April 11, 2012: Joshua Ledet performs on the singing competition series "American Idol," in Los Angeles.AP
After a rousing performance of James Brown’s 1966 hit, “It's a Man's Man's Man's World",” the 20-year-old soul singer from Westlake, Louisiana, had the “American Idol” judge bowing down and relating a religious experience.
“I actually went to church,” said a giddy Lopez. “It was amazing. I saw the Lord.”
Judges Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler joined Lopez for the extended standing ovation.
“Neither man nor woman has ever sang that good with that much compassion on this show ever,” declared Tyler. “I can go home right now.”
“I think it’s one of the best performances in the history of any singing show – including ours,” added Jackson. “He’s sending everyone to school.”
Ledet chose the classic song, which Rolling Stone called “almost biblically chauvinistic” for the “songs the contestants wish they had written” portion of the show.
“This song has a strong lady–my momma, she’s like the backbone of the family,” explained Ledet. “I know that without my mom, my dad wouldn’t be the man he is today.”
Also earning a standing ovation was 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, who belted out a decidedly grown-up version of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls.”
“This is one of the hardest in the world to sing,” said Jackson. “You got up there and slayed it. I don’t know where you find the experience and the vocal chops, but dude–you are phenomenal.”
“Another winning performance,” added Tyler. “Just over the top.”
Perennial favorite Phillip Phillps also fared well with the judges, with Jackson declaring his performance of “Volcano” by Damien Rice as “one of (his) best performances on the whole season.”
“Very few people could have pulled that off,” agreed Lopez. “It was one of the most beautiful, poignant moments (that) a contestant has ever had–really gorgeous.”
“I never you heard you sing like that before,” added Tyler. “That was beautiful.”
Not faring quite as well was Liverpudlian-Texan Hollie Cavanagh, who received what possibly might be the season’s harshest criticism from Tyler for her take on Bonnie Raitt’s 1991 hit, “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
“It’s not so much how you sing that song, it’s how you say the words and how they come across,” said Tyler. “I thought it felt it fell a little short as far as a dynamic range of how you can sing. Yeah, I’m sorry baby.”
The Top Four also sang songs with a tenuous connection to the State of California–and Ledet and Phillips reunited for a slightly less awkward duet, singing Maroon 5’s smash, “This Love.”
“Perfect, perfect,” declared Tyler. “Everything about that was perfect. Whoever picked that song was brilliant. The marriage of both voices was perfect.”
“He’s right, that was, like, a perfect song,” agreed Lopez. “It would be like–I don’t know–Adam Levine and Usher coming together.”
Cavanagh and Sanchez teamed up on a pair of white silk swings to sing the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame,” which Jackson called “weird.”
“That was a little strange for me, actually,” opined Jackson. “For me, I just didn’t like that. Honestly, I thought it was weird.”
Up next: David Cook and Lopez perform; the Top Three are announced.