'American Idol' Recap: Judges Save Jessica Sanchez
'American Idol' Recap: Judges Save Jessica Sanchez

With the talented crop of singers that is "American Idol's" top seven, one had to think the judges could have been considering using their one and only save from elimination Thursday night (Apr. 12).

But one may never have guessed they'd show their hand so early.

After Ryan Seacrest revealed a bottom three of Joshua Ledet, Elise Testone and Jessica Sanchez, the anticipation of using the save was palpable on the face of Steven Tyler. "We're gonna use our card tonight," he told Seacrest, "especially with an outcome like this."

So even when Jessica Sanchez, the young diva with a big voice, was revealed as the lowest vote-getter, she didn't have long to sing for her spot on the show. Almost immediately, the judges stormed the stage, engulfing Jessica while Randy Jackson proclaimed, "This girl is one of the best singers in America! Ever! Are you kidding me? Everybody, please vote for the best! Come on!" The save was made. Shades of last season's Casey Abrams, when the judges halted his performance to use the save just moments in.

The bottom three of Joshua, Elise and Jessica is certainly an interesting (and fairly expected) outcome and commentary on the current state of "Idol." While Joshua and Jessica especially are arguably the season's best remaining singers in terms of raw talent, they suffer, quite simply, from not appealing to the demographic that votes for Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon each week, despite if one of them had a bad week (such as Phillip Wednesday night).

Of course, it may also not help Jessica that the judges have been uniform and unanimous in their praise of her this season, touting her as the one to beat and one with an incredibly bright future in the field. An abundance of praise does not always work wonders for those receiving it, and can sometimes leave a bad taste for those watching at home (Facebook notification: Pia Toscano and Jennifer Hudson like this).

Speaking of J-Hud, the "Idol" alum returned to the stage Thursday night to promote new single "Think Like a Man," with featured guest Ne-Yo. Hudson, now a Grammy and Oscar-winning performer, is proof that the path is not over even if one is eliminated from the competition early. Jessica and Joshua should take some notes from her, should they find themselves in the same position next week (and, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they are).

Season 10's James Durbin also returned with "Higher than Heaven," a loud, in-your-face power rocker viewers came to expect from him last season. He may never reach the highs of similarly-voiced Adam Lambert, but it looks and sounds like the Durbinator's doing pretty well for himself.

Next week, all seven singers return to perform two solos each. Another two-hour show, but if that means no more of those dreadful duets, I'm all for it.

I know you guys will have a lot to say about this one. Was the bottom three the right one? Why are some of the show's most praised receiving the lowest number of votes? Does anyone have anything for Phillip or Colton no matter what? Comment, people!