The final 2 finalists of the 11th season of FOX series "American Idol" have been chosen.
Joshua Ledet, who is 20 and from Louisiana, Phillip Phillips, a 21-year-old native of Georgia and Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old resident of San Diego, California, faced elimination on Thursday, May 17. After a nationwide vote, one of them was eliminated.
Warning! Spoiler alert
Joshua Ledet was sent home. Sanchez and Phillips are now left to battle for the title of "American Idol" on the finale.
Ledet has received mostly glowing reviews from the judges, especially Jennifer Lopez. The singer has earned many standing ovations for his performances. On Wednesday's episode, he sang the late Etta James song "I'd Rather Go Blind," John Lennon's "Imagine" and "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige.
"At this point it doesn't matter what you do, what you sing, you have laid everything on this stage that there is to lay," Jackson told him after the latter performance. "People should just stand up and vote for you anyway."
Sanchez had been seen as a frontrunner throughout the season and was eliminated last month but brought back by the judges in a rare move. She had drawn comparisons to Mariah Carey. On Wednesday's episode, she sang one of her songs - "My All," earning praise from the judges. Jackson later said she should have sung Carey's version of another track she performed - "I'll Be There" by the Jackson Five. Sanchez also sang "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith, Tyler's band.
You just took a great song and made it greater," he told her. "Thank you."
Following weeks of several toned-down performances, Phillips, who has been compared to Dave Matthews, earned a standing ovation from the judges on Wednesday for his rendition of legendary rocker Bob Seger's 1978 ballad "We've Got Tonight." Show mentor Jimmy Iovine picked the song for him.
"The perfect song at the perfect time and your best performance on the show ever!" said judge Randy Jackson, who has been Phillips' harshest critic among the three judges. "Here is why - finally in the end, in this moment, where you need moments ... You had a giant moment."
Male contestants have won "American Idol" for the past four seasons. The last female winner was Jordin Sparks, who was voted the champion of season 6 in 2007.
UPDATE on Friday, May 18: Joshua Ledet says he isn't surprised by his elimination. Meanwhile, Phillip Phillips was praised by Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas.