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A look at Joshua Ledets American Idol Participation

Joshua Ledet was one of the final contestants in the eleventh season of American Idol, along with Jessica Sanchez and Philip Phillips, before he was voted out during the semi-finals. Initially touted by many as the potential winner, he is just 20 years old, but he has around 17 years of singing in public under his belt. Born in Westlake, Louisiana, his father introduced him to singing at his local church at the age of 3 and, loving the attention, he has continued to sing ever since. He is a student at Lamar University and works for the local police department, but it is singing that is in his blood.

According to wetpaint.com, he has long been a fan of American Idol and finally plucked up the courage to audition. His first attempt at auditioning was not successful, however; in the tenth season of American Idol he didn’t get past the audition stage. The judges were impressed by his potential and suggested he returned to try again, which he did. Fortunately, this time he wowed all the judges with his song choices and almost every performance he has given since has been highly praised. 

Ledet’s voice is clearly influenced by his Gospel training, but, because of careful song choices, he manages to make his talent applicable to a much wider audience than just fans of Gospel music. His ability to emote ensures that he is a powerful presence on stage, seemingly with very little effort. However, despite the praise that has been heaped upon him, he still has a very humble approach to the competition. Naturally shy, he is always grateful for praise that he is given and, as a result, viewers have been touched by the modesty he exhibits towards his natural talent.

Joshua Ledet has given a number of outstanding performances during the live sessions of American Idol, but there are three that stand out, for the emotion that he showed when singing, the quality of his voice and the rave reviews from the judges. In Part 3 of the Hollywood rounds, he performed ‘Jar of Hearts’ by Christina Perri and, despite the fact that it is a song originally sung by a woman, he really made his mark on the song. 

It is, however, quite possibly ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke, for which Ledet will be most remembered. As Randy Jackson said afterwards, “You took your time, you let it marinate and then you burst it out at the end.” A final cream of the crop performance came in the guise of ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ by James Brown. Randy Jackson was effusive with his praise:  “I think it’s one the best performances in the history of any singing show ever!” Steven Tyler went one step further, claiming that he had never “heard anything like it” in his life. 

There seemed little doubt that Joshua Ledet should win season 11 of American Idol. As Erin Martin wrote for Hollywood Reporter, “Jessica Sanchez’s Beyonce-esque vibrato is no match for the Louisiana singer’s passionate stage presence.” Moreover, the judges were unerringly on his side. However, as past seasons have proved, it isn’t always the best singer who wins – sometimes it is the most popular and that person is often the underdog. In this year’s show, that is exactly what has happened and the final showdown will now be between Jessica Sanchez and Philip Phillips.

Even though Ledet is out of the show, he ought to have an amazing career in front of him, provided that he can battle with his natural shyness and become pushy enough to get what he wants. If he can overcome that, there is no telling what he will be able to achieve.