Best. Top. Nine. Ever.
Seriously, the American Idol judges gave out standing ovations like they were candy last night, standing for five of the night's nine performances. And guess what? Some of those other four deserved standing ovations, too!
We can only imagine America had a tough time deciding who to vote for, which will make tonight's elimination that much tougher to swallow because a really talented singer will be heading home. So, after sitting in on the live show last night to witness all the action, we've got the scoop on who scored best among the crowd—and who looks to be a goner...
Top Five Performances of the Night
5. Colton Dixon, Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips' Fleetwood Mac Trio
Apologies to the rest of the top nine, but this medley was perfection. Seriously, this may be our dream final three.
4. Jessica Sanchez
It takes a lot of courage to sing a Beyoncé song, let alone take one of Sasha Fierce's biggest hits, "Sweet Dreams," and completely rearrange it, which is exactly what Jessica did. Luckily, the risk paid off big time as the pint-size diva owned the song and the stage, further proving she belongs to be one of this season's frontrunners. Seriously, will this girl ever have a bad week?! Based on her live performances so far, it doesn't seem likely. P.S.: Why so stingy with the standing ovations when it came to Jessica, judges?
3. Colton Dixon
Colton's best asset is his ability to make any song his own, which he did again last night with Lifehouse's "Everything." While the rocker did perform first, it won't have any effect on his chances of reaching the top eight, especially with Randy Jackson predicting he'll reach the finals. If he keeps up his streak of strong performances, the Nokia Theatre is exactly where Colton will find himself come late-May.
2. Joshua Ledet
Boy can saaaaang. Period. It was also great to see him really emotionally connect with what he was singing, in this case Mariah Carey's "Without You," which as mentor Jimmy Iovine said is an incredibly hard song to sing—and he delivered.
1. Elise Testone
Let's just go on and dub Elise the Haley Reinhart of season 11. Much like last year's underdog (and third-place finisher), Elise found herself in the bottom three during the first two weeks of live competition before finally having her breakout Idol moment during last week's Billy Joel-themed show. Elise closed the show with a rocking Led Zeppelin cover that had every single person in the studio audience on their feet. With Jessica and Hollie Cavanaugh sticking with ballads, Elise is beginning to emerge as a frontrunner for the ladies thanks to her unique voice and versatility. Plus, she rocked sequined bell-bottoms, y'all!
Studio audience fan favorites: Elise, Phillip, Jessica, Colton and Joshua
Who's in Trouble
3. Heejun Han
OK, confession: we actually liked Heejun's performance last week—you know, the one the judges didn't exactly love, saying he wasn't taking the competition seriously. Heejun decided to show off his serious side last night and impressed the judges so much that they gave him a standing ovation, one we're not sure he actually deserved. Sure, he sounded great, but so did some others whom the judges didn't stand for. Still, we think Heejun's playing it smart by keeping people guessing each week, so he's probably safe.
2. DeAndre Brackensick
The well-coiffed one had the comeback of the night, recovering completely from his performance during Billy Joel week, but at the end of the night, we had a hard time remembering his performance. He's having a hard time standing out, which could prove to be detrimental this week. But hello, beautiful falsetto!
1. Hollie Cavanaugh
After two lackluster weeks in a row, one of our early favorites may find herself in trouble tonight. We think it's time for Hollie to switch it up and sing anything, seriously anything, other than a ballad. She needs to distance herself from Jessica and prove she's a versatile, modern artist. A trip to the bottom three stools might be the wake-up call this talented singer needs.
Bottom Three Prediction: DeAndre, Heejun and Hollie (though Skylar Laine might find herself in danger as well)
Exit Prediction: DeAndre. While we thought he had a solid performance, he's having a hard time standing out when singers like Colton, Elise, Phillip and Jessica are delivering week-to-week.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in our comments!