Unjust Ouster on ‘Idol’ Semifinals

Of the performances by the three remaining semifinalists on “American Idol” this week, judges had some minor complaints about only two of them – one or two of their three songs each weren’t big enough, or didn’t have enough “wow” moments, or were just OK.

With a strong, gospel-fueled soul voice, only Joshua Ledet escaped criticism, getting kudos all around.

So it may have been a shock that he was the one eliminated Thursday.

He got the least amount of votes of the three, leaving teenaged Jessica Sanchez and mellow dude Phillip Phillips to go to the finals next week — where Phillips will undoubtedly win. He might have been in the bottom three previously, but Sanchez was eliminated completely, only to be the first female contestants to be saved by judges. From the screams in the live audience, it’s clear that young female fans who are likely the most active “Idol” voters are enamored with him the way they were with other bland, unthreatening, fuzzy-chinned singers from past seasons, from David Cook to Kris Allen to Lee DeWyze, who have gone on to careers of utter obscurity.

But that’s next week.

This week, Ledet took his unjust ouster and channeled it into perhaps the greatest kiss-off performance in “Idol” history – a version of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” so powerful it shook the audience, the shocked judges and engineers who kept the show going another minute or two over time to capture it.

Of the winners of “American Idol” to date, there’s been one African-American male, two African-American females, two white women and four consecutive white male winners.

With talent like Ledet’s walking out the door, it might make you think this is a white man’s man’s man’s world.

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