'American Idol' Recap: Joshua Ledet Brings His 'A' Game On Queen Night

April 26th, 2012 11:00am EDT

Josh Ledet performs on AMERICAN IDOL Wither Jimmy? If there’s one thing about this ‘Idol’ season that’s been universally great, it’s been anything involving Jimmy Iovine. He may have been getting his sealegs ready last year, but this year he can almost walk on water with his insightful criticisms, the boffo mentoring segments and his ability to make everybody better.

So why take him out? Why leave him off the show in favor of the ‘Idols’ cracking on each other? I don’t understand it at all. Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow that he was previously committed. And if not, I think the producers need to be committed for taking him off the show.

Random Thoughts Waiting for the Show To Start:

I don’t know what was more awkward, Seacrest’s bungling of the Teleprompter on the Queen introduction or the fact that he said that the winner of ‘American Idol’ would instantly become rock royalty like Queen. Y’know, one of the most legendary bands of all time. Wait. I know what the answer is. Choosing Randy Jackson to do the voiceover on the video package. He’s not exactly Jim Forbes.

Speaking of Queen being awesome and that video package. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to watch Freddie Mercury take over an entire stadium at Live Aid. Any argument over who the greatest frontman of all time ends with this clip.

If I’m not mistaken, Roger Taylor was there to wear sunglasses and say an awkward “Good luck.” Right? That’s about all I noticed.

And, of course, there’s no way I’m going to acknowledge the fact that we got subjected to a results-show medley on a performance night. Nope. No way at all.

And…On with the show!

Jessica Sanchez’s First Song: “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

Steven Said: I think Freddie Mercury would be proud to hear that.

J-Lo Said: You sounded beautiful, but when it went into the rock, I thought I’d get more.

Randy Said: I actually loved it.

The Verdict:

I wasn’t sure how Jessica would handle a rock anthem. Especially after the medley we shall not mention, and after seeing her actually perform, I’m still not quite sure.

She did well with the slower portions. The intro particularly seemed well-realized, but the actual rocking parts of the song – when the guitars came in – seemed incredibly forced and out-of-character for her. Yes, she was clearly stretching, but just because she was doesn’t mean it worked.

Instead, she was just kind of shouty, sounding like somebody trying to sing rock music than actually singing rock music. Still, I liked what she did with the more delicate portions of the song. Hits and misses in one performance.

Grade: C

Jessica Sanchez’s Second Song: “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross

Steven Said: I don’t think you can sing a song bad.

J-Lo Said: That may have been the best I’ve ever heard that song sang.

Randy Said: You are truly amazing to me.

The Verdict:

Devastating. Just devastating from the absolute beginning.

Jessica felt every inch of this song. The emotion poured out. The vocals were almost secondary because she was so beautifully connected to the song – telling the story of it with a mastery that belies her age. Unbelievable really.

Of course, there were also the vocals. And they were, as we’ve come to expect, completely flawless and so easy. There was no forcing, no thinking, just an effortless stream of R & B honey that gave us this bittersweet song.

In fact, she almost took it away from Luther.

Grade: A

Prediction: She’s gotta overcome the lead-off spot, so she’s definitely not completely safe, but that last performance should be enough to get it done.

Skylar Laine’s First Song: “The Show Must Go On” by Queen

Steven Said: That was over-the-top.

J-Lo Said: I definitely got goosies on that one.

Randy Said: That was incredible, dude.

The Verdict:

Talk about saving yourself at the end.

For the first 90 seconds or so of her performance, Skylar seemed completely lost. Almost terrified as she tried to remember the words, the notes, and even (it seemed) how to sing. No confidence. No poise. And a whole lotta bland.

Then, without any real warning whatsoever, something rose out of her at the end as she breathed fire with her vocals and suddenly found the emotional core of the song and her voice all at once.

The end was so good, that I’m almost willing to grade solely on it alone and forget the first part even happened. I always look for singers to find a moment in their performance and she definitely did here. I just can’t completely dismiss what happened at first.

Grade: B

Skylar Laine’s Second Song: “Tattoos on this Town” by Jason Aldean

Steven Said: I kind of missed the flair. You didn’t take that song where you’ve taken other songs.

J-Lo Said: By the end you took us there again.

Randy Said: Another great performance, man.

The Verdict:

I recognize the ability that Skylar shows with this performance, but I just can’t get that excited about it. It’s just a typical country performance. It’s good. There’s no doubting its quality, but there’s nothing really unique or exciting about it. Just country all the way.

Yes, I’ve never heard this song before, and I must assume she’s done nothing with it, and I’m not the biggest country fan, but I feel like she could have done something more here.

I don’t know. I don’t really feel qualified to judge this twanger.

Grade: C+

Prediction: This country crooner feels safe once more. Mostly on the end of that first performance.

Joshua Ledet’s First Song: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen

Steven Said: You have such a classic style that sound like nobody else.

J-Lo Said: Joshua’s part of the show is my favorite part of the show.

Randy Said: That was unbelievable. (Then he gave everything “4 checks” – huh?)

The Verdict:

Very smart song choice here by Joshua. It’s a rockabilly tune to be sure, but he reworked to make it sound like early Motown. Almost a ‘Rockin’ Robin’ vibe here. Straight out of the early 60’s for the 70’s soul man.

But the arrangement is only half the battle here. The vocals were typical Joshua – meaning they were phenomenal. The performance was even better. He looked every bit of a soul man taking over a stage at a pop festival. I half-expected somebody to come out and drape him in a cape halfway through he was that authentic and good.

Vintage Joshua giving a vintage performance.

Grade: A

Joshua Ledet’s Second Song: “Ready For Love” by India.Arie

Steven Said: When I hear you sing, I go off into another place.

J-Lo Said: That was transcendent.

Randy Said: I don’t know what to say anymore, I’m so speechless.

The Verdict:

Unreal. Just unreal.

Joshua has been playing the upbeat soul guy for the past few weeks and now he goes all raw and bluesy on us. And you know what? He was actually better. Better than normal. Better than Joshua. How is that possible?

Not only possible, but easy. Really easy. It’s amazing how effortless he makes pouring so much emotion into a song feel. And how simply he hits notes that nobody else can hit.

With this performance, Joshua made a strong case for best ‘Idol’ contestant ever.

Grade: A

Prediction: Please tell me he’s safe after those two gems.

Elise Testone’s First Song: “I Want it All” by Queen

Steven Said: I really enjoyed that. That was over-the-top.

J-Lo Said: The whole thing came together.

Randy Said: That style of song is so right for you.

The Verdict:

Unfortunately for Elise, she could never match the brilliance of her initial note.

Man, it was a good note. So pure. Made Elise seem like a credible rock singer.

Well, that all faded as the song wore on. She doesn’t have the passion, the fire, or the size of voice to really dominate a rock song the way she should. There are moments where it seems possible, but they’re undermined bar-after-bar of boring and a stage presence that’s wooden at its least laconic.

A capable performance, but not a believable one.

Grade: C+

Elise Testone’s Second Song: “Bold As Love” by Jimi Hendrix

Steven Said: You gotta do songs that people know.

J-Lo Said: You slayed that song so hard that it didn’t matter.

Randy Said: It wasn’t the right song for this time in the competition.

The Verdict:

I have no idea why somebody would pick a Jimi Hendrix song to sing on ‘American Idol’. Jimi Hendrix may as well not have been singing. It was all his guitar. What’s the point?

Elise showed why it’s a bad decision here as she just sort of swirled her vocal around the three blues notes Jimi Hendrix ever sang. Not having the transcendent guitar god out there just made this all seem boring, pretentious, self-indulgent and forced.

And it all started with an insane song choice.

Grade: D

Prediction: I think Elise may finally be done after this.

Phillip Phillips’ First Song: “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen

Steven Said: I love watching you sing. I love watching you run out of breath.

J-Lo Said: What I love about you is that I feel like we get different flavors.

Randy Said: I liked it. Did I love it? No.

The Verdict:

Wow. So that was terrible.

I mean did Phillip ever come anywhere above drunk guy at the end of the bar singing along to the jukebox with this performance? I don’t think so. I half expected him to pass out in a puddle of his own sick afterwards while the bartender tried to wipe him up with a slop rag.

At no point did he connect with the song. At no point did he seem like a real performer. At no point did he sound particularly good. Just a sing-a-long.

Grade: D-

Phillip Phillips’ Second Song: “The Stone” by Dave Matthews Band

Steven Said: Very entertaining. Very off-the-wall.

J-Lo Said: It was a pretty song and a little bit obscure and too artsy.

Randy Said: Phil Phillips will always be Phil Phillips.

The Verdict:

Phillip Phillips singing a Dave Matthews song. Congratulations.

Grade: C

Prediction: He’s always so safe, but this may have been his most questionable night.

Hollie Cavanagh’s First Song: “Save Me” by Queen

Steven Said: I think you did a really good job with it.

J-Lo Said: I really felt like you got emotional in the middle, but it went off a little bit. I want to see you enjoy it more.

Randy Said: I thought this was solid for you, but you don’t have to pull back as much. You could take more chances.

The Verdict:

So I’ve never heard this song before. After that performance, I’m willing to believe this is a Hollie Cavanagh record. It was right in her wheelhouse and she really rocked it out.

Say what you will about the Hollie-bot, but her voice is undeniable. Here she sounded like an adult-contempo siren ready for the radio. That song would fit perfect on any soft rock station, and I swear I meant that as a compliment.

Yes, it wasn’t perfect – she hit one particularly raw note near the end – but this definitely showed how much of a pro Hollie can be.

Grade: B

Hollie Cavanagh’s Second Song: “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

Steven Said: It doesn’t matter what kinda accent you got, you sing a song like it’s going out of style.

J-Lo Said: That was stepping it up. It was perfect.

Randy Said: That’s the Hollie Cavanagh that we love.

The Verdict:

This is a bad song choice for Hollie for one simple reason: It’s actually a very emotional song.

This sort of unmasked all of Hollie’s faults from the word go. She’s just too technical here. For a song begging for a connection, Hollie could not have been more distant. She just singing notes again here. Notes that form words, but there’s no meaning behind it.

Again, she sounds great. She always sounds great, but the Hollie-bot was her usual emotionless self here.

Grade: C+

Prediction: Big time raves to close the show. I think she’s safe.

Final Thoughts:

To me, this is the easiest prediction ever: Elise is going home. Elise is going home. Elise is going home! I don’t think there’s anything else worth writing.

What did everybody else think of last night’s show?

Follow me on Twitter: @Paynehumor

Related: American Idol, Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanagh, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Sanchez, Jimmy Iovine, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest, Skylar Laine, Steven Tyler, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality

© 2012

Photo Credits: Michael Becker / FOX

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