Joshua Ledet, "Imagine"
Okay, so the thing about "Imagine" is that it's Iain's favorite song. And I already had tears streaming down my face watching Joshua Ledet sing this, immediately after a video showing him visiting his hometown in Louisiana, a place that clearly knows poverty—but then Iain said something about the song connecting John Lennon growing up poor in Liverpool, and Iain growing up poor in Edinburgh in the next generation, and Joshua Ledet growing up poor (or close to it) in Louisiana in the generation after that, and all the people still imagining, and it was at that point I could barely even see the Very Important Texts I was sending to Jessica aka scATX, because my eyeballs had exploded.
For his final performance, Joshua Ledet did the song chosen for him by Jimmy Iovine:
Joshua Ledet, "No More Drama"
Do you even remember Mary J. Blige doing this song at the Grammys? I didn't think anyone could touch that, ever, but hello let me introduce you to Joshua Ledet.
I WILL BUY ALL THE ALBUMS! ALL OF THEM!
Btw, I loved the cuts to his BFF Hollie in the audience, looking so mightily proud of him. Tres adorbz.
His third performance of the night, the song chosen by the judges, is here, which is the Etta James song "I'd Rather Be Blind." The imagery in the song is super problematic, but he sings it well. It's an old-fashioned kind of song, but it doesn't sound old-fashioned to me when he sings it. That's partly a testament to his skill, and his ability to update something just enough, while staying true to what makes it special, to make it sound modern, but it's also partly a testament to performers like Adele and other "throwback artists," who have made a space for that sound on the radio again.