American Idol Joshua Ledet
Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips will battle it out for the American Idol crown next Tuesday, and the new American Idol will be revealed the following night during the big two-hour-plus finale. Make sure to set your DVR’s correctly; the episode will run over with an extra seven minutes. Current American Idol champ Scotty McCreery and pop superstar Rihanna, plus a slew of surprise guests, are set to appear.

The final performance themes, according to producer Nigel Lythgoe will be: 1. The finalist’s favorite song of the series. 2. A song chosen by Simon Fuller. 3. The finalist’s new single.

Nigel Lythgoe took to Twitter hours after the top 3 results show last night to reveal his favorite Idol contestant. He tweeted, “I promised I would reveal my favorite when they were voted off the show so….. it was Joshua. However, I am thrilled for Jessica & Phillip.” No wonder Joshua got so many standing ovations from the judges! Nigel also claims that Phillip and Jessica did not dominate the voting week to week. Joshua Ledet, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, and Elise Testone all topped the voting at various times.

Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week, selling 120,00 more copies. It’s Carrie’s third No. 1, but first to spend more than a week at the top of the chart. Next week may feature another Idol alum in the top spot. According to industry analysts, Adam Lambert could have his first No. 1 album next week when his sophomore record, Trespassing, is released. Don’t get too excited — an Idol threepeat could always be spoiled by the ubiquitous 21 from Adele.

Idol judge Steven Tyler and his band, Aerosmith, and Carrie Underwood are set to perform at the annual Walmart shareholder’s meeting in Fayetteville, Ark. Underwood and an unnamed “special guest” are set to perform at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, and Aerosmith and Cheap Trick will perform at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30.

The judges and Jimmy Iovine may have found it snoozy, but Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas told the Hollywood Reporter that he liked Phillip Phillip’s top 3 performance of the band’s hit, “Disease.” “I appreciate what he did with it. If you’re going to be an Idol, you need to be more than just a cover artist and I think he made it his own.”

Speaking of ringing endorsements, Jessica Sanchez has gotten the seal of approval from Philippine president, Benigno Aquino III, who was happy when he learned she made the top 3. “Hopefully she reaches the top,” he said. Jessica has both Filipino and Latino heritage.

Jordin Sparks joinsCarrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson as a performer at the Billboard Music Awards, set to air on Sunday on ABC, according to a press release. Jordin will have the honor of singing with John Legend in a tribute to the late Whitney Houston, who will be honored posthumously with the Billboard Millennium Award. Jordin co-starred with Houston in the upcoming remake of the movie Sparkle.

Ousted top 4 contestant Hollie Cavanagh made the New York City media rounds this week. Here she is on Monday, performing the beautiful “Bleeding Love” on Live! With Kelly.

Here’s a fun fact about 18-year-old Hollie you may not have known. She only began singing in earnest at age 15! She revealed this startling fact in an interview with Idol alum, Constantine Maroulis, for FUSE TV.

Ousted top 7 contestant Deandre Brackensick sang the National Anthem at a west coast martial arts competition last weekend. That sweet falsetto was in full force on those last couple of notes!

David Cook spoke with the Hollywood Reporter last week about parting ways with his post-Idol record label, RCA, releasing music as an independent, and his possible move to Nashville.

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