One singer left to go, and it's Josh. He's dedicating it to his 13-year-old daughter Rowan, who was born when he was 17. Josh's mom explains he fell in love as a teenager, "And sometimes things just don't work out." Josh got so depressed he gave up on music, until one day he saw Rowan playing the piano and decided to get back to it.
For tonight, Josh has picked a song he's been playing his whole life, about being away from his child and not seeing her. "Cats in the Cradle"? No, "Wild Horses, which he sings at the piano, surrounded by a cage of light shafts pointing up at the ceiling. I think this is the first time we've seen a contestant play an instrument on this show (my mind keeps going back to that Dumpster full of guitars at the initial auditions...still a disturbing image). Josh sounds great, as always, and gets a four-way standing ovation from the judges. His mom and daughter in the audience look pretty proud too.
L.A. tells Josh he has the right amount of everything, including what it takes to win the competition. Paula talks about Josh being larger than life (hey, those burritos aren't low-cal, you know), and Simon says that was what it's all about: "A great song, a great voice," etc. All of which I agree with, except for how he gives any credit at all to Nicole. She can't even speak, she's so emotional. Eventually she manages to say that his music can change the world. Well, if it leads to a world where people respect Nicole Scherzinger, I would have to agree. Josh stops Steve in the process of what he was about to say and thanks the audience for inspiring him, along with his daughter.
Steve rushes through the voting instructions, gives us the recap of the performances (Melanie's should really show her emotional throw-down instead of the singing, if you ask me), and comes back with everyone onstage with him (including the choir and the contestants' loved ones, not counting God) to open the phone lines. "And on a personal note, guys, it's been a special night." Only seven will be back next week. As Steve says, "G'night bye bye!"
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter, or just e-mail him at m.giant[at]gmail.com.