For the second week in a row, Glendale’s Jordin Sparks brought the house down Tuesday night on “American Idol,” prompting judge Randy Jackson to call her performance of the pop standard “You’ll Never Walk Alone” one of the “best vocals of any contestant ever” in the Fox singing competition’s six seasons.
The final six contestants performed “songs that inspire” on a night when the first 50 million votes cast would earn $5 million for the starving in African and the U.S. Sparks, who performed last, wowed Jackson and judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell and had the rest of the crowd on its feet before the song was over.
Adbul said Sparks did “a lovely job,” calling the 17-year-old “glorious,” and the notoriously frank Cowell called the singer’s performance “brilliant” and said that, even though “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is nearly 60 years old, “I think you’d have a hit record with that.”
Also impressive was favorite Melinda Doolittle, who performed Faith Hill’s “There Will Come a Day,” prompting Cowell to call the contestant’s performance a “vocal master class” and Abdul to gush, “There’s no one like you – you’re magical.”
Contenders LaKisha Jones, who sang season four winner Fantasia Barrino’s “I Believe,” and Blake Lewis, who performed John Lennon’s “Imagine,” had a rougher go of it with the judges, with Jones being chastised by Cowell for “shouting” and Lewis told by Jackson his performance was “just all right.”
Jones and Lewis were in the bottom three last week and could find themselves there again during the results show Wednesday night.
Getting better each week have been Chris Richardson, who performed Eric Clapton’s “Change the World,” and Phil Stacey, who was impressive in singing Garth Brooks’ “The Change.” Jackson told Richardson that he was now “in it to win it,” and Cowell said Stacey “could do very well in this competition because I think people like you.”
This week's two-hour results show airs 7 p.m. Wednesday on Fox.