The American Idol 13 Top 4 will perform THREE songs tonight. The theme is Love: Break-Ups and Make-Ups. We’ll be live blogging a big night of performances right here. Stick around!
Caleb’s interview faux pas isn’t going to hurt him one bit. The judges revved up the pimp mobile and were relentless in their quest to make sure we knew who to vote for. The producers obviously want a Caleb Johnson/Jena Irene finale. At this point, I guess they aren’t concerned with who the most marketable contestants are. That would probably be Jena and Alex. Caleb is going to end up in a touring company of Rock of Ages, or fronting a legacy band in Las Vegas. He’s NOT a relevant performer.
However, he and Jena would probably deliver the most entertaining finale. With ratings the way they are, the producers don’t have the luxury to consider the big picture. While the judges were pimping away, Jessica, and Alex to a lesser degree, made it easier for them. I am completely confused by Jessica’s first two song choices tonight. Two upbeat pop songs that didn’t suit her at all? Is she trying to get eliminated? She made up for her mistakes with “You and I” but it was too little too late. She had an uphill battle this week, and needed to come out swinging. I don’t understand Alex performing 3 mid-tempo songs. He should have busted out a ballad tonight. Maybe he’s saving a silver bullet for next week when he really needs it.
Caleb had one so so performance, a solid rocker and a phenomenal ballad. His performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed” was the first time he pulled off a tender ballad in a convincing way. It’s one of his best performances of the competition.
The iTunes songs chosen to record were completely wrong for Caleb and Jena. Way to completely miss an opportunity for a best seller. Who is going to download “Travelin Man” and “Heartbreaker?” Oy. What a bust.
While I’m still mostly digging this judges panel, I wish they would shut the hell up when they aren’t critiquing a contestant. The high jinks really are not that amusing. I thought Jennifer was going to jump out of her skin when Ryan came up behind her at the top of the show and put his hand on her shoulders. Good times.
We begin with a recap of last week’s TWIST THAT WASN’T. And we relive the delicious backfiring of last week’s attempt to save Sam Woolf again.
“Tonight we pay tribute to all things love,” says Ryan. “But unfortunately this group is going to have to break up.”
Ryan is wearing a little scruff. Apparently, that’s a thing. The finale is only two weeks away! Here come the Top 4. The Hometown visit is on the line! Only 3 will get the chance. Here come the judges. Jlo is so pretty in pink. Harry gives Ryan a French cheek kiss. Not even in the air! Now, a discussion about Ryan’s scruff. How scintillating.
For the first time ever, the Top 4 will take on 3 songs each. Tonight’s it’s Make Up, Break Ups and Dedications. OH God. For those of you with big screen TVs, you can take selfies with each of the Idols. Just pose next to the idol and snap!
Caleb Johnson – “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi – Breakups – Caleb talks about calling and calling and calling a girl he liked. When he star 67’d her, she hung up on him. The performance is competent, but a little boring. He works the judges table, getting right up into Keith’s face. Then he works the crowd. That was just a’ight for me. For you. It’s a little karaoke, dude. Keith thought it was killer. He liked at the end, how he took it to his own place. The “Caleb Slayer,” Keith calls it. Jlo says Caleb is ready for primetime. Harry thought it was fantastic. Harry notes, astutely that Caleb uses the same licks. He needs to develop some new adlibs. But a great way to start the show, he says. – Call 1 855 4 IDOL 13(1 855 443 6513) or Text 13 to 83676
Jessica Meuse – “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson – Breakups – The song is SO true, says Jess. She’s had many unsupportive boyfriends. Randy says she could tear the roof off the sucka (shut up Randy) – Oh. This is a hard song to cover. She’s playing electric guitar which adds to the cool factor, but her lower register is problematic. She’s pitchy. Not convinced this is her joint, know what I mean? There’s lots of shouting. I’m not hearing relief in her voice, that she’s just kicked the dude to the curb and she couldn’t be happier. When Kelly sings it she’s literally jumping up and down with joy. Maybe she should have arranged it into something darker, more her style. Jlo felt that she felt the song, but it wasn’t the best song for her. Harry is glad she has two more songs. There’s a difference between a heightened performance and what’s going on in her brain. She has to find a way to SHOW what she’s feeling. Keith says attitude comes from confidence. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 10 (1 855 443 6510) or Text 10 to 83676
AUDITION ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! Going to the judges hometowns! ARE THEY ALL COMING BACK? Ten cities on the bus tour. GAME CHANGER ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK FOR AUDITIONS.
Alex Preston – “Too Close” by Alex Clare – Breakups – Alex does his thing with his acoustic guitar. The arrangement is slowed up and bluesy. Alex has a cool cool groove going here. Perfect amount of intensity. Alex is like the three bears. He’s the one who is JUST RIGHT. Solid performance from Alex! Harry likes the way he deconstructs a song and puts it back together again in his style. He’s a thinker. “I dig that bro,” says Harry. Keith says some performances are a little “light” for him. He’d like to see a little more command of the phrasing. But he liked it. Jlo calls him unique. “It all really does work.” But, she would have liked a drop out (like the dub step in the original) in the song, something to make it more dramatic. She compares him unfavorably to Jena and Caleb. Hm. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 09(1 855 443 6509) or Text 9 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Jena Irene – “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar – Breakups – Jena just graduated from high school. Her first heartbreak came at 14, when a guy broke up with her after summer vacation. I like her hair and outfit. This is a solid vocal. Again, like Caleb, I wish she was doing more to make it original. She’s very comfortable on stage. Much better working an audience than she was in the first few weeks. She’s coming into her own. She hits a massive note at the end. – Keith calls her a killer singer with great range. He felt it wasn’t a full committed energetic release within the song. She needs to allow the song to dictate her movements rather than the other way around. Jlo thought it was a controlled, commanding performance.(I agree with Jlo!) Harry says vocally it was a 10 out of 10. He felt a disconnect with her stage movements. Jena says the heels inhibited her. He says TAKE THEM OFF. “I’m wearing mine now,” quips Harry. I dunno, I liked her stage movement. Jlo demonstrates her stage walk. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 08 (1 855 443 6508) or Text 08 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Caleb Johnson – “Travelin Band” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – Dedication – He dedicates the song to his band back in Asheville. Another solid vocal from Caleb. Once again, he illustrates his skill as a frong man as he riffs off of the guitar player. This song is fun. Kind of a throwaway–like singing Chuck Berry. It’s the kind of song you’d boogie to in a bar. He hits a big rock wail at the end. Very energetic, if not original. Jlo says he killed it again. He’ll be tough to beat, she says. Harry gives props to the band. Nice performance, he says. Keith says it’s great to have the band on stage. Excellent. Download from iTunes
Jessica Meuse – “So What” by Pink – Dedication – The song is dedicated to her haters! Jessica. Why even give your haters ammunition? Another song that’s not really in her wheelhouse. Where is that dark, edgy girl we fell in love with initially? This is a significantly better vocal than her first song. But she doesn’t seem particularly comfortable up there. It wasn’t terrible. I just wish Jess would reveal her artistry on stage. This isn’t her. Harry thinks she’s terrific, but those two songs were not the best songs for her (HE’S CORRECT) Keith totally agrees. The wrong song does not reflect on her talent, he says. Jlo is hoping the third song is a better fit. People, they aren’t even bussing her. She’s bussing herself. Oh. Jess thinks that was the best performance that shes done personally (???)
Jena Irene – “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga – Randy gives her a pep talk before she takes the stage. Don’t jinx her, dawg. Jena is swallowing words big time here. Not sure this was the greatest song pick for her. She’s pitchy and having breath problems. But she changed up the melody, giving it a dark slant. It helps. I just wish the vocal was better. Keith liked the changed melody for the chorus (Yep. Love the arrangement). Jlo calls her a force to be reckoned. She gives Caleb a run for his money on the big performances. She didn’t like the changed up melody, but liked the performance. Harry thought it was really strong. He wondered why she didn’t hit more high notes. She tried it, says Jena, but it sounded like yelling. It kind of sounded like yelling, anyway. The judges kinda soft pedalled that.
Alex Preston – “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz – He dedicates it to his girlfriend, whom they don’t name. She’s Jillian Jensen, Top 31 contestant, dissed by the judges for a chance to sing for our votes. Ok. This is pretty boring. He doesn’t change it up much. The island beat in the original is muted here, taking away any charm the song had. This song benefited from Mraz’s very stylized performance. This is just blah. Jlo, the concern troll, is worried about him in the competition. The performance was “linear” for her. Harry notes that he changed one chord. He wishes he would have reinvented it because it’s what we’ve come to expect from him. Keith sympathises with the finalists work load–he’s cutting Alex some slack. A good point, there’s only so much time to be re-arranging songs. Alex has to pick and choose. Keith felt the phrasing become liberated toward the end of the song. Eh. Sometimes inspired phrasing is enough to make a song original, I didn’t feel that happening here.
Caleb Johnson – “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney – Make Ups – Caleb recounts getting caught kissing a girl by her dad – For the first time, Caleb sings a ballad, and I’m feeling it. He’s pouring both vocal power AND emotion into this performance. He’s changing up the melody with his phrasing. Definitely his best, most original performance of the night. The vocal is pitch perfect. I gotta hand it to him. Keith and Jlo give him a standing ovation. Harry was happy to hear Caleb sing softly “Absolutely phenomenal,” he says. Keith and his wife love that song. “You nailed it,” he said. Jlo thinks it was his best performance since the beginning.
Jessica Meuse – “You and I” by Lady Gaga – Make Ups – She talks about her first crush at 8 years old. She’ll be thinking of a special guy as she sings it. OK. This is more like it. Great, confident vocal. Gritty and heartfelt at the same time. She’s feeling it. She must really love the guy she’s singing about. THIS IS THE JESS I LOVE. Thank God it’s her last song. It will be nice to leave a good last impression before she leaves this week. I’m not even kidding. She’s history. Not that I’m happy about it, either. Keith says it’s the perfect song for her. That’s you, Jlo agrees. It really highlighted all the great qualities in her voice, she says. Harry says the girl from Slapout came out swinging on a song that was perfectly suited for her. – Download from iTunes
Jena Irene – “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley – Make Ups – She picked the song because it’s so intimate and passionate. Jena is behind the piano. Jess always kills when she’s behind the piano. Too bad an audio glitch kind of messed part of it up. Still, a gorgeous, heartfelt vocal, beautifully arranged. This song has been performed on the show before, but this is easily the defining performance on Idol. She took a classic song and created a performance that was contemporary and passionate. Jlo is practically in tears. Jlo gets up to give Jena a kiss. “You just reinvented it. I was so moved.” says Jlo. Harry congratulates her on her courage. “It was incredible,” he says. Keith calls her a musical platypus. “Spellbinding” he says.
Alex Preston – “Yellow” by Coldplay – Make Ups – “This needs to feel like you’re telling a story and it’s effortless.” says Captain Obvious aka Randy – I’m surprised they have Alex closing the show with this sleepy little song. It’s a lovely performance, but nothing super special. His first song was his best of the night. Harry says he really needed that tonight. Hm. Is this performance that much better than his others? I agree it’s better than his second. Harry calls it a great performance. Keith loves his poetic vulnerability. Jlo agrees that he needed that tonight “You are integral to this competition.” Eh. They probably want to make sure he makes the top 3. The full busing will be saved for next week.