'American Idol' Recap: Man's World? - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Man’s World?

Two finalists left as Joshua Ledet is sent packing

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Josh Ledet is eliminated from 'American Idol.'

Frank Micelotta / PictureGroup for FOX

Tonight we find out who is going to be in the finals, but who cares about that because: Lisa Marie Presley is performing! I can’t even type that with a straight face.

Who is going to the finals and who is going to suffer a fate worse than death, a.k.a. sitting around in their parents’ basement rec room? Will Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez or Joshua Ledet be facing off in the finale? It really is too close to tell which of these talented young singers will make it to the finals. We won’t find out until the very last second, so sit back, relax and compose your victorious tweets for when the loser is announced and you need to gloat.

To kick off tonight’s semi-final results show, the remaining contestants gather round center stage and sing the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.” Sometimes it feels like Idol is just showing off their catalog.

For this week’s Ford commercial, the ad agency went all out with a black-and-white Keystone Kops kommercial, where Jessica robs a bank while Joshua sleeps and everyone sings. Phillip is absent once again from the commercial. Either he has a religious exemption to Ford Motor Cars or he’s bribing people. Maybe he’s allergic to not looking cool? Whatever it is, he is a lucky, lucky man.

Ryan Seacrest pulls Joshua to center stage for a little trip down memory lane with Jimmy Iovine, Man of Truth. Jimmy would have given Joshua an 8 for last night’s performance. Or, in the words of Jimmy, “Would I have given that a standing ovation? No, I think I was laying down at the time.” However, he does think Joshua is the most exciting showman on Idol, but we have really low standards this season. I mean, this season has been so lacking in drama and verve that Phillip’s gitchy leg is poised to get its own reality show as the Idol breakout star.

Photos: ‘American Idol’ Season 11

Next we get a J.Lo /Ice Age crossover, because she has children now and likes to sign up for movies her kids can coo and burble at. The ad-in-a-show lasts an eternity, but if you think that’s enough cross-promotion, you know nothing about Idol. The finalists are then dragged to the Ice Age set to do some soundtrack fun with Ester Dean, the songwriter. Proving that this was supposed to run weeks ago, Hollie Cavanagh comes along for the set visit. And then the entire audience falls asleep, waking up just in time to watch Lisa Marie Presley sing a song in an enchanted bog with either the Mad Hatter or Tom Petty on guitar. Her song, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” isn’t terrible per se, but is terrible in every other way, so let’s just pretend this never happened.

Jimmy Iovine finally appears to knock some sense into these proceedings. He didn’t think Jessica’s version of the Mariah Carey song “My All” was good enough to win. Neither were her covers of Aerosmith or the Jackson 5, but Jimmy can only blame himself for the latter. He gracefully admits his error, so he can still hold on to his title of Arbiter of Truth. That said, he thinks Jessica is worthy of singing on the Grammys. Ryan Seacrest seems to think that a Grammy performance is the ultimate compliment, to which I reply: Milli Vanilli.

Rita Wilson is in the audience. I’m sure she’s there for a reason. I mean, Mrs. Tom Hanks doesn’t just stroll on over to the Idol arena for nothing, right? Oh, right, she has a middle-aged rock album to promote and needs to remind people she is still here. What better opportunity to do that than to commemorate the passing of Donna Summer? Natural choice. She’s joined by Carole Bayer Sager and Jimmy Iovine to remind people that Idol cares, that Donna Summer was a legend, and that Idol is attuned to current events.

Adam Lambert is back on the Idol stage wearing the outfit that every singer in the Eighties wishes they could have worn: Neon green earrings that match his neon green shirt that match his neon green nails, paired with A Flock of Seagulls. The whole band could sit in not for a real Eighties band, but for a band playing at the prom in a John Hughes movie, and no one would notice. Adam’s song “Never Close Our Eyes” is fun and energetic, and it is good that he is performing on the penultimate results show, because it makes you realize how boring and staid the Idol contestants are this year. Joshua can perform, but not like Glambert. 

Phillip gets his critique next. Jimmy thinks the Matchbox Twenty (new album out soon!) cover was a “total snoozefest,” but that his version of Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight” was great. But Steven Tyler captures Phillip’s je ne sais quoi best when says, “It doesn’t matter if you hit the notes or not, it’s about the passion,” which pretty much sums up everything they’ve ever said about Phil-Phil.

After 90 million votes (congratulations, America – that’s fewer than the Presidential elections, for once) and 56 minutes of filler, Ryan is finalllllllllly ready to announce the American Idol finalists. The first person into the finals is: Jessica! To her credit, she looks like she doesn’t believe it. She stumbles towards her mark on the stage and waits to find out her competitor.

And that person is: Phillip Phillips. He looks far less humble about it. That means Joshua Ledet is going home with the bronze medal. Ryan congratulates him on the vocal transformation, which is weird, but Josh doesn’t have to put up with any more incongruous statements from putative authority figures on this show. No more of Steven’s special statements, no more of Randy’s ramblings, no more of J.Lo’s jumbles of words.

As Joshua prepares to sing his farewell ballad, Ryan tells everyone – even those of us at home – to get on their feet. Jennifer cries as Joshua belts out his swan song, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” J.Lo demands a hug and she can’t stop, won’t stop hugging him until they both almost topple into the gaping maw of the audience below. Joshua then goes out in the audience and brings his real mom up on stage in her white tennis shoes and Team Joshua shirt. Farewell, Joshua, go eat some crawfish.

Come back next week, when Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez battle for the crown of American Idol.

Last episode: Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

In This Article: American Idol


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