COMMENTARY | Nearly 60 million votes came in for the Top 5 talents taking to the “American Idol” stage this week, and it’s no wonder, considering the comeback moments and clout factor strong enough to bring Coldplay to the trademark oval. The judges got the memo that shimmer was their wardrobe cue, but there was much more shudder than shimmer for the waiting singers. They all have careers in waiting now, but knowing that doesn’t quench that thirst for the title, and the voice of the public is the loudest one now.
Joshua Ledet once more was the singer far beyond his years on Wednesday, even being called “the best singer in 50 years” by Jennifer Lopez, who gave a verbal finger shaking to Jimmy Iovine to handle the 20-year-old with the care he deserved in cutting that first album. That kind of praise put him to immediate safety, confirmed by Ryan Seacrest, who asked Ledet what kind of record he would like to make. Joshua said he wanted to make music that “had a message every time” instead of being something just for the radio. His music with a message is sure to be heard every time a radio is turned on very soon.
British mega-band Coldplay came to the stage to perform “Paradise” to an audience nearly as ecstatic as those on their Mylo Xyloto Tour, bracelets glowing in unison. Leave it to Jimmy Iovine to be the perfect buzz killer of the positive mood, with credible and even kind summations of Hollie Cavanagh’s night, but digging into Philip Phillips, despite his respect for his playing through health issues. “Harsh, Jimmy, harsh,” admonished Seacrest, but the vote absolved Phillips yet again, as he went to safety, and Hollie Cavanagh was first of the bottom two.
Carrie Underwood was a vision in her white dress, but the 2005 Idol revved all the vavoom of her famous vocal cords in her performance of her title track, “Blown Away,” from her album releasing this week. Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez were the twosome under the next trial, and Jimmy hardly had an unkind word for either, except to say shame on the stylist for making 16-year-old Jessica too sexy with “Proud Mary,” even prompting the producer to admit he was wrong, and that Skylar needed another “big song” moment. The tally put Skylar next to her girl buddy, Hollie, for the bottom two, as Jessica went to that safe sofa. Both these little ladies have gotten well acquainted with being put in the bottom, but all agreed that Skylar brought fearlessness and an exceptional stage savvy week in and week out, while Hollie pulled herself by the bootstraps with comeback performances just this week.
Coldplay came back a last time to do “Waterfall,” but it was nearly waterworks between Skylar and Hollie, standing with intertwined arms. Ryan Seacrest made the final announcement that Skylar would be sent on, undoubtedly to a long run of a career. In the most touching embrace seen on “Idol,” the besties comforted each other, Skylar’s whisper to Hollie to “rock it” still audible. She held back tears, and got her rocking country girl back, reprising her “Gunpowder and Lead” performance with singular passion. Only her fingers will be needed for her next move, signing on the dotted line as soon as she finishes wowing crowds on the Idol summer tour.
Who is the next one America loves most? “American Idol” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.