So JAmerican Idol Season 11 Top 4 Live Performances

Game is on.  American Idol Season 11 is down to its final four.  Will the hard charging Hollie Cavanagh overtake season long favorite Jessica Sanchez?  Will Joshua Ledet’s incredible run of performances be enough to get a full throated gospel/soul singer to the finale?  Can the rapidly fading Phil Phillips ride his tremendous popularity to the title?  Many believe that the finale and the winner are pretty much decided.  I think all of this will be decided by the performances over the next two weeks.

Tonight the American Idol Season 11 Top 4 will sing two songs.  They will sing songs that “they wish they had written”.  That could be anything.  The other song selections should be of the “California Sound”. Don’t know what that means. I hope everyone is amazing and we get each performers best shot tonight.  Join me now as I live blog the American Idol Season 11 top 4 performance show.

The first theme is California Dreamin.

Phil Phillips is up first with “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”.  This is one of the first rock songs of my youth.  Phil performs without his trusty guitar and interprets this as a light hearted summer song.  I doubt Phil knows this is a war lament song, like many of CCR’s songs.  He sang it pretty well, but I did not not like his cheery, light hearted interpretation. J-Lo says his vocal quality was perfectly chosen.  Randy thinks he started off pitch but quickly recovered.  The judges seemed to like that much more than me.

Hollie Cavanagh goes big ballad again with Journey’s “Faithfully”  I am not sure this is going to help Hollie’s quest to make it into the American Idol Season 11 top 3.  Watching her strut across the stage, there is just a new cockiness in Hollie’s entire demeanor.  I am not sure this was the best song to show off her big voice.  She fought through most of the song in her lower register.  She hit some big notes at the end but we needed more of that than we got.  Randy loved what she did with his band’s song.  J-Lo hits it with her comment about how laid back Hollie has become.  Stephen loved her choice of song and her performance.  Maybe I am just in a bad mood tonight but the judges are loving these performances much more than me.

I am just not understanding these song choices.  On a night when Joshua Ledet needs to show his modern relevance as a pop artist, he chooses Josh Grobin’s “You Lift Me Up”.  Okay, Joshua Ledet is dedicating this song to his father. Didn’t know that was a gospel song. That was another vocal tour de force by Joshua. I loved those breaks in the middle of the song.  That was a great interpretation of a song I did not think could be interpreted.  All of the judges are in awe of Joshua Ledet and his future.

Jessica Sanchez makes the most interesting song choice of the night with Etta James’ “Steal Away”. Jessica picked a song that allowed her to let loose with her big vocals and she did just that.  Fantastic performance.  She romped and stomped all over that song.  J-Lo says she is one of the best female singers on the scene today.  Randy loved how she tapped into the blues.  That was my favorite performance of the night so far.

Finally, Phil Phillips gets to sing a duet in his wheelhouse. He and Joshua Ledet do a good job with Maroon 5′s “This Time”.

American Idol is wasting a lot of time tonight with duets, group numbers and videos.  Let’s get on with it.

Phil Phillips wishes he had written “Volcano” which was written by Damien Rice. Back with his guitar Phil Phillip is accompanied by a cello. This was brilliant choice by Phil Phillips.  The song is contemporary but not well known and it is a perfect song for his voice.  This dark, simple, haunting performance marks the re-emergence of Phil Phillips. Stephen says he has never heard Phillip sing like that.  J-Lo says very few people could have pulled that off.  She called it one of the most beautiful, most poignant moments in the history of American Idol.  Randy says it was one of his best performances of Season 11.  We loved that performance.

Hollie Cavanagh wants to write “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. Let’s see if she can. Beautiful singing with a beautiful voice but I think the production was a little over the top.  Hollie just got caught up in the production.  Stephen thought the song came up a little short.  J-Lo just does not think she connected with the emotion.  Randy did not think the song fit her talent.  He said the song had nowhere for her to go with the song. Unfortunately, this was not the night of great performances that Hollie Cavanagh needed.

So Joshua Ledet is doing James Brown, “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”.  He is singing it to honor his mother’s role as the backbone of their family. This kid is the real deal.  Soul just oozes from this performance.  What a showcase.  The growls, the grunts, the screams. OH MY GOODNESS. Joshua Ledet just set American Idol on fire.  Anyone not amazed at this moment does not understand soul music.  Stephen says no one has ever sang that good on this show, ever.  Stephen says he has never seen anything like that at.  J-Lo had to turn to spanish to express herself. Randy says it is one of the greatest performances of any singing show ever. With that atomic performance, Joshua Ledet just said to America, “any questions”?

Now time to finish the American Idol Top 4 with Jessica Sanchez singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls. This is Jessica’s response to the judge’s save.  This is the perfect song for a singer like Jessica Sanchez. That was some crazy good singing, but I think it was too much too soon.  She went big and crazy right from the beginning and she sort of lost me.  The rest of the performance was sort of muddled for me.  I would have liked a little more emotional development and dynamics in the song.  The judges do not agree and give her a standing ovation. The judges said it all with their standing O.

Joshua Ledet had the best performance of the night. Phil Phillip defined his identity as an artist.  Jessica Sanchez showed off her voice.  I am afraid the Hollie Cavanagh did not raise her game enough to hang with these other three performers.  Joins us tomorrow night as we find out how our American Idol Season 11 top 3.