Season 11 of American Idol is drawing to a close. Philip Lim sees the frontrunners who are almost neck and neck
IT was an elimination waiting to happen since three weeks ago. Hollie Cavanagh has stayed the course, climbed to her highest octave and kept up with the best.
Then when it came down to Top Three, it wasn’t a hard choice for the voters. They picked Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips and dropped her.
Still, being in fourth place is nothing to cry about. Singers better than Hollie have left the competition much earlier than her.
Now it’s a race to the finishing line as the remaining trio battle for the last two places next week. Most are hoping and betting that it would be between Joshua and Jessica. However, if the teenaged girls in the United States have their say, Phillip is going to rock the Idol boat, and it won’t be a gentle sway.
Last week’s most impressive contestant has to be Jessica. She went with Steal Away by Jimmy Hughes. I wasn’t familiar with that but she left quite an impression.
It was her second number in round two that left practically everybody, especially the judges, stunned for more than a few seconds.
I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, a song made famous in the movie Dreamgirls, showed millions across the United States and the rest of the world why this 16-year-old girl is a vocal genius.
For the first time in Season 11, I had goosebumps. Jessica’s superb vocals simply left the judges scrambling for superlatives. Of course, they have been praising her sky high in recent weeks.
After the standing ovation by the judges, Randy pulled himself together and commented: “That is one of the hardest songs to sing. You are phenomenal.”
Steven Tyler, usually a man of many words, could only utter: “Another winning performance. Over the top.”
At this stage of the competition when there are only three contestants left, as far as I am concerned, Jessica is the true champion.
It really doesn’t matter who eventually wears the crown. Jessica has won Season 11 by a couple of furlongs, as they say at the race tracks.
The person who comes closest to upsetting Jessica in terms of performance is Joshua Ledet. Some viewers may even disagree with my verdict.
Joshua showed that he’s no pushover. After all it was a week when the contestants had to sing two songs. One from the category of California Dreamin’ and the other, a song which the contestants wish they had written.
His first number was You Raise Me Up. Josh Groban made that song his own and nobody else has claimed it since. But Joshua gave it his best shot and found himself just slightly a notch below Josh. Like all of Josh’s fans, I found myself hearing his voice even when Joshua was performing. You Raise Me Up has a certain piety that some of us find in abundance on Sunday mornings.
When I heard that Joshua’s second song was It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World by James Brown, I couldn’t helping telling myself, “this is going to be interesting”.
As it turned out, it was the performance of Joshua’s life. It was so good that the three judges jumped up on their feet and applauded when he finished.
Truly, it was such an unforgettable performance that J. Lo had to use some Spanish words to describe her feelings. Steven Tyler exclaimed: “Neither a man nor a woman has ever sang that good with that much compassion on this show ever. I can go home right now. I never heard anything like that in my life.”
I agree wholeheartedly with the judges. If it wasn’t the zenith of Joshua’s moments in Season 11, it came very close. If James Brown, the Godfather Of Soul, was still alive, he would have stood up and applauded too.
Phillip Phillips really needs to step it up a notch or two if he wants to remain in the competition. After nearly 70 million votes were counted, Phillip found himself in the bottom two for the first time.
Because of his massive fan base, he managed to nudge Hollie off the stage. If Phillip continues to “take it easy” as he always does, he may just find himself at No. 3 this season.
His two songs, Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and Volcano (Damien Rice) were slightly above average. But compared with Joshua and Jessica, Phillip was a poor third.
Hollie can take comfort in the fact that she has done well. She sang Faithfully in round one and I Can’t Make You Love Me in round two.
Both performances were good but not unforgettable. The judges were less than complimentary about her second performance, which I concur with reluctantly. I was sad that Hollie was eliminated but I had seen it coming two weeks ago.
This week’s show will decide the finalists. I am betting on Jessica and Joshua but life is strange. Very often you do not get what you wish for. Let’s hope I get lucky this season.
American Idol is aired on Star World (Astro Channel 711) & Star World HD (Astro Channel 722) every Thursday and Friday at 6pm (live) with repeats at 8pm.