'American Idol' cuts Joshua Ledet, sets Phillip Phillips vs. Jessica Sanchez finale
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/18/2012
American Idol eliminated Joshua Ledet and determined its Final 2 eleventh-season finalists during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
Ledet, a 19-year-old from Westlake, LA, became the eleventh finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after he received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show. The performance show featured the Top 3 finalists each performing three songs -- one of the judges' choosing, one of their own choosing and one selected for them by Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine.
"American Idol means everything to me. This journey has taken me to levels I never thought I would go. Before Idol, I never experienced something this big. Coming this far, I'm definitely proud of myself," Ledet said following her ouster.
Ledet -- who was one of the 10 finalists voted into the season's Top 13 by home viewers -- had received raving reviews from Idol judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson following all three of his performances during Wednesday's performance show, leaving the judges to believe he'd be a tough one to beat. Ledet proved he could be consistent throughout the entire competition, and the judges along with Iovine, simply had nothing negative or critical to say.
Ledet first took to the stage Wednesday night and performed "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Eta James, which was the song Lopez, Jackson and Tyler had thoughtfully picked out for him.
"Joshua, this is another Joshua moment. It was so surreal to hear somebody sing those old songs and deliver them and to hear the audience scream in that just right spot. It's like a dream come true for you right? Out of 70,000, there's only one 'American Idol,' and you sang like that tonight," Tyler told him.
"One of the reasons we struggled [to pick a song] for you, was we were like, 'Do we give you something more modern? Do we give you something that's more today?' You are such a throwback and I love that about you. You always bring down the house with those numbers and we just fed you what we knew you'd feed back to us, and you did that. You brought down the house again," Lopez explained.
"You're such a classical stylist. This fits so well like a glove, that hopefully -- what I'm hoping for the future is that you can take what you do, what you guys see him do on the stage -- and bring that into modern times. Because definitely R&B in the modern sense needs a little lift... That was an amazing performance, Josh. Congrats dog, congrats," Jackson said.
Ledet then decided to sing "Imagine" by John Lennon because he said the song had touched him and reached him on a personal level when he heard it while driving in the car one day with Phillips and Sanchez.
"It was beautiful. Another, 'Thank you God moment' with you man. I just can't believe it. I sit here and revel over the fact I've sat here and watched you learn how to sing for each one of these songs, and every time you take it over the top, because you're that good. That was so fine, damn!" Tyler explained.
"It was a pull back and controlled performance for you, which to me, is the hardest thing for you to do -- especially when you're feeling the words in that way. It's almost like you're preaching when you're singing and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. We have three really different voices in this finale and all of them are beautiful in their own way, really beautiful, and you have an incredible instrument," Lopez told him.
"But the performance quality, the performance you bring into it -- the way you're willing to dig deep into the words and the meaning through the music is what makes you very special. That takes courage. That takes vulnerability. It takes courage and it takes a different kind of strength. It's just a beautiful thing to watch. I really love watching you."
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"Everything you sing should touch you and it should mean something to you, because I think what happens today is that we see a lot people sing a lot of things that they have no attachment to. It just becomes another song. But Jennifer and Steven are right. What you do is you dig deep into the lyrics, into the meaning and the performance. I think that's why every time you sing, people feel what you do. That was another stellar performance. I love the way you held back with that but still gave us a little Joshua in the end. Brilliant dude, brilliant!" Jackson added.
Ledet's final performance of the night of "No Drama" by Mary J. Blige ultimately blew the judges away.
"At this point, it doesn't matter what you do, what you sing. You have laid everything on this stage that there is to lay. People should just stand up and vote for you anywhere. Let me just tell you, the natural performer that you are, you just deliver every song... That's what being's a great artist's about -- an amazing singer, an amazing performer and having that true star potential. Joshua Ledet has got it!" Jackson exclaimed.
"You have this perfect marriage of knowing exactly what you're doing and letting completely go at the same time. It's just this magic that happens with it... It feels so natural... You're taking us to church! It's going to get gospel and then it's going to get crazy. That's the thing that's exciting about you as a performer to watch. It's the spontaneity. You don't know what's going to happen but you know it's going to be out of this world," Lopez said.
"That was beautiful. I'm telling you, I watched you and I felt the last 40 years of the music business. It was over the top, Josh. Over the top, over the top," Tyler added.
Nearly 90 million home-viewer votes -- 20 million more than last week's total -- were cast following Wednesday night's performance show, according toAmerican Idol host Ryan Seacrest.