Tonight, The American Idol 14 Top 3 will be revealed. The contestants sing THREE song tonight: A hometown ode chosen by the finalist, Judges Pick and mentor, Scott Borchetta’s pick. Click this link for Song Spoilers.
Clark Beckham, Jax, Nick Fradiani and Rayvon Owen…who will move onto next week’s finale? Plus, clips from last week’s Hometown Visits!
Four homecomings! The show kicks off with clips. HOMETOWN HEROES. I LOVE hometown visits. Cut to Ryan Seacrest on stage with the Top 4. Only 3 will move on! I miss those cold openings from the old days with the contestants lined up next to Seacrest.
Ryan introduces the judges, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr, describing them as “talent scouts.” Hm. The chairs are BLUE tonight. Ryan describes how things will work. Round One is Scott Borchetta’s choice, Round Two Hometown dedications from the contestants and Round three, Judges Choice.
ALL FOUR CONTESTANTS WILL COMPETE IN ALL 3 ROUNDS NO GREEN LIGHT UP CHAIRS. Hallelujah. Results will be revealed at the END OF THE SHOW.
Scott Borchetta Round
Scott sits with each contestant, explains why he picked the song, and then hands it it them, written on an American Idol card, like a surprise.
Rayvon Owen – Want to Want Me by Jason Derulo – Scott was inspired by the mentors, and all the things Rayvon did this season. He wanted to hand him a song that is “right now.” He’s sure Rayvon will knock it out of the park. Of course, Jason only sang it on Idol a couple of weeks ago! It’s falsetto right out of the gate. Whoa. The high notes are sounding kind of strangled. Also, Rayvon and Groove don’t go together. He’s working the stage, his typical smiley self. But he is CLEARLY out of his comfort zone. Keith and Jennifer both thought it was a great song choice. Harry felt it was the best uptempo song he’s done so far. Really Harry? I was not feeling that. Rayvon feels his emotional hometown round will be the most challenging. – Download from iTunes
Clark Beckham – Beautiful Day by U2 – Apparently, they had a nice chat after last week’s unpleasantness. Scott reminds Clark that he wanted to be pushed out of his comfort zone. He was VERY excited when he saw his “epic” song choice. (yes, he knows the song). His lower register is tough. This isn’t good. He’s so far out of his comfort zone, it’s awkward. Like really really awkward. It’s a rangy song. He’s having problems on both ends. So many pitch problems. Wow. Jennifer felt it was really suited to his voice. WHAT? “A really good performance.” Harry thought it was “pretty good.” But he gave the band the most credit. Keith felt he should have risen up a little more to the band. The judges are going easy on Clark. That was one of his worst performances of the season. I bet Scott KNEW he would blow it. TIN FOIL HAT AFFIXED. Ryan Seacrest namechecks Lee DeWyze. That was his coronation single, remember?
Ah look! The Top 12 are back on stage! Missed them!
Nick Fradiani – “Because the Night” – “We got the boss!” says Nick. It’s one of his fav songs. Of course, Scott chooses a song that’s squarely in Nick’s comfort zone. And finally, we have a solid performance tonight. Nick is just EXUDING confidence and even a little swag. He’s no Bruce Springsteen (or even Patti Smith!). “Because the Night” is first and foremost about sex. His version was a bit vanilla in that regard, but he did what he needed to do–he’s establishing himself as a credible front man. Nick continues his march to the crown. “I thought it was fantastic man,” says Harry. “I’m seeing more and more of you…That was strong.” When Keith hears his tone, he’s excited. Jennifer thought he sang it great, but maybe he didn’t connect to the lyrics. – Scott Borchetta’s Pick iTunes
Jax – My Generation by the Who – Scott calls it the original punk rock song. “You get me,” says Jax. OMG is she wearing an English flag as a cape? She throws it off. It must be just the colors. I love her plaid pants! I still don’t get this song pick. Sung by anyone other than the Who, the tune come off as silly posturing. It’s not helping her reputation in that regard. Her vocal is strong and controlled, despite running around the stage. So A+ for that. If Scott wanted to hand her a punk classic, there were better picks. Some early Pretenders would have been perfect. This song needs a lot more crashing over the top ridiculousness to be even taken a little bit seriuosly. Keith and Jennifer LOVE it. “It was perfect for you,” says Jennifer. Harry felt she made the most of her opportunity here. He calls it her best performance. WHAT? The judges are overpraising like crazy tonight. – iTunes
Round 1: Jennifer gives it to Jax “You can feel the finale on her.”
Nick Fradiani – He’s on the way to Connecticut. He never left home, despite his musical ambitions. Watch Nick do the weather! He plays a little basketball. Aw. Italian style Sunday dinner on Thursday for Nick at home. YUM. It’s off to Nick’s high school. Ted Kennedy Jr. in the house! Nick scoops some ice cream. “This is a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life,” says Nick. Dad and Nick’s band play with him on stage, performing mostly originals. Dad is so proud! The two have a sweet moment.
“Back Home” by Andy Grammer – This is a great GREAT choice for Nick. The song has that Irish folky thing going on and is very much like the music his band, Beach Avenue plays. Nick is on fire tonight. He works the stage without his guitar. He’s like “I’M HERE TO WIN PEOPLE MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT.” Jlo says, “Each week you get better and better…a really great performance.” Harry doesn’t think a critique is warranted. “That was very strong AGAIN.” Dad is a big Keith Urban fan!
Clark Beckham – Nashville is a beautiful City! Clark sets up on third and Broadway to do a little busking. The Christian school he attended is next. His soccer jersey is retired. He plays a little. He’s winded! The Lee University campus choir send him a video, apologizing for not making it. Home sweet home. He thanks his parents for raising him right. Aw Dad is getting teary during the parade. I love when the parents cry. Oh look. The choir showed up! What a nice surprise.
“Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding – Clark is back in his wheelhouse, and it shows. He sits at the piano for this Otis Redding classic. I wonder if Clark is having voice issues? He sounds strained on the high notes. There are pitch issues. He nails the final glory note, though! A solid, if unspectacular performance from Clark. It makes up for the U2 disaster. Harry felt like he got to know Clark via his hometown visit. “Nice performance,” he says. Keith wants more “humanity” and “angst” from Clark. He still struggles to dig as deep as “Dock of the Bay” requires. Jlo loves the hometown week. “This is your soul…I thought it was a really good performance,” she says.
Rayvon Owen – After squeaking through, yet again, Rayvon heads to Richmond. The whole family, including his adorable nephew, head to the house he grew up in. Next, they drop by his high school, The Center for the Arts. Next, it’s off to Richmond City Hall. They’ve done this before! Elliott Yamin had his hometown visit in Richmond in 2006. And he’s there to greet him! Elliott’s visit was THE GREATEST IDOL HOMETOWN VISIT EVER. Elliott was really close to HIS mom too! Parallels. He sang “Believe” and dedicated it to his mom again. She’s crying.
“As” by Stevie Wonder – He’s been singing this song for ages. Why are the backup singers doing all of the heavy lifting on the chorus? But the verses are pretty great. He’s swinging for once! A little too much ornamentation. He doesn’t need to do that! But it’s sweet. And he’s very animated on stage, giving a little kick to finish. Love his outfit, too. Keith thought it was effortless “It all felt right to me,” says Jlo, calling him a “cat with nine lives.” Harry thinks he looks great when he moves. He’s wanted that. “What a night tonight!” he says. Harry asks the crowd to boo Ryan so he can see how it feels. That was pointless.
Oh. I get it. These Ford videos are featuring Social Media stars. This week it’s some Vine dude. I honestly don’t are who any of these people are.
Jax – Jax is Back! In New Jersey, that is. Aw. Her little doggie is cute. Her dad reminds her not to forget where she came from. “You’re competing against giants,” he says, reminding her to stay grounded and humble. He compares her to Seabiscuit. “You can’t lose,” he says. She heads to her old middle school. Jax has been home schooling high school. The fire trucks are out! The concert is massive! She sings “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” She’s overwhelmed by the love of her hometown.
“My Immortal” by Evanescence – Jax’s brother promises to wear a suit from Ryan’s collection if Jax is in the finale. Jax sits high atop a glittery platform and delivers a beautiful vocal. This is the Jax people love. Vulnerable, emotional, stripped down. That was glorious! A lovely, restrained performance. One of her best. Jlo loves her humility and confidence, which is integral for a star. “Never forget what it’s like playing on that soccer field. I think you’re amazing.” Harry literally has nothing to say, it was so good. Oh they’re running behind. No time for Keith. Jlo took up all the time. Harry yells at her jokingly for running over the clock.
Round 2: Keith – Rayvon took it!
WHAT DID JENNIFER SAY! She was just bleeped big time. The camera even cut to the audience.
Clark Beckham – Earned it by The Wknd from 50 Shades of Gray – Dressed up in a suit, sans instrument, the old Clark is finally back. Without a piano or guitar to distract him, he focuses on his vocal, delivering a beautifully phrased performance. AND HE’S SINGING A MODERN SONG. See, he COULD be commercial, if he had a mind for that kind of success. Really, one of his BEST performances in WEEKS. The crowd is going crazy. Harry felt the end was too loud, but it was strong. Keith says he heard and felt things from Clark we haven’t heard yet. Jlo got the goosies! – iTunes
Rayvon Owen – “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker – This is very pretty. Maybe TOO pretty. Joe’s version is all raspy. deeply moving and vulnerable. I wanted more edge and urgency from Rayvon. I do like the way her re-arranged it to fit his style. Jennifer wanted him to sing to his mom again, because something happens. She wanted variation, via emotion. She’s making an excellent point. Harry disagrees. He felt the emotion.
Jax – Misery Business by Paramore – Ryan brings Jax’s brother on stage, and allows him to wear his suit and introduce her. Cute. Jax sings, with an acoustic guitar player beside her. She riffs and plays off of him. The arrangement has a cool acoustic vibe, which I like! It allows Jax to play with the melody. She gets a little shouty and talky in parts, but that’s a quibble. Keith felt she sang phenomenally, but he didn’t like the arrangement. Oh. The judges wanted her to rock out. Harry didn’t like it either. He felt she used the guitar player as a crutch. She needs to command the stage. Oh. They envisioned one thing, and she gave them another. It was flawed, but I liked that she switched it up.
Nick Fradiani – “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain – Keith thinks a lot of people won’t know this song. What? Of course they will! Nick gets the pimp spot. Of course he does. Eh. This is a lazy choice. Such an overdone song. There’s no change to the arrangement, which results in a very nice, but karaoke performance. Not a pimp spot worthy, by any stretch. But the judges are thrilled, of course. Harry thought it was a great vocal, he felt he connected to the lyrics. “You nailed that song.” Keith felt he could have made it a hit. “You’re going! You’re going!” says Jlo, noting how he’s gained so much confidence.
Round 3: Harry gives the round to Nick. Nope. Clark won that. C’mon.
Results! Jennifer doesn’t feel like there is a clear winner this year. She calls it the “battle of the artists.” Anybody could take it.
Ryan is calling them out safe:
Eliminated: Rayvon Owen – Goodbye package for Rayvon. I missed these. Get rid of the judges and twitter saves. THIS IS HOW THE RESULTS SHOULD HAVE PROCEEDED EACH AND EVERY WEEK. Noticed the ELEVATED quality of the performances! That’s because the finalists aren’t squirming in their seats, waiting to be called.
Vote via Google (Search for “Idol Vote”), Facebook & AmericanIdol.com – Click for Info
Clark Beckham – 1-866-436-5709 – Text 9 to 21523
Nick Fradiani – 1-866-436-5706 – Text 6 to 21523
Jax – 1-866-436-5707 – Text 7 to 21523