Talk about diversity! The final three contestants on American Idol are some of the shows best singers ever, each with individually unique styles and endearing personalities. All in all, qualities making this the most enjoyable season that I have watched in years.
Three rounds and three winners.
First go around, Phillip Phillips' high energy "Beggin'" walked away with round one, edging out Joshua Ledet's take on Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind", an odd choice for a young artist. It also surpassed the effective and delicate "My All" by Mariah Carey. When Jessica Sanchez took on this song, I expected something different, but I was pleased by the amount of restraint and grace she used, really highlighting her beautiful voice over her ability to belt it out.
That wise restraint won Joshua Ledet round two. Jessica's Aerosmith number was alright, and Phillip's "Disease" by Matchbox 20 was much better than the judges gave him credit for, yet Joshua's control on a stunning "Imagine" convinced me he could also do something different. I still find it interesting when a Christian sings the song ("Imagine there's no heaven"), but it is a lovely melody.
Round three belonged to Jessica. Taking on the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There", she displayed an incredible versatility as she took on several different ranges in the song, hitting the money notes in the lowest registers instead of the highest pieces as a listener would expect. Joshua's "No More Drama" had too much of it, and by taking on Mary J. Blige, it was back to what he is most known for. For all the praise given Phillip's "We've Got Tonight", I found it to be stripped down to the point of being dull- something a song should never be, especially this one. It's made for his voice but not with this arrangement.
With one win for each of the contestants, it should make tonight's elimination all the more difficult. These are three terrific kids, and my prediction is each will have long and successful careers.
(Photo by Michael Becker, Fox.)