After four months, there are four left on season 11 of American Idol. Who will emerge victorious? It’s a toss-up if ever there was one, especially after Wednesday’s two-theme episode, during which all of the last contestants standing -- Phillip Phillips, Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanagh -- brought their A-game. Viewers saw that on TV, what didn’t they catch? Read on for a view from inside the Idol-dome.
1. The judges’ entrance is welcomed with enthusiastic applause as Steven Tyler shuffles his way across the stage and Randy Jackson gives the rocker his proper due, bowing down as if to say, “we’re not worthy.”
2. Phillip’s video segment, during which the viewers were able to relive his audition in Savannah, is greeted with applause nearly as loud as the opening. To assess the decibel level, Jennifer Lopez turns around and listens in awe.
3. With the last notes of Phillip’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” still ringing, Hollie claps for her fellow finalist from the side of the stage. It’s break time next and, as the stylists drape a necklace over her neck, the audience can hear Ray Chew practicing the beginning chords of Journey’s “Faithfully.”
4. Standing solo at center stage, Hollie turns around to watch her own video package featuring a painful first audition that ended in tears. She would later tell THR, “It was good to watch because I see a lot of growth.”
5. As Hollie sings the Journey classic, Randy is feeling it, but Jennifer and Steven seem distracted, even chit-chatty at the judges’ table. No matter, by the end, J Lo comes around, and even gets a little emotional, as Randy show when he faux fans her back to normal body temperature.
6. How does host Ryan Seacrest say job well done? With a double fist-bump and a supportive pat on the back. Hollie, all smiles after her first performance, seems to appreciate it.
7. With a minute left in the break, Ryan runs through lines on the TelePrompter. Meanwhile, some in the audience can spot a choir lurking in the background. It must be Joshua Ledet’s turn!
8. After Josh’s hands-to-the-sky rendition of “You Raise Me Up,” some 12 people make their way to the stage while Jessica climbs atop what looks like an amp but is actually a structure made of suitcases.
9. Jessica’s “Steal Away” leads to the first duet of the night, Maroon 5’s “This Love” as sung by Phillip and Josh. Seconds before the song kicks off, Josh has a slight stumble on the stage, while afterwards, Phillip seems to be suffering from a severe case of cottonmouth.
10. Has Cirque Du Soleil arrived at the Idol studio? Is Pink making a cameo? Turns out the bungie-like fabric swings are for Jessica and Hollie, each of whom gets one initial push while Ryan is still introducing their duet of “Eternal Flame.”
11. A group number loosely tied to the forthcoming musical Rock of Ages is next but first, a video segment, during which the guys are encouraged by the film’s director Adam Shankman to kiss a poster of Jennifer that’s hanging in the mansion. The judge in turn locks eyes with Shankman and gestures thank you.
12. The four pull off Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl Like You” faithfully and as they leave the stage, Hollie and Josh grab a quick hug.
13. “Fifteen seconds, I need a host!” yells stage manager Debbie Williams. As if on cue, Ryan darts out from behind the stage.
14. Ryan’s faux-proposal gag with Julianne Hough elicits gasps from the audience, especially the girls standing in the mosh pit. Alas, there would be no wedding proposal today.
15. Meanwhile, Phillip does a quick wardrobe change (read: he puts a new nondescript shirt on – this one tan-ish), straps on his guitar and makes his way towards center stage.
16. Phillip’s take on Damien Rice’s “Volcano” puts the audience in a somber mood, which makes for a perfect segue to Josh Ledet’s cover of the James Brown classic “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Only this crowd had no idea what to expect, as the soul singer took the tune to church and beyond, with the judges practically jumping out of their seats yelling, “Preach!”
17. Here’s how you know you just nailed a winning performance: when the security guards are grooving. And were they ever for Joshua Ledet.
18. Jessica gets the last spot on Wednesday night and chooses an ambitious closer, Jennifer Holliday’s "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." She gives it all she’s got, but the judges seem just the least bit hesitant when it comes to a standing ovation.
And there you have it, Idol Worshipers. Any idea as to what might happen next? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us at @Idol_Worship.