The four remaining American Idol contestants — Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips and Hollie Cavanagh — are not making it easy on voters, or on the judges. After Phillips' touching performance of Damien Rice's "Volcano," Ledet's unforgettable take on James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," and Sanchez's inevitable "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson glowed with admiration and shrugged their shoulders as if to say, "What can we say?"

Of course, they did try to throw some words in there, too, but seemed unable to come up with a hyperbole that they have not already used. "Another winning performance," "just over the top," Tyler said of Sanchez, and of Ledet: "Neither man nor woman has ever sang that good or with that much compassion on this show, ever. I can go home right now. I never heard anything like that in my life."

But it wasn't just Tyler who was trying to one-up previous applause. "I think it was the best performance in the history of any singing show!" Jackson said after Ledet sang. "I saw the Lord," Lopez said, taking her praise to a literal level.

Only Cavanagh drew criticism for her rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," unless you count the duet between Cavanagh and Sanchez of "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles, which the judges just did not like. But it would be a mistake to count out Cavanagh at this point — she's got some loyal fans who might galvanize to save her yet again.

Watch Phillips' performance of "Volcano" here:

Read more about this season of American Idol here:

RECAP: 'American Idol' Top 5 Duke It Out

RECAP: 'American Idol' Welcomes Lana Del Rey, Boots Erika Van Pelt