Harry Connick Jr. calls Jackie Cole (a.k.a Jax) "amazing" after her standout performance

By Patrick Gomez
Updated May 06, 2015 10:35 PM
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Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

http://cdn.playwire.com/bolt/js/zeus/embed.jsJackie Cole may only be 19 years old, but she’s already enough of a diva to go by just one name – Jax.

The American Idol contestant has been a front-runner since early on in season 14, and Wednesday night she proved she deserves to be the only girl left in the competition. Fresh from her hometown visit to East Brunswick, New Jersey, Jax returned to the competition and wowed the audience with a quiet, emotional version of Evanescence’s “My Immortal.”

Judge Harry Connick Jr. called the performance “amazing,” but he left the major critique to fellow panelist Jennifer Lopez.

“That’s a big song and it gets big and you chose to do it really, really soft and intimate … there’s a humility and a confidence that you have, which I think is integral for a superstar,” Lopez told Jax. “You could have chosen to do the biggest song in the world and you could have just blown it out, but instead you [chose] to do something honest.”

But for Jax, the choice to perform the song in that way stemmed from her desire to dedicate it to her friend from home, Jeff, who died in a car accident last year.

“He was a great, great, great, great person, who really brought our whole community together,” she told PEOPLE after her performance. “So I just wanted to connect with him that way. I kind of just blocked out the cameras and blocked out the audience and hoped that he heard me.”

The performance was good enough to score Jax a spot in the Final 3, which means she will compete against Clark Beckham, 22, and Nick Fradiani, 29, for a spot in the finals next week.

“I’m in complete shock right now I did not, in a million years, think I would ever be this far in the competition,” Jax said. “I don’t have enough words to explain how thankful and blessed I feel right now. I cannot believe I’m in the top three of American Idol!”

The Final 2 will be revealed Tuesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. on Fox and the season 14 winner will be announced Wednesday, May 13 at 8 p.m.