LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Joshua Ledet ran ahead of the competition on “American Idol.”
The booming 20-year-old singer from Westlake, La., had the Fox singing competition’s judges on their feet Wednesday for his lively rendition of Bruno Mars’ up-tempo tune “Runaway Baby.” After Ledet’s routine, which featured a horn section and go-go dancer, Randy Jackson told him it was “another unbelievable performance” and he’s got everything going for him.
“You can sell a song like a work of art,” beamed Steven Tyler.
Other singers who pleased the panel during the evening of tunes from 2010 to the present included 18-year-old country rocker Skylar Laine of Brandon, Miss., accompanying herself on guitar with Kellie Pickler’s “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You,” and 16-year-old vocalist Jessica Sanchez of San Diego with Jazmine Sullivan’s passionate “Stuttering.”
“Jessica, every time I hear you sing, I forget where I am,” Tyler said.
“Idol” mentor Jimmy Iovine laid down a gauntlet between 20-year-old rocker Colton Dixon, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and 21-year-old pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga. Dixon delivered an emotional take on Skylar Grey’s version of the Eminem and Rihanna hit “Love the Way You Lie,” while Phillips failed to flourish with Maroon 5’s “Give a Little More.”
“It was just a little bit underwhelming for the Phillip Phillips I love,” said Jennifer Lopez.
After landing in the bottom three last week, 28-year-old teacher Elise Testone, of Charleston, S.C., bounced back by closing the show with Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” and perfection continued to evade demure 18-year-old singer Hollie Cavanagh of McKinney, Texas. The show’s judges weren’t wowed by Cavanagh’s rendition of Pink’s “Perfect.”
“It wasn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than where you were last week,” said Jackson.
Between the individual performances, the seven finalists paired up for two duets and a trio: Phillips and Testone got together for “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye; Laine and Dixon crooned “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; and Cavanagh, Ledet and Sanchez took on “Stronger” by first-season “Idol” champion Kelly Clarkson.
The finalist with the fewest viewer votes will face elimination Thursday.
Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .