I want answers! We all want answers. How is it that Joshua Ledet, the soulful, emotional, lovable contestant from Louisiana was eliminated just before the finale? He’d made it this far, why not all the way? Take consolation in this: at least we will be spared a re-creation of his “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” duet with Phillip Phillips.
Though Jessica Sanchez is certainly one of the most vocally talented contestants American Idol has seen, viewers were surprised when she took the spot in the final 2 many of us had assumed would go to Joshua Ledet. He has consistently delivered, and brought the judges to their feet more than any other contestant this season. So why was he eliminated? I have 5 guesses.
1. Over-Ovation. Joshua Ledet received over 15 standing ovations from the judges this season. That is just far too much exercise for a reality TV panel of judges devoted to one contestant. Many theorize that the over-hyping of Joshua led to his eventual demise. We don’t mind being encouraged to vote one way or another by experts, but it’s another thing entirely when a contestant is being shoved down our throats. He is amazing, yes, but the constant praise became rather grating and turned some of us against the judge favorite.
2. Relevancy. Joshua is a soul singer, and someone who can sing a lot of classics will typically do well in the competition that throws various themes and genres at the contestants week after week. But now we’re at the point in American Idol where viewers will ask themselves who will be the most relevant as a pop star or a modern artist, and Joshua wasn’t always delivering song choices that proved his ability to make it as a current artist. His more energetic, modern covers didn’t stand out the way his take on old soul hits did.
3. Audience. Joshua became my personal favorite after Skylar Laine was eliminated, but he has been a favorite of my parents for much longer. Do my parents vote? No. They either read the recaps here, or watch a recorded episode much later in the week. It’s possible that Joshua’s audience, likely an older audience who likes the aforementioned classics, isn’t a voting audience. Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez may be more accessible to the target demographic, who are the ones picking up their phones and voting online.
4. “Imagine.” Ugh, this song. It just didn’t suit Joshua, and though he managed to sneak it into the middle of the triple play program, it stood out as a sore thumb. Jimmy Iovine mentioned in his critiques that Joshua didn’t really have a moment in the Top 3 episode, and he needs one every week to stay in this. He didn’t have a moment, and Phillip certainly did. I’m not sure Jessica had a moment either, but she also didn’t choose such a crummy, over-performed song for herself.
5. Ice Cream Every Day. Joshua’s personality was a little more subdued and shy, but his performing personality was big and, at times, almost too strong. I’m going to use the old trope about having ice cream every day. People, generally, love ice cream, but parents and other annoying people are always telling us that we wouldn’t love it if we had to eat ice cream every day. We would also get very fat. Anyway, Joshua performing dramatic, gospel-y, emotionally wrought performances every week for 12 weeks in a row, could have spoiled us on him a little. At first we were like, “wow! Mint chip is the best!” But after 12 weeks we’re all, “I hate mint chip. It’s too shouty and I have to fast-forward through it.” I don’t know, it’s not my strongest theory, but maybe we soured on him at just the wrong time.
I never soured on Joshua, though. I thought he had an amazing American Idol showing. Hats off to you, Joshua Ledet, I hope you get a record deal.
(images courtesy of FOX)