American Idol Top 4 Results Recap: Always Gonna Be an Uphill Battle [Updated]

phillip phillips hollie cavanagh idolBody swapping came a week early to Fox. While next Tuesday’s Glee will find the fictional kids of William McKinley High waking up inside each other’s frames, tonight’s American Idol‘s Top 4 results-show telecast brought a number of surprising fliperoos, too.

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Joshua Ledet admitted to channeling his inner Phillip Phillips after Ryan Seacrest asked him what language he was speaking during his astonishing Wednesday-night cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Hollie Cavanagh got a taste of what it was like to be Jennifer Lopez when she admitted how “awkward” it felt to just mouth the words and not actually sing while filming the weekly Ford Music Video Indentured Servitude Interlude. And Randy Jackson got to play make-believe rock star by walking down a staged “red carpet” at the top of the show that was filled with dozens of young fans who pretended to be excited to see him.

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Before we get to results, though, a few thoughts on the telecast:

* I can guarantee I’ll still get choked up when Idol is in Season 27 (you know this will happen!) and they play hometown-visit footage featuring Elliott Yamin’s lovely mom.

* That group performance of “California Dreamin'” just reminded me how much Joshua excels when he’s pushed outside his comfort zone. Hopefully Jimmy or one of the judges gives him an out-of-left field choice for Top 3 week. (Randy, if you’re reading this, choose Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”! Oh, who am I kidding? Randy doesn’t read!)

* I’m always excited to hear new David Cook music, but “The Last Song I’ll Write for You” might be the hookiest single he’s released in the history of ever. I’ve given up trying to predict what’ll be a hit in a world that’s sent J.Lo’s “Dance Again” into the Billboard Top 20, but if there’s any justice in the world, this is the track that will put the Season 7 champ back on radio where he belongs.

* Speaking of Jenny from the Block, I’m 78 percent certain she gave the exact same performance back in Season 10, except for this time she changed the “words” to the chorus, wore a surprisingly atrocious midnight-blue sequined bathing suit/black tights combo, and managed to work in an extended dance sequence featuring her new boyfriend, Smart Casper. That aside, though, I appreciated the Enough star’s honesty when — responding to Jimmy Iovine’s complaint that Jessica relies too much on “tricks” like growling — J.Lo self-deprecatingly remarked, “The really good singing trick? I wish I could use that trick!”

* Joshua now has two strikes when it comes to unsettling remarks about J.Lo. First, there was that business of him staring at her abs a couple weeks back, and tonight we had him discussing how it was “really hot” that she critiqued him partly in Spanish on Wednesday. Here’s some Spanish-language feedback for ya, Mr. Ledet: NO ME GUSTA!

* And as for Jimmy Iovine’s “spontaneous” reactions to Wendesday’s performances, I have a few thoughts: I’m not sure how Phillip setting down his guitar for this week’s CCR cover was such a huge step in his journey to artistic self-discovery, but then again, I’m not privy to Season 11 voting tallies, am I? Also: I’m glad to hear Jimmy’s overall post-Idol plan for Joshua leans more toward “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and not so much in the direction of “You Raise Me Up.”

Anyhow, let’s talk results! For those of you who missed it, there was no Bottom 2, only Ryan Seacrest reviewing each contestant’s Wednesday performances — one at a time — then making ’em wait till the last 10 minutes of the show to make the big announcement. So let’s cue dramatic music, have Keiran dim the lights, and discuss who’s headed to next week’s hometown visit:

Sent Back to Safety First
Jessica Sanchez

Sent Back to Safety Second
Joshua Ledet

Sent Back to Safety Third
Phillip Phillips

Hollie Cavanagh

Was Hollie’s ouster a big surprise? Not really. After all, as the Season 11 dark horse, she couldn’t afford the kind of middling showing she delivered on Wednesday. But that didn’t make her emotional exit performance to “The Climb” — way to bring it full circle from that Season 10 audition, girl! — any less stirring. The kid gave it a good run, and she’ll be missed.

What did you think of Top 4 results? Did the right person go home? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!