(Update) Fans reward Jessica Sanchez for display of spunk: And now they’re four


Who would have thought a BeeGees song could throw off so much gravitas?

Joshua Ledet owns the night

In the hands of Joshua Ledet, “To Love Somebody” became a true-blue R&B lament, every line throbbing with meaning.

The three American Idol judges have been too indulgent with Ledet these past weeks, often mistaking bravado for brilliance. On Top 5 performance night, however, Ledet earned every cheer, every clap in that hall — and in the homes of millions around the world. He paced the song just right, the slow simmer heating up into that wail of yearning.
Ledet’s first song was loud. He was energetic. But it kinda flatlined. Maybe because it was something Ledet could warble in his sleep. Maybe because Ledet’s the kind of guy who needs to do something crazy to stand out.
Nobody came close to him tonight, although Fil-Mex-American talent Jessica Sanchez also blazed a trail of magic with “You Are So Beautiful.”
Sanchez gave Idol fans the full drama of Joe Cocker’s hymn. Waif-like Sanchez, seated on steps, with fog all around her, making every note and word matter.
It was a big risk. Every gal or guy out there dreams of being serenaded with this song. God knows it’s been made a caricature in a million videoke joints around the globe — the growls, the unforgettable ending. Sanchez wisely eschewed Cocker’s trademark and gave us a peek into the depths that lurk behind that gamine charm.
The restraint did not deprive any line of its beauty; it highlighted Sanchez’s crystal tones and built up the story line of a shy young woman falling into the joys and fears of romance. 
Sanchez also gave a spunky “Proud Mary” with just the right touch of kitsch. Randy Jackson was wrong to demand fealty to Tina Turner. Sanchez as a hot mama is just plain ridiculous. In that slinky sheath, shimmying and prancing around like a frisky colt, Sanchez — full of fire and awkward grace, and allowing some rawness into her voice — paid truth to every young woman stepping out into a brave, new world. Steve Tyler skirted close to unforgiveable creepiness with his quip, “nothing beats experience than a 16 year old”, but you get what that aging lecher means.
AHA! TAKE THAT, RANDY. Not only did Jessica survive to make it to the Top 4 round. She was SAFE.
I’m not sure what the judges are up to in overpraising a rather mundane cover of “River Deep Mountain High” by Hollie Cavanagh. Did Jackson notice that there wasn’t a hint of Turner in there? It was more like Pia Toscano after, maybe, three glasses of wine. A little more spark, certainly better movements and a gorgeous dress… but forget Tina Turner. Kids and moms who’ve followed Glee will compare Cavanagh with Mercedes and Santana and yawn.
Cavanagh did much better with her second song, “Bleeding Love”, giving at least one verse the intimate hues demanded by guest mentor, the hilariously profane Little Steven. But she soon reverted to loud and louder, killing every nuance Leona Lewis poured into that song. It is true she is more comfortable now but I can only make sense of the outpouring of praise on two levels: Cavanagh’s baseline has been low that every improvement counts as miraculous, or the judges remember that overkill almost killed Sanchez.  
(Should I give them the benefit of the doubt? After all, Hollie did land in the bottom 2.)

The girl to beat Sanchez remains Skylar Laine. She was suitably tacky — so bad it was great — in Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”, and delivered a startingly mature interpretation. So much fire in Laine, so much talent in phrasing and, bless her, so much real woman, jiggling flesh and all. 
If anything, taking on the Dustry Springfield warhorse, “Say You Love Me”, shows that Laine as the “hungriest” of the remaining five Idol contestants. It’s an even bigger risk than Cocker’s anthem; the song verges on maudlin. Laine sings it like a genuine country music heroine, like Dolly Parton — a gal  with the guts to fight for her man (or woman).

And then there was Phillip Phillips, who once more shows off his brand of reckless madness. He’s ruthless, Phillip is. He will steal a great song — always with drop dead lyrics like The Box Top’s “The Letter” — and make it sound like nothing but a song he was meant to do. But he was better in the Zombies’ “Time of the Season”, which is devilishly difficult to sing, crooning like he was in his own world, seemingly oblivious to that battalion of panting female fans. 
Pretty much a great show tonight. I’m sure Phillip remains safe. Joshua had one so-so song and one unforgettable performance. Skylar and Jessica — tough choice, apples and oranges, but Jessica’s last song gives her an edge. And if there is any justice in the world, Hollie goes home tomorrow. IF. 
And now for the sad news…. Skylar, America? Aw, you prefer a wind-up doll to a real woman with narrative skills and a voice so distinctive you’d recognize it in a crowded stadium? Hmmm, maybe this bodes well…. a lil while ago, another would-be diva, Melanie Amaro, won the $5-million top prize in Simon Cowell’s the X Factor. 
Much as I like Phillip, if he doesn’t bring back some real moxie into his performances… I’ll be praying people pay Joshua the respect he deserves and make him the last guy standing.

4 thoughts on “(Update) Fans reward Jessica Sanchez for display of spunk: And now they’re four

  1. You mentioned it before re’ Hollie getting a HUGE block of votes from SOMEwhere – LOL Don’t you know WHERE? I’ll enlighten you shall I? Since Hollie is English by nationality? She’s got basically the Whole of England (Especially Liverpool her Home City & her favourite team) voting for her massively Every Time she’s on & over & over etc – And yes we Are all doing it by telephone & yes it IS making her safe I think as Every Time she Looks like being gone or eliminated via judges, public opinion or stupidly Always being thrown in the bottom 2/3? We – her fans (& family – most of whom live here bar her immediate relatives I think) across the pond? Just make more & more calls & save her & that on top of most of the wonderful state of Texas which is now her home & her current home city of Mckinney All voting for her as well? Is More than enough to make the difference & save her week in, week out but to summarise? Yes, it makes a difference when you’ve got a whole NATION voting for you week in, week out & that? Is something the others Don’t have on their side which in the end? Might just tip the balance to Hollie & if it does? She’ll more than deserve it…………..

    Rightly so to if you ask me – She’s the Best Pure singing VOICE by Far left in the competition & might just Win it all given half a chance – Don’t know What This blog has against her in truth but calling Hollie of all women? A “wooden/robotlike” performer? Is as Far from the truth as you can Get – She’s a natural, soulful beautiful SINGER to the bone with a voice touched by the angels & that? Will be the difference in the end – Yes she has an unfair advantage of sorts with her entire NATION voting for her but in the end? She’s done More than enough, cried & been hurt enough & overcome enough obstacles? To More than deserve it & now? She might just win it All & end up the first Non-American to win AI as well as the first woman in 5 seasons & if so? it would be fully deserved. Again – If Hollie does manage to outlast them all & win AI? It’s because of what she Is & that? Is The best Pure singer left in the programme by far…………..

    Good luck Holliepops Miss; Not long left now – Doing Liverpool (City & Club) & Texas proud girl!!! Go on & Win it girl – We all KNOW you can here!!! YNWA.

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      • That’s alright my friend – BTW Inday? I don’t mean to bother anyone on your end of the Pond BTW is just how I see it is all. I actually Do think Hollie is getting HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of EXTRA votes from the UK due to her being English week in, week out & that? often? when It seems like the Judges WILL get rid of her & so will the public but yet then? She again has those extra votes & THAT I think? Is saving her.

        I also think while she might not be the best performer? She’s got the best PURE Singing voice of those left in the competition & IF she wins it as she now well might? I’m not sure of the stats’ HAS any Non-Americans won AI before? And when was the last woman to win it? A while back if my memory is correct. I meant the rest of what I said as well – REALLY like her voice & think she’s a TRULY beautiful singer…………..

        I notice you said ‘alternate’ re’ my viewpoint? Is it a RARE one then that few your end would agree with? Just out of interest? What do you think of what I said? Agree with or disagree with any of it my friend? I’m always interested in any feedback to what I say.

        OK Speak soon again hopefully

        Simon

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      • Sorry for the delayed response. I’ll have to disagree. She has a good voice, it’s not the best pure singing voice. She gets off pitch at times. Will she win? I don’t know… I don’t approve of Filipinos from this part of the seas voting for AMERICAN Idol but if you say people in UK vote, too, oh, well. (I don’t, by the way. Just doesn’t seem right to me.) By the way, my past blogs have contained praise for Hollie and criticism of Jessica. I take it a performance at a time. I don’t evaluate on the basis of ethnicity or color or whatever, no matter if compatriots fret…. just on performance…. I can see why Hollie has a fan base and I’m sure they’re all colors, too! Cheers!

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