes – no hoochie-mama outfits this week, LOL.

          • tarc says:

            Jessica just slays the songs that are in her range. I’m not sure why they don’t leverage that, and keep her way, way away from the Big Mamma songs she seems to always pick. And TG no hoochie outfits, she’s too lovely for that.

        • NedPepper says:

          Hollie totally needed to do something young and current. I’m kind of baffled with her picks. And bummed. I liked her underdog status, but last night wasn’t a good night for her. Wrong songs.

    • TheBeach says:

      Wow! You went to a Bonnie Raitt concert tonight? Consider me so freakin’ jealous. She’s always been a huge favorite of mine and her new CD is great. Lucky you !

  30. darcy's evil twin says:


    Things I would like to see go away on Idol –
    1. Fog machine
    2. Gospel Choir
    3. Wind machine
    4. Gospel Choir
    5. “You Raise Me Up” – never sing that again!
    6. Gospel Choir
    7. Ridiculous stiletto heels on the girls.
    8. Gospel choir
    9. Randy Jackson in clothing that looks like it belongs on sportscasters.
    10. Did I mention I can’t STAND THE FREAKIN’ GOSPEL CHOIR???????

  31. Richard says:


  32. anne says:

    Jessica was the clear winner tonight.. Her voice was flawless and she showed the most emotion among the other contestants.. If everyone bases their votes purely on talent, she should be the first choice..Goosies from Jessica’s performance.. AMAZING!

    • tarc says:

      I’d put Jessica in third, no contest.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        I think she jockeyed for second place with Phillip. Between the two of them, Phillip’s Volcano was the best performance, but Jessica had a better average.
        And Josh wins the night. Because… gah, his second performance was brain-meltingly terrific.

  33. fiona says:

    I really hope jessica wins. I thought jessica did amazing with and i am telling you but I found the arrangement of the music soo odd throughout the whole song. probably if they used the original track or even acapella I would have been less annoyed. Phillip did really well on volcano and that song suited him personally but really that’s a 1/6 in the past 3 weeks so it’ll be annoying if he doesn’t at least make it to the bottom 2 tomorrow. Judges = face palm . they just had to hesitate on their standing o for jessica yet they’ve given joshua 15(I think) standing os and most of those did not compare to jessica’s performance tonight. I feel like idol is cradling Phillip. Yes he has kidney stones is in pain etc. etc. but why give him a lower bar than everyone where’s the fairness in that?

  34. chelle says:

    Am I alone in thinking that Jessica’s performances were a bit overworked? She definitely deserves a spot in next week’s show,but really not my favorite performances from her.

    Thank god Joshua knocked it out of the park -into another orbit really- with his second song because I agree with Michael that you raise me up was his worst.

    P2 killed Volcano which just happens to be on my top 25 all time favorite songs

    Hollie…well. err sorry

    • Dubliner says:

      No, you aren’t alone. Jessica just doesn’t do it for me, and Hollie was off. Joshua was Ok, but I hate gospel. Phil was a little uneven, but his last song was the best of the night.

    • tarc says:

      Overworked, underemotive, and just too old for her vocal maturity. Ten years from now, she’ll be frighteningly good, but now… meh.

  35. ronnelp says:

    I think skylar must stay rather than hollie and philip she has a better chance to challenge jessica and joshua. Its a race now bet the two J’s

  36. llws88 says:

    I think it’s a wrap…for…Hollie. I’ve been a fan of hers from the beginning…she has amazing vocals BUT I agree with Randy on her second performance. She should have gone for a HUGE moment…with a HUGE song…with HUGE complexity…but she didn’t. She tried to play the emotional chord which she should know the judges would pay too much attention too. Although her first song was great, I think her second song just gave her a way out of the show unfortunately.

    As for Joshua and Jessica….I thought Joshua NAILED his first performance. The restraint he displayed was amazing! I thought it was a fresh new approach to his singing…preferred it much more than his second song. As for Jessica…she shut it down with her second song….for that age…to be channeling Jennifer Holliday like that…WOW.

    Phillip….his first song…snoozer…his second song…much better.

    I was really looking forward to a Hollie, Jessica, Joshua final but I think Hollie sadly signed her own papers out with her second performance. I feel like it’ll be extremely tough for her to get the votes…even though she has a VOICE worthy of final 3. It may be the end of the road for her which is a bummer…but I hope she doesn’t give up. She has excellent vocal abilities….with the right material….the right people behind her…she can really make it big

    • Marsaili says:

      I don’t know—the way the judges were with her may just fire up her fan base again—the last time that happened, Jessica was voted off—so either girl could be in danger.

  37. jiji33 says:

    jessica was amazing but i think that jhud and lakisha in season 5 did it better (w more attitude). yet. considering she is 16…i think jessica has the potential to be really big (just needs to have a bit more sassy personality and she can take it all.

  38. Fogerty Fan says:

    Another Creedence Clearwater Revival protest song massacred like a village of innocent civilians during the Vietnam War. I shouldn’t be comparing what happened to those poor people to what amounts to nothing but I am a huge fan of CCR and admire John Fogerty’s ability to use metaphor. He is a better writer than me. PP sang Have You Ever Seen the Rain like it is a happy-go-lucky-skipping-down-the-lane ditty. And the production in the same vein with surfers and waves and LA made me want to puke. For those unitiated, and I can understand if you are young enough to not have experienced the Vietnam era, the rain is referencing the incessant rat-a-tat-tat from rifles and tanks and explosions from grenades. On a sunny day in Vietnam. The question, “I wanna know have you ever seen the rain/coming down on a sunny day?”, as John Fogerty sang it, has a sardonic quality. I’ve always admired the song for it’s pure poetry. /end rant

    I did like PP’s second song, and I wasn’t familiar with it beforehand. But he is no David Cook. I do like my grits with handsome male vocalists, so it’s not the growling that bothers me. The growls have to be musical. There is a voice there but not enough range and pleasing tone. John Fogerty has plenty grit and growl along with good range and tone, for another example. I have not liked anything PP’s done all season until Volcano. I feel bad for the guy because of his health issues and I don’t know how much that possibly contributes to his ability to perform at his peak week after week. So, please, I’m not bashing, just voicing my opinion. I’m also disappointed he didn’t get the CCR lyrics. I actually think he’s intelligent and sensitive enough to have done so. Perhaps this was a fluke for him. And for God’s sake why didn’t anyone, Iovine? Buehler? on the production team steer him correctly? Cause I actually think he could have done just as well on that song as Volcano had he understood how to convey it with the right feeling.

    My favorite, Elise, is gone and I have swung my votes to Joshua. I never liked James Brown much back in his day. I didn’t like It’s a Man’s World in the original. Joshua made me stand up. I didn’t want to stand up! But he made me! Wait, where have I heard that before? :) And I must admit I would be pleased to have a double minority win the whole shebang. Black and fill in the blanket in the closet. Although I guess Jessica would qualify as a female and (is it?) Fillipino? And Hollie as a female and English-Texan. And PP as less vocally talented as the others and suffering from kidney stones. They all qualify as double minorities! lol

    I think both Hollie and Jessica will have great careers. Who knows? Maybe PP will surprise me with a huge career. I’m just not sure he has the chops. If he can write/find original music as good as Volcano than he has a great chance, too. Same with the gals, it’s all about the right song at a certain point. But my man Joshua for the crown and mega-career. Long live the king!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m laughing at your comments about “Have you Ever Seen the Rain” – and that surfing scene in the background. My husband looked up from his paper and said, “Uh…did the producers not get the memo that Phillip wasn’t singing ‘Surf City’?” Perhaps they were thinking of the surfing scene in the movie “Apocalypse Now”? ;-) There again, it’s something that bothers us old fogeys/Fogertys.

  39. HairLikeATeddyBear says:

    O M F G – I just want to say Josh was stupendous!! I didn’t think he could pull it off… but he did. Scrapping myself off the floor now…

    • deedee says:

      *clap* *clap* *clap* I KNOW! I’m still in shock and awe. Dialidol was useless last week, I realize, but having Joshua dead last is making me very uneasy. Could he be gone tomorrow? Nooooo! I’m already dreading the post-finale blues – from the idea of not seeing him sing 2 songs (and a goofy duet) each week. It’s too much for a person to bear! *sigh* voting is over and done. The dye is cast. And I will be a nervous wreck tomorrow.

  40. CatLyons says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I feel like with ‘I am telling you’ jessica just started riffing and doing all her cool vocals too soon. If she had held back in the beginning I think the ending could have been much more effective. Jimmy told Hollie not to oversing but I think Jessica oversang that song. But it was still pretty amazing

    • Dubliner says:

      Yes, too many tricks. I’m not so sure why these kids can’t sing the melody. Then again, Christina can’t figure that out either.

  41. darcy the slutty twin says:

    It is with no doubt that I believe Phillip was singing to me and seducing me with his songs. I was all aflutter in my mom jeans. He is seriously adorable, and his gorgeous eyes pierce right through the TV screen and into my longing loins. Oh, Phillip. “Daddy let you date?” My daddy has been long dead, Phillip, but I’m sure he’ll let me date you. Our dates will be endless passionate embraces, with you singing and growling whilst our bodies intertwine.

    Oh and I thought Jessica did well too.

  42. Lois Benton says:

    A great show. Joshua knocked it out of the park with It’s a MMMan’s World–and I never thought I could like a performance of that song better than Juliet Simm’s. But I do. He’s from another planet, I think. You Raise Me Up was good, but my least favorite performance of his to date. I was disappointed in the song selection, but I understand it. His background is gospel, and, of course, the Dad/Mom symmetry was cute. The biggest surprise and disappointment, though, is reserved for Phillip. Clearly, there’s a order to the universe. He had to be in the Top 4 in order to give us Volcano. Okay. Pretty terrific. But, for heaven’s sakes, Have You Ever Seen the Rain? If EVER there was a song that was BEGGING to be slowed down and bluesed up, that was it. And what did he do? Sang the dang thing straight. Just trying my patience now. But still, Volcano. Very nice indeed. And extra credit for singing it in the first place. And Jessica: Wow. I LOVED Steal Away. Totally Loved it. I know she did a fine job on I am Telling You, but my mind and ears shut down when I hear that song on competitions, so I couldn’t really hear it. Hollie was good too, but just not as good as the others and the emotional delivery in I Can’t Make You Love Me just wasn’t in the pocket. I’d still send Phillip home tomorrow if it were me, but he’s not going anywhere. And after Volcano I can’t bemoan Wgwg Phil much.

  43. avery says:


    • sara says:

      That is sheer (and unnecessary) speculation on your part. Also a rather dispensable statement since it’s not ‘American Sexuality’ he’s trying to win. (That show was won by P2’s chest hair during his audition)
      What’s not up for speculation though? You being a complete and utter douchebag and a shocking waste of particles.

    • NedPepper says:

      Who cares? If he is, good for him. Has nothing to do with his tremendous talent.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Good grief. There must be 14 year olds on here.

    • HairLikeATeddyBear says:

      You’re disgusted just cos you think someone is gay?! Wow, never thought I’d hear it so blatantly…

    • FreeHaley says:

      Who cares if he sings well? This is a signing competition. It’s not a dating show that you are on, so what do you care?

  44. tarc says:

    I *finally* got to see the episode, and it was the boys night all the way. Phillip stole it by a hair, but only because Josh went ugly a couple times at the end of his first song. His second song was totally controlled – not a bit of screeching. I can just imagine working out in the yard or grilling while those Phil Phillips songs play in the background. Awesome. Unfortunately, Hollie picked a couple of great, great songs, and didn’t live up to them. And Jessica picked two song she’ll kill in ten years, but they were too mature for her voice. Was her “I’m Telling You” the best version for a 16 year old ever? Yup. But it doesn’t even come close to the women that have sung it. They were good tries, but her voice and her emotional range just aren’t there (for me).

    • FreeHaley says:

      Boys night when the two boys had the two worst performances of the night?? (sure their second performances were awesome and very good though)

  45. Venus says:

    Wow! I am new to this but decided there’s a first time for everything. A friend told me to watch these 4. Was so disappointed over the last 2 years, I wrote off this show. So there are 2 diva types left and 2 non-divas. Phillip sounded great and i liked Hollie. Joshua is way over the top–is he gay? Jessica also sings without enough restraint. Would like to enjoy this show again but the judges are so prejudiced.

  46. Wcmlumix says:

    I love Jessica’s voice but she otally lost it when it comes to puting a right choreography to the song. On Bohemian Rapsody performance, and on tonights performance, i just prefer to hear her voice and not watching her perform.
    Total package is Joshua, but hate it when he screams to the song and cry !

  47. Calai143 says:

    No back up,no props just her standing in the center of the stage.. AND HER MAGICAL VOICE..

  48. Girlie says:

    Is Jessica.Sanchez a good singer? Yes. Do I enjoy her performances? An astounding “NO!!!” Sorry for shouting, but she’s a fake and a fraud and I wish I’d never laid eyes on her! tm Sandy, Grease.
    p.s. Hollie will go home.

    • deedee says:

      Girlie, it’s “fake and a phoney, and I wish I’d never …”. Thanks for the memories, though. :D

  49. Yo' says:

    The contest was not engaging last night, perhaps because we are down to the last few singers, perhaps because they all do “big vocals,’ perhaps because too many singing shows are coming to climax. P2 should do well off of the night, because his second song was a refreshing island in a sea of power ballads.

    Joshua deserves to win this contest. He may not, but, either way, he has a career. And Jessica’s first vocal was all wrong for her. Listen to Jimmy, Jessica.

  50. Mary says:

    Well I wasn’t thrill with any of the first performances, to me Holly was the best but not terrific. The second performances I think Josh was the best, then I hate to say it, PP then Jessica sorry Holly it wasn’t horrible but not great. I think the judges went a little overboard on their critiques. I think Jessica is a great technical singer, and she did well on the second song, and I would not mind if she won, but to be honest I probably would not buy her music I do not care for the over singing. She does remind me of JH and I don’t buy her music either. Who knows with the right song I might change my mind. I have accepted that Hollie probably will be going tonite , but I love the tone of her voice. I am hoping she gets to make a record, I will be buying. I guess I will be voting for Josh, he is my second favorite. Good luck to all.