American Idol Season Eleven has come down to the top five contestants. During the most recent performance night, Elise Testone impressed judges (Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson) with her version of Queen's rock anthem, "I Want It All," but they split on her choice of Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love."
Testone had previously had an off night singing 1980s songs, spent some time in the bottom three, and was criticized for song choices. Mentor and record producer Jimmy Iovine called Testone's song selections very poor compared to her vocal ability and potential. Viewers were apparently also unimpressed by Testone's performance and voted the 28-year-old off the Fox singing competition.
Now only five contestants remain in the running to be the next American Idol. Meet the final five of Season 11 below, where they are listed in order of the most likely to win.
1. Joshua Ledet
Clearly the front-runner--at least in the judges' minds--nineteen-year-old Joshua Ledet has received 12 standing ovations from Tyler, Jackson and Lopez so far this season (according to fellow contestant Skylar Laine's count).
The judges got on their feet to Ledet's version of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," and Lopez said his vocals are her favorite part of performance shows. Meanwhile, Jackson raved, "That was unbelievable. Vocals, four checks, Performance, four checks, Character, charisma, four checks." The Louisiana native is clearly on the top of the judges' list, but is he America's favorite?
2. Skylar Laine
Eighteen-year-old Skylar Laine, was originally considered a country singer but her range has grown on Idol and she rocked Queen's "The Show Must Go On," getting positive feedback from all three judges. Steven Tyler called her performance, "fabulous," while Randy Jackson described it as "effortless," "incredible," and "phenomenal."
She's got the right stuff and could easily push Joshua Ledet off the top spot.
3. Jessica Sanchez
Sixteen-year-old Jessica Sanchez became a semifinal on America’s Got Talent (at 11), and AGT producer and former Idol judge Simon Cowell called her, "one the best I have ever heard."
On Idol she has twice chosen Whitney Huston songs, which any veteran Idol viewer knows is risky. And her Eminem/Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers-like alter-ego, Bebe Chez, is another mixed bag.
But Sanchez delivered impressive vocals on "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father," with the later earning praise from Lopez, who called it the "most beautiful" version she'd ever heard. Tyler went further, saying, "I don't think you could sing a song bad." So she's still a contender for the Idol finale.
4. Hollie Cavanagh
Eighteen-year-old Hollie Cavanagh made it into the top seven but her '80's night performance failed to impress and she has been troubled by pitch issues and what Lopez called "overthinking." But Cavanagh turned things around with her take of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," which Cavanagh sang with perfect pitch and so much heart that it brought judges to their feet. Jackson said it was the "perfect" song choice and Lopez said she'd nailed it.
So can Cavanagh get consistent and stay in the competition?
5. Phillip Phillips
Surviving far longer then his bro Heejun Han, twenty-one-year-old Phillip Phillips is a multi-talented musician--who also plays the bass, piano and drums--but doesn't always connect with the audience.
His performances on Queen night didn't help. Neither impressed the judges, and Jackson in particular seemed disappointed by Phillips' version of "Fat Bottomed Girls." If he continues this way Phillips won't make it to the finale.