American Idol
Performance Show

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Hometown Heroes

Now he's back in the auditorium, singing "Imagine" by John Lennon. That's surprising enough, but this is the round where they pick their own songs, remember. I'm sure his preacher father will appreciate his choice of a heartfelt and tender call for atheism and anarchy. It's also pretty wrong for him, and the gospelling-up he gives it in the second half seems a bit forced. Steven says he's happy to have sat and watched Joshua learn how to sing this season, which seems like a backhanded compliment at best. Jennifer actually says Joshua pulled back and controlled it, then talks about how his performances set him apart among the top three voices. Randy asks why he picked the song, and Joshua somehow makes "I heard it on the radio on the way to rehearsal" sound deep and profound. Randy buys it, of course, complete with the full warrantee and carrying case.

Time for the segment on Jessica's visit home, hours away in the suburbs of San Diego. She tells Ryan about how she was homeschooled and had no friends, but then guys were chasing her car when she went home. Her "journey" home from Los Angeles started at 5 PM on Friday, when she got to take a limo to a rooftop to be picked up in a helicopter. It drops her off in the middle of Petco Park in San Diego, where she sits in the empty bleachers for a bit before taking a stretch SUV (which I assume was late) to the Chula Vista Amphitheater. She greets what looks like an entire Woodstock of fans and asks them to come out to hear her sing the next night. You can almost hear all of them saying, "Wait, what?" The next morning, she has some warm family moments with her parents and brothers, and they all ride together to the parade, where Jessica rides in the car with her little brothers. There's a huge crowd at Eastlake High School, whose name makes no sense in context to Josh's alma mater. The Mayor declares it Jessica Sanchez Day, and then the motorcade proceeds to the USS Midway, the scene of her original audition, where she sings "Dance with My Father" to a crowd of fans and sailors that includes her dad. And then it's apparently a helicopter ride back to L.A. That looks a lot like a CTU helicopter, which would have made this whole segment a lot more interesting.

Back in the studio, she's displaying the unmitigated balls to sing "Don't Want to Miss a Thing." Yes, she's performing an Aerosmith song to Steven Tyler. And I thought picking "And I Am Telling You" was immodest. She does well enough, and although she wavers on the last big note, she gets a one-man standing ovation from Steven, who says, "You just took a great song and made it greater." Although, showing more modesty than Jessica, he gives songwriting credit (or blame) to Diane Warren. Jennifer says Steven normally doesn't say anything good about people singing his songs, and Randy talks about her big old brass ones (though not in those words). Ryan comes out and rubs in the fact that the song came out when Jessica was three years old, and he asks Steven for some thoughts about hearing the other judges critique his song. Steven doesn't have much to say to that, but it's okay because Ryan clearly wasn't listening to the judges' feedback anyway.

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American Idol

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