updated 05/02/2012 AT 10:15 PM ET
•originally published 05/02/2012 AT 10:30 PM ET
The finish line is in sight – and as the final five contestants fight to be the winner of American Idol, the competition is fierce. Just like last week, the contestants brought top-notch performances, tackling classic songs from the 1960s and the British pop songbook.
No one seemed to fight harder than Hollie Cavanagh. After another appearance in the bottom last week, she delivered Wednesday with a high-energy version of Ike and Tina Turner’s rock-soul rave-up “River Deep-Mountain High,” which found her shimmying and shaking across the stage while wearing sky-high heels. For her second tune, she brought tender emotion to Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love.”
“It was a different type of Hollie out there tonight,” Jennifer Lopez said of her first song. Randy Jackson also called her this season’s “dark horse,” adding that her rebound was perfect timing in the competition.
Phillip Phillips, who took a risk with a Dave Matthews number last week, continued to gamble with his song choices on Wednesday, offering up a revamped version of The Box Tops’ “The Letter” and an easy-going run through the Zombies’ “Time of the Season.” Both were relatively obscure songs compared to other contestant’s choices.
Still, the judges continued to praise him for his individuality – “You Phillip Phillips’d it,” said Lopez – and the crowd reserved some of the biggest cheers for the man who has emerged as this season’s heartthrob. (His female fans might be disappointed: Ryan Seacrest revealed that Phillips’s girlfriend was in the audience supporting him.)
Joshua Ledet and Skylar Laine also received high praise from the panel. But the only piece of criticism tonight was given to Jessica Sanchez, who avoided the bottom three last week. Jackson didn’t love her version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” which was also performed by Ike and Tina Turner. “This performance was barely okay,” he said. “You took on the biggest dragon of the night, [Tina Turner]. It didn t quite sit with me.”
Still, she rebounded with her second song, Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful.” “This girl’s in the top of the leader board right now,” said Jackson.
After Wednesday, it looks as if the Idol crown is still within everyone’s reach.