Colton Dixon down, six hopefuls to go.
American Idol carried on tonight without one of its early favorites, the top six tasked first with a Queen medley—accompanied by surviving members Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Side note: Despite speculation earlier in the day that an ailing Ryan Seacrest might be too sick to go on, he kicked off the show as usual looking fit as a fiddle—but Randy Jackson did narrate the intro-to-Queen montage instead of him, so perhaps Ryan was resting up until the last minute.
Anyway, the finalists sounded great taking on Queen hits like "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You" as a group. But how did they sound on their own, doing both Queen songs and a tune they selected themselves?
Jennifer Lopez may have called Phillip Phillips' cover of Dave Matthews' "The Stone" "too artsy," and his fellow contestants may make fun of his little knee-jerk dance and the way his face contorts when he sings—but he's got Ryan Seacrest looking over his shoulder!
"You ran by my girlfriend who's here," Ryan told him. "And she sighed and blushed, and I think I heard her say 'Yummy.' We'll be having this conversation after the show, darling," he cracked as the camera cut to Julianne Hough giggling and acting embarrassed backstage.
We wonder if Phillip made Julianne's rockin' world go round with "Fat Bottomed Girls" earlier in the evening.
Jessica Sanchez took on the big operatic beast, "Bohemian Rhapsody"—and because her voice is that good, she didn't sound gimmicky when she launched into the head-banging part. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez noted that she was a bit lacking in the rock 'n' roll showmanship department.
But when Jessica sang "Dance With My Father," the Luther Vandross-loving Jennifer complimented her: "That may be the best I've ever heard that song sang."
Fellow teenage powerhouse Skylar Laine kept pushing to the front of the pack, belting "The Show Must Go On" and then picking Jason Aldean's "Tattoos on This Town" for her encore.
"Ryan, dude—this girl right here, she's gotta have it!" Randy exclaimed, once again trotting out this season's replacement for "in it to win it."
Queen's rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" has been sung on the Idol stage before to not much acclaim—but Joshua Ledet changed all that. He turned in another note-for-note spot-on performance that was part Freddie Mercury, part Fine Young Cannibals and all good.
Standing ovation from the judges, thankyouverymuch.
"Is it bad to say that Joshua is my favorite part of the show?" J.Lo wondered.
His take on India.Arie's "Ready for Love" fell a little flat for us, but not because he didn't sing it amazingly. It was just on the slow side compared with his earlier Queen bull's-eye.
"I smell the finish line with you," concluded Steven.
The judges felt Elise Testone was back in her element with "I Want It All" and then Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love," but we doubt either will keep her in the half of the lineup that isn't the bottom three tomorrow. Not to mention, Steven flat-out told her after round two that though he loved the Jimi, she needed to stick to songs people know.
Because that's how you become a true original. Wait...what?
Same goes for Hollie Cavanagh, who seemed the logical choice to go home a few weeks ago, but won enough votes to stick around. "Save Me" probably wasn't enough to save her and "The Climb" may not take her as high as she needs to go.