10) Jessica Sanchez Gets Saved
In "Idol's" top seven week, America put (according to Randy Jackson) "a ridiculous bottom three!" up for elimination, with Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone almost getting the boot and Jessica, the golden child of Season 11, actually getting the fewest votes of all. But on that week's results show, Jessica barely made it through the first verse of her Judges' Save song before Jennifer Lopez bumrushed the stage and practically wrestled the microphone out of Jessica's trembling hand. "Gimme that mic! This is crazy! Of COURSE we are using the Save," J.Lo announced. It was probably the first time Jennifer had ever seemed so eager to get near an activated microphone, and it was certainly the first time a judge had ever physically interrupted an "Idol" contestant's performance. So Jessica got a reprieve and eventually made it all the way to the finale, and Nigel Lythgoe got the big (possibly staged) TV/TMZ moment he clearly wanted.
9) Lindsey Pavao Is Simply "Ahh"-some
Cee Lo called this girl "the coolest thing that's happened on the second season so far," and I'll actually go further than that and say Lindsey Pavao is one of the coolest things that ever happened on "The Voice," period. (And I am not just saying that because she has the same first name and last initial as me. Although that's cool too.) I knew I'd like this girl when I saw her new-wavey one-sided hairdo (which Blake Shelton called "badass"); heard that her influences include Radiohead, Nirvana, and Fiona Apple; and found out that she plays violin. I knew she would just be COOL. But I had no idea how cool until I heard her brilliantly Imogen Heapish, Fiona Appley change-up of Trey Songz's "Say Ahh." I got chills. My chills got chills. And I got a girl-crush, too. I still wish Lindsey had made it to the Season 2 finale...and I think if team-quota rule hadn't existed back then (and the "iTunes bonus" rule had), I may have gotten my wish that season.
8) "The Glee Project" Is Absolutely "Perfect" Television
"The Glee Project," a TV talent search for new "Glee" cast members, has always been one of my favorite singing shows--and Season 2's "Actability" challenge was the series' most Emmy-worthy (and possibly even Oscar-worthy) yet. The top five contenders starred in a fake movie trailer for a coming-of-age film called Perfect, soundtracked by the cast singing the Pink song of the same title, and the result was so riveting, I still think Perfect needs to become a REAL movie. Come on, Ryan Murphy. Make it happen.
7) Hampton Williams Gives A Haunting "SYTYCD" Audition
Hampton's "Exorcist-Style" audition was my favorite moment of "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9, and I think this past troubled "SYTYCD" season would have been much better if he hadn't sadly decided to quit during Vegas Week. But Hampton's brief time on the screen was almost literally haunting, and it stayed with me. "I can take your pain and fear and interpret it, and you won't have it no more," Hampton said--and I think that is exactly what dance, and really almost any form of art, should aim to do. This routine was creepy and exquisite and gorgeous; judge Mary Murphy was sobbing by the end, and a stunned Nigel Lythgoe raved, "You are an artist. I think you could be a genius. You really have created something real unusual there." Now that it's official that "SYTYCD" has been renewed for a 10th season (yay!), I hope Hampton comes back.
6) Joshua Ledet Achieves "World" Domination
James Brown's "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World" got a lot of play on singing shows this year, covered by everyone from "The Voice's" rocker chick Juliet Simms (more on her in a bit) to "The X Factor's" tween Diamond White. But "Idol's" Joshua Ledet really took the song to church. Joshua even managed to accomplish the impossible here: HE OUTPERFORMED HIMSELF. This was an outrageously awesome performance, full of fire and ferocity and sweat and swagger, and he sang like one of the old-time greats. Randy Jackson called this "one of the best performances in the history of any singing show," and although I often thought that the judges overpraised Joshua (he got something like a dozen standing ovations during Season 11), this time, I believe Randy got it right.
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