As Skylar Laine so excitedly informed the 15 million folks watching American Idol last night: The judges like Joshua Ledet. They really like him. Following his performance of India.Arie's "Ready for Love," the Top 6 contestant received his 12th standing ovation and, as Kate Ward pointed out in her Queen night recap, Ledet’s only performed 11 solos since he got past the semifinals. He’s got more standing o’s than Steven Tyler has ways to tell the contestants how beautiful they are. The issue is, as great as Ledet is, he’s not exactly the second coming of Luther Vandross. He’s a very talented singer, but the judges need to stop standing on their feet like zombies drawn to a warm body every time he opens his mouth.
It’s not that there’s an issue with excessive praise from fans — look at anything I’ve ever written about Phil Phillips (swoon) and you’ll see just how over-the-top this show makes me people. But it's not the judges’ job to transform into fanatics. They’re supposed to guide and build our contestants, not throw roses at their feet and place tiaras inscribed with “Jennifer’s Little Man” on their heads every week. Look, I’m not expecting Jennifer Lopez to go all Ruth Bader Ginsburg on these contestants, but come on, Jenny from the Block. Show a little restraint.
Joshua is hardly J. Lo's only pet — the judge has tried to use the save for every cutie that ever gave her goosies on the show, lamenting from week to week that she'd been (correctly) outvoted. (And that's coming from someone who loves DeAndre Brackensick.) The exciting part of American Idol is that we’re never sure who’s going to get the boot, especially during this most shocking year. The problem is, when the judges stand on their delicate little toesies every time Joshua sings, millions of viewers become instantly manipulated. (Why do I have a strange feeling I'm going to regret not voting for Jessica Sanchez at approximately 8:56 PM ET tonight?) I thought that performance of “Ready for Love” was genuine, and sure, it made my heart flutter to see him sitting calmly on a stool with nothing but his voice and a hat stolen from Bruno Mars’ closet for once, but I assure you that not only did I remain comfortably seated on my couch, but my peppermint tea never left my hands. Was his performance really that earth-shattering? Did someone slip something into my tea? Hey roomie, are my eyes dilated? Why am I not reacting like Joshua just sang the miraculous song that’s going to save us from a music industry that still embraces Ke$ha?
Because the judges are drinking their own Kool-Aid. They want Joshua to win (Jennifer even admitted it outright) and their mindless — and practically prerequisite at this point — reaction to every song Joshua ever sings is their way of sending voters a subtle message. It goes like this: VOTE FOR JOSHUA. HE’S THE BEST SINGER EVER. But here’s my plea, judges: Stop messing with our heads. Save your energy for grinding up on William Levy in your next music video and let us decide who’s in it to win it. Your ubiquitous standing ovations mean nothing. At this point, Steven Tyler’s tongue would have to roll out of his ginormous mouth and slap the floor like a cartoon wolf chasing a Copacabana dancer for their reactions to hold any weight.
Do you think Joshua deserved all 12 standing o’s? Why do you think Joshua gets so many when Jessica Sanchez is arguably just as talented?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.