updated 05/16/2012 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/16/2012 AT 10:35 PM ET
Much of Wednesday’s American Idol’s performance episode was filled with footage of the top three – Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips – on their hometown visits. It was touching footage of these young performers at home feeling like superstars. But who’s going to cash in their Idol ticket for a chance at super-stardom?
They all have potential and they all sang three songs each on Wednesday during three rounds of competition. Song choice was selected by the judges, followed by the contestants, followed by mentor and vocal coach Jimmy Iovine.
Here’s how it went down
Round One: Judges’ Choice
Joshua performed Etta James’s “I’d Rather Be Blind” like “a dream come true,” according to Steven Tyler. “Out of 70,000,” the judge said, “there’s only one American Idol and you sang like that one tonight.”
“You’ll be the last one standing here, I believe,” Steven said of Jessica’s version of Mariah Carey’s “My All,” which Jennifer Lopez selected. “I could tell in the middle of it … it was hard,” she said, “but you did it so beautifully.”
Phillip sang “Beggin’ ” by Madcon, which was Steven’s choice. “I’m really hoping you write your own songs because you could be the new age Boss,” Steven said, referring to Bruce Springsteen.
Round Two: Contestants’ Choice
Joshua sang “Imagine” by John Lennon. “It’s almost like you’re preaching when you sing,” Jennifer said. “The way you’re willing to dig deep … it was makes you very special [and] that takes courage.”
Jessica tackled Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” which could have been a risk for a less talented singer. But Steven was pleased: “You just took a great song and made it greater,” he said.
Phillip sang “Disease” by Matchbox Twenty but it wasn’t as well received. “I didn’t feel like it was the wow performance,” Jennifer said. “I’m sorry baby.” The crowd booed but Randy agreed. “It was just such a subdued moment from you,” he said.
Round Three: Jimmy’s Choice
Jimmy picked Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama” for Joshua, who gave it all he had, according to Randy. “You have laid everything on this stage that there is to lay,” the judge said. “That’s what being a great artists is about.” Jennifer put it this way: “You have this perfect marriage of knowing exactly what you’re doing and letting completing go at the same time.”
Jessica was dealt “I’ll Be There” by Jackson Five, which was “the perfect song [for] the perfect voice,” according to Steven. But Randy said, “I didn’t love it. … There was never a moment moment.”
And to close out the show, Phillip hit it out of the park with “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger, which earned him a standing ovation from the judges. Steven said, “You just showed you’ve got all that passion wrapped up inside you,” while Randy called it “the perfect song, at the perfect time and your best performance on this show ever.”
So, who’s going to be in the finale? We’ll find out tomorrow night. But tell us what you think in the comments below!
To buy PEOPLE’s new book, American Idol: Where Are They Now?, which catches up with every finalist from the first ten years, go to people.com/americanidolbook