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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, May 16 – Three Very Different Singers

Joshua now gets non-stool chat with Ryan. He talks about being back home, saying the most memorable thing has to be the arena that was sold out, as he doesn’t remember it ever being like that before. He saw a lot of people he knew and didn’t know. The state of Louisiana sent the show some beads, boas and glasses. Ryan wears the beads, Jennifer the boa, and Randy and Steven the glasses.

It’s a clip of Joshua heading home in a private jet, and he admits he’s freaking out right now. He can’t wait to see his daddy, and jumps onto the tarmac and hugs his whole family. The reaction from the locals makes him feel like he’s Barack Obama. Joshua attends a crawfish boil and also goes to church before he rides in the parade along with his niece. He sings It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World inside that packed arena.

For his own choice, Joshua is singing Imagine. It’s another song that gets overdone on Idol, and isn’t often done better than Jennifer Hudson and David Archuletta. It turns out he went to Phillip Phillips’ school to learn a little about changing the melody. It’s okay, as we didn’t want the same thing we’ve already heard done so well. It makes it more uniquely his.

Steven calls it beautiful and another “Thank you God moment.” He enjoys watching Joshua learn how to use his voice for each one of these songs. Every time he takes it over the top because he is that good. “You are so fine. Damn!” Jennifer knows this was a pulled-back performance for Joshua, which for her is the hardest thing to do, as it’s almost like preaching when you’re feeling the words. There are three different voices in the finale, and all of them are beautiful in a certain way. But the way he’s willing to dig deep into the lyrics is what makes him special. It takes vulnerability, courage, and strength.

Randy asks Joshua why he chose this particular song. He explains he’s been doing a lot of songs like this, and he was riding in the car with Phillip and Jessica on the way to rehearsal and heard the song and felt it had a strong message. It wasn’t a thing about something that he wanted to sing, but about delivering the message. Randy wants him to carry that through his career. Everything you sing should mean something to you, and too many people today sing something without knowing what it means. Like all the younger singers on the show this year? That’s why he thinks people feel every time Joshua sings. Steven loved that he pulled back, but still gave us a little bit of Josh at the end.

Jessica gets her chance at non-stool chat with Ryan. She thought it seemed kind of weird to see all those people in Chula Vista, California, when she went home. She was home-schooled and was the dork without a lot of friends. Now guys were chasing her car. She got some numbers too, but Ryan thinks she’s too busy for phone calls just yet.

Since it’s just a quick jump from L.A., Jessica gets helicoptered home. They land in the baseball park she’ll be performing in later that night. It’s also the park she auditioned in. She hits a radio station, then comes out onstage that night. The next day she heads to Chula Vista for Jessica Sanchez Day and to see her family and dog. She tells her brothers she’s going to try and win it for them. They get to ride in the parade next to her and ride in the limo. Jessica dedicates Dance With My Father to her dad and all the other sailors.

Tonight, Jessica is singing I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, singing it obviously in front of Steven. She does a bang up job on it, and Steven, who always loves her voice so much anyway, is just beaming to hear her sing his song. Yet, it’s another song that’s missing the feeling behind the lyrics a little. Steven stands alone to give her a standing O.

Steven tells Jessica she took a great song and made it greater. He thanks Diane Warren for writing the song for him and for getting Jessica to sing it as good as she did. Jennifer doesn’t know if Jessica even realizes how big of a deal that is. When people come up and sing his songs, he usually doesn’t say anything. Jennifer thinks it sent everyone into the heavens.

Randy thinks Jessica is choosing to climb some really tough hills tonight, first singing Mariah, and now Aerosmith, in front of Steven. Truthfully, she didn’t choose to sing Mariah. He calls her bold and says she wants it. It started a little slow for him, but by the time she got to the chord change in the middle, she delivered. Ryan points out the song came out three years after Jessica was born.

It’s Phillip’s turn for the non-stool chat. He calls it amazing to go back home and see all the familiar faces of family and friends. Ryan shows him one familiar face in the crowd back at home, and it’s a guy holding a sign that says, “Phillip, you still owe me $10.” He can’t tell who it is, but figures he probably does owe someone $10. He did finally get back to his favorite restaurant, and they named a meal after him. It’s chicken and cheese nachos with no veggies.

Phillip flew in the private plane back to Albany, Georgia, to get to Leesburg. He got a warm welcome and calls it insane. He also travels back to the pawn shop and can’t wait to see his dad and mom. It reminds me of Lee Dewyze going back to the paint shop. Phillip’s dad mentions that to see his child doing what he loves to do with integrity and passion is a dream come true for him. Phillip finally gets to see his mom and the rest of the clan. He gets completely overwhelmed in the parade, then performs the concert.

For his own pick, Phillip is singing Disease, and it’s one of those songs that just slides out of him very easily and naturally. He has a sly smile while he’s singing, through some of it, so you know he’s having fun and knowing that he’s doing well.

Jennifer calls this an easy performance that she liked, but she doesn’t feel it was the wow performance they were needing right now She’s glad he has another one yet. Steven feels the same way. It wasn’t over the top, but it was Phil Phillips. It was who he is. He doesn’t have the disease, but he has the bug. He needs to hold it close to him and rock out. Randy makes sure the other judges didn’t like it, because they actually all agree. He didn’t like it either. It was just so subdued for him, and Phillip can do these things in his sleep. Oh, like Joshua doing old R&B and Jessica ballads?

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