Thursday, May 17, 2012

'American Idol' Finale: Phillip Phillips Vs. Jessica Sanchez

Joshua Ledet just misses out on the big showdown.
By Adam Graham

Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips on "American Idol"
Photo: Michael Becker/ Fox

The "American Idol" finale is set, and Joshua Ledet didn't get an invite.

Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez will compete in next week's season finale after Ledet was voted off the show Thursday (May 17). Ledet, the 20-year-old from Westlake, Louisiana, who was continually praised as one of the best contestants to ever grace the "Idol" stage, received the lowest number of votes from the 90 million votes cast, according to "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest.

Ledet set a record for standing ovations from the judges this season on "Idol"; barely a week went by when he didn't get the judges on their feet after one of his stellar performances. Ledet performed James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" at the close of the show Thursday, repeating a song that became one of his signature moments.

Show mentor Jimmy Iovine took partial blame for Ledet's performance Wednesday, saying by choosing Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama," he didn't give him a song with enough of a melody to captivate the audience and generate votes. "There was something missing, and I know it was the material. In fairness, I gave him a song that didn't have enough melody. Joshua needs melody, [and] I take 100 percent responsibility for that," Iovine said.

Still, he thought Ledet deserved to compete for the "Idol" crown next week. "Does Joshua belong in this finale? 100 percent, he should be in anyone's finale," he said.

Ledet's elimination gives Sanchez a shot at being the first female "Idol" winner since Jordin Sparks back in season six. At the onset of the season, it was said to be the women's year on "Idol," and four of the top six contestants were female. But three women were picked off in a row — Elise Testone, then Skylar Laine, then Hollie Cavanagh — threatening the show's girl-power contingent. Now Sanchez is carrying the torch for the ladies.

Iovine, in summing up Wednesday's performances, also blamed himself for picking a bad song for Sanchez, but said Phillips won the night with his version of Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight." "Hands down, it was the best performance he's done in the entire contest," he said, calling it "flawless." (In fairness, Iovine also said Phillips' version of Matchbox Twenty's "Disease" was "a total snooze-fest."

Regarding Sanchez, Iovine said, "She has to have the most magical moment she's had so far" in order to win it all. "If she gets in the finale," he said, "It's about the songs."

Before Ledet's elimination, Jackson said the final contestants were "three of the best we've ever had" and said all three have "big careers" ahead of them.

Also on Thursday's show, Adam Lambert dropped by to perform "Never Close Our Eyes," and Lisa Marie Presley (huh?) performed her new single "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet."

What did you think of "Idol" on Thursday? Did the right contestants make the finale? Let us know in the comments!

Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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