American Idol had five contestants left and two hours to fill—what to do?
Well, besides having Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet duet for the first time, the producers came up with one round of music from the 1960s and another round of British pop.
Hollie Cavanagh kicked off the show with the barn burner "River Deep, Mountain High"—the very song that sent Pia Toscano packing last year. The judges said they loved it, but we actually remember how great Pia was with the Ike and Tina Turner hit, so...we'll see what happens.
Phillip Phillips gave the heavy-strings-and-drum treatment to the Box Tops' "The Letter," totally switching up the melody in the process to (surprise!) a Dave Matthews-reminscent jam—and it worked! It was the most feeling Phillip had brought to a performance in several few weeks.
Jennifer Lopez admitted to not knowing the original, sigh, so she had a little trouble critiquing what she apparently wasn't sure she was hearing. Steven Tyler said that he missed the original melody, but he figured that sort of thing doesn't matter when it comes to Phillip.
We could've sworn it would be Phillip taking on Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," but it was Skylar Laine who growled her way through it. Vocally, we don't think it was the country girl's best, but the judges raved about how "ready" she is for the big time.
And not that it's going to matter in the long run, but Phillip going all Top Gun with Joshua Ledet on "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" (seriously, swoon) shined a spotlight on just how strong Joshua's voice is. Then again, you can't argue with Phillip's sex appeal—unless you're Joshua, who refused to let Phillip close out the song with his arm around him.
"You guys!" teased Steven. "You need to look into each other's eyes and sing that song! Get over it!"
"We were fighting over his girlfriend," Joshua joked (we think) when J.Lo reminded them never to be afraid to sing a duet together.
Maybe Joshua just hasn't ever seen Top Gun. But the dude sure can sing, as he proved just moments later on "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." His voice really has no parallel in the competition.
Jessica Sanchez killed the otherwise-played-out "Proud Mary," and it was scary how much older than 16 she looked! Of course, it was even scarier when Steven remarked, "The only thing that gives experience a run for its money is a 16-year-old."
When we heard "Brit pop," we immediately thought Beatles, Monkees, even Oasis. But Hollie picked Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," so obviously we were thinking a little narrowly. But her stripped-down version of the smash hit may have won her a few more believers tonight.
Phillip went more in the direction we were thinking, with the Zombies' "Time of the Season," which he did a very sexy job on, though there were a few awkward high notes.
Speaking of awkwardness, none of the judges were thrilled with the arrangement of Jackie Wilson's "Higher" that was handed to Jessica, Skylar and Hollie for their group performance. But though it was like three swans competing for front-of-the-line status in the pond, it was pretty impossible for the song to sound bad.
Skylar broke a few hearts with Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"—or won a few, as Jennifer suggested. But the teen was in the bottom three last week, so here's hoping she wasn't closer to going home than contestant-herder Ryan Seacrest had us believe.
Jessica turned in a pretty flawless "You Are So Beautiful to Me," no Joe Cocker rasp for her, that had the judges ecstatic. Then, to close the show, Joshua positively slayed Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody"—and he had turned up his nose when Jimmy Iovine first suggested it!
But the real question is, what will upset the fans more: Joshua denying Phillip a little brotherly love, or Phillip having a girlfriend? We'll find out tomorrow when the competition is cut to four!