We're in the home stretch of this season of American Idol, down to just three: Phil Phillips, Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet. Each of the contestants visited home and sang one song chosen by themselves, one chosen by one of the judges and one chosen by Jimmy Iovene.
At the top of the show, Ryan enters from the giant screen, flashing his signature grin and throwing winks at the audience. Creepy or charming? You decide. "Everything is truly riding on tonight," he says intensely, once again taking the dial from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds.
Joshua will be the first to take the stage, and the judges choose Etta James' "I'd Rather Be Blind." Incidentally, Randy's wearing a pocket watch pinned to his suit right under his face, so that the camera couldn't miss it no matter how tight of a shot they take. Well played, Randy. The song is what Josh does best - soulful with plenty of room for embellishments - and the judges love it, giving a standing ovation.
The judges' choice for Jessica is Mariah Carey's "My All." I get what they were trying to do - it's quieter and more subtle than most of her choices - but in the end, it just seems kind of boring. "I hope you get used to encores, and in another kind of crazy way you'll be the last one standing here," Steven says.
Phil will sing "Beggin'" by Madcon (originally by the 4 Seasons). I actually really like it - it gets Phil's coffee house vibe in there while not being predictable, and I'd never heard this version of the song before, but it's really enjoyable. "It was great," J-Lo says.
For the second round, Josh chooses "Imagine" by John Lennon. It's not horrible by any means - but this is one of those songs that's best sung as is, and while Joshua shows more restraint than normal in his note choices, it comes off as overindulgent. "Every time you sing you take it over the top," Steven says, but I think he means it as a compliment.