He brought the “American Idol” judges to their feet, but Joshua Ledet couldn’t win over fans and was sent home from the top-rated TV talent show on Thursday, leaving Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips to battle for the crown on next week’s finale.
The elimination of Ledet — through audience voting and not by the judges — sets up a final showdown between Sanchez and Phillips to determine who will be named the next “American Idol”, a distinction that has belonged to hitmakers such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, among others.
Sanchez has impressed the judges from the beginning of the current season with her technical mastery of music, despite being the youngest contestant at age 16. Singer-songwriter Phillips has won plaudits for bringing his own distinctive style of guitar playing music to other artists’ songs.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe on Friday called both finalists “very quiet people” off stage, but said they were very focused on winning the title and a guaranteed recording contract.
He said Sanchez, who was saved from elimination by the judges in April after getting the fewest votes from the public, “needs a song that is going to have a magic moment, that she hits that note, that she grabs us.”
Phillips, who has an army of young female fans, should leave aside the mid-tempo, lesser known numbers he favours for next week’s three-song performance finale in Los Angeles. “He has got to go out there and do something that grabs that audience and makes them stand up and pick up a telephone at home and vote for him. I think he needs to find a song that people know,” Lythgoe said.
The finale will consist of a two-hour performance episode on Tuesday, May 22, followed by a results episode on Wednesday, May 23. The winner will receive a recording contract.
Now in its 11th season, “Idol” continues to be the most-watched reality show in the United States. Audiences vote for their favorite performers by phone and text message each week as contestants are challenged by a variety of musical styles.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2012.