Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet also earn praises for their performances on Wednesday, April 18 night, which sees the seven finalists singing hits from now and then.
The Top 7 of "American Idol" season 11 were back on the stage on Wednesday, April 18 to deliver two songs each, one from 2000 and beyond, and one from yesteryear. Opening the show, Ryan Seacrest paid a brief tribute to Dick Clark, who died of a "massive heart attack" in the morning.
Singing first was Hollie Cavanaugh, who opted to perform "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele for the first round. Steven Tyler called it "perfect," Jennifer Lopez liked it that she sang without thinking. Randy Jackson would not call it perfect, but said, "For the first time ever you had feeling and emotion, you arrived, very well done."
For the "then" song, Hollie chose "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield. Randy loved it, and J.Lo said it's better than the first performance. Steven, however, thought that she "can even push it more."
Colton Dixon sang in second order, covering Lady GaGa's "Bad Romance" in the first round. It wasn't an outstanding performance, but Steven loved Colton's outfit and the set. J.Lo said, "It was an exciting performance, but there were parts I loved and parts I didn't." Randy agreed as commenting, "You are so in the zone but I don't think this was the best performance, your voice was a little too low, but job well done."
When he returned for the second performance, Colton sang "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire but he still didn't have a chance to shine. J.Lo thought his voice was too powerful for the song, while Steven loved the fact that he did a different arrangement but wasn't sure if it was the perfect performance for him.
Alicia Keys' "No One" was Elise Testone's pick for "now" song. J.Lo said she got her first goosies of the night when Elise sang. Steven called it "delicious," but admitted that he hoped she would have picked a different song. Randy added, "I think you sang it well."
For her second performance, Elise belted out "Lets Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. J.Lo wanted her to show more emotion, while Steven once again complained about song's choice. "You broke a few more hearts...but you need to find those few songs that wins everyone's hearts," the Aerosmith frontman said. Randy agreed with the other two judges.
Phillip Phillips earned the first standing ovation of the night after singing Usher's "You Got It Bad". J.Lo made him blush with her comment, "That was so sexy." Randy gushed, "This year we have a true artist on the stage, you are always original and yourself, you don't need to listen to anyone."
Phillip also got rave reviews for his second performance in which he delivered "I'm Going to Wait for the Midnight Hour" by Wilson Picket. J.Lo liked the "feeling" and the "soul" in his performance, while Steven praised him for being "brilliantly awkward."
Jessica Sanchez tried to gain more votes from America with "Fallin' " by Alicia Keys. J.Lo said she's glad that she and the other judges saved Jessica, while Steven advised her to "get mad in a song." Randy, meanwhile, hoped "America supports you this week."
When Jessica sang Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" in the second round, J.Lo said, "We got a little bit of your alter ego." Randy said Jessica has done what it's needed to win public's hearts, which is to connect with the emotion in the lyrics.
Skylar Laine gave a country twist to GaGa's "Born This Way" in the first round. "I loved that version," J.Lo commented. Steven also enjoyed it and said, "You are giving the other girls in this competition a run for your money." Randy added, "You are so beyond ready to me, it was just amazing."
Choosing "Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the "then" song, Skylar once again did a great job, according to J.Lo. Randy said, "This is interesting, you and Phillip have no problem connecting and feeling, it was brilliant."
Joshua Ledet chose "I Believe" by his biggest inspiration in life, Fantasia Barrino, for the "now" theme performance. He apparently made the right song's choice as Steven said, "This is just a stepping song to you winning the whole thing." Randy agreed and commented, "You pulled back with this song and it touched us."
Joshua wowed the judges once again with his performance of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Going to Come". "It's crazy, I still wanted more at the end, I just love you," J.Lo said in her comment. Randy gushed, "This song was perfect for you, you took your time then you burst it open at the end, it was just stellar and the talent this year is better than any show on tv."