1. Elise Testone - "Whole Lotta Love"
Elise Testone closed an amazing night of performances with the best performance of the night. Taking on Robert Plant's lead for Led Zeppelin on one of the greatest rock songs of all time is either tremendously brave or phenomenally foolhardy. Tonight it turned out to be brave. "Whole Lotta Love" was the perfect opportunity for Elise Testone to show us all of the colors in her voice in an absolutely riveting performance. "Whole Lotta Love" was Led Zeppelin's only top 10 pop hit single in a career focused on selling albums. It hit #4 in 1970 and was certified gold.
2. Phillip Phillips - "Still Rainin'"
Phillip Phillips chose to dive into the work of blues and rock performer Jonny Lang. It demonstrated that Phillip Phillips genuinely knows how to own the stage when he is choosing his favorite material. Mentor Stevie Nicks gave him the biggest compliment of the night saying that if he had been friends with her and Lindsey Buckingham when Mick Fleetwood asked them to join Fleetwood Mac in the 1970s, he would have wanted Phillip Phillips, too. "Still Rainin'" was included on Jonny Lang's Wander This World album released in 1998 when he was only 17. The album was a #1 blues hit and reached the top 30 on the overall album chart.
3. Jessica Sanchez - "Sweet Dreams"
Slowing down Beyonce's top 10 smash hit "Sweet Dreams" was a good idea indeed. Jessica Sanchez added intense drama to the song on a fantastic, slightly surreal, but simple set of red doors. This was no plain stand in one place and belt a ballad performance. Jessica Sanchez once again demonstrated it is in her understanding of the nuance of performing, instead of simply singing, that she truly shines. Beyonce took "Sweet Dreams" to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the dance chart, and top 10 around the world in 2009.
4. Joshua Ledet - "Without You"
Lesser talents have been conquered by this huge Badfinger ballad memorably covered by Harry Nilsson and then Mariah Carey. Joshua Ledet kept us riveted to the screen with the drama early in the song, and then gave us all chills uncorking the money notes. Finally, the drama of being overcome with emotion seemed to end his performance with a perfect note. Harry Nilsson took "Without You" to #1 for four weeks in 1971. It became the biggest hit of his career. Mariah Carey released her version as a single in 1994 just after the death of Harry Nilsson. It reached #3 in the US and was certified gold. "Without You" became one of Mariah Carey's biggest international hits landing at #1 on pop charts around the world.
5. DeAndre Brackensick - "Sometimes I Cry"
Deandre Brackensick demonstrated to us all that his falsetto is a thrilling instrument. We could close our eyes and imagine it could be Prince on the stage singing to us. Deandre delivers his falsetto with an arresting confidence. This is where he seems most comfortable on stage. "Sometimes I Cry" was recorded by R&B singer Eric Benet. His version of the song was nominated for a Grammy Award this past year for Best Traditional R&B Performance.