A little part of me is disappointed the contestants didn’t sabotage each other with bad song choices. On the other hand, they did a good job of choosing for each other. The result was a solid night of performances. I’m not going to complain! The best performance of the night came from Jena Irene, who delivered a moving and powerful performance of “Creep.” To be fair, this is a song she has in her repertoire. I wonder if Caleb knew that?
Also, now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if the songs were really chosen by the contestants who were namechecked? The wealth was spread suspiciously around. What if one contestant picked awesome songs for everyone? Would production have allowed the contestants to choose songs from only one or two fellow contestants?
Caleb was solid too. He proved tonight that he can handle contemporary material. I still see him on a Broadway or Las Vegas stage instead of rocking out, at say, Coachella, but he’s consistent, and always entertaining.
I appreciated that Alex Preston kept A Team intact, essentially. I wish he’d done that with the Police last week, but why rehash history? His ability to make a song his own with the subtlest changes is impressive.
CJ Harris and Sam Woolf both improved this week. CJ managed to stay pretty much in tune during his solo performance (that trio with Jena and Dexter was another matter. Oy) and delivered “Gravity” with a heartfelt gospel twist. Sam Woolf actually had an emotion or two while singing “Sail Away.” I had both of them at the bottom of my power list this week, but not after tonight’s performance.
Jessica Meuse delivered the weakest performance. Her vocal was solid, but once again, she didn’t look entirely comfortable on stage. She’s never been in the bottom 3, but I’m worried that she could be a shock boot tomorrow I don’t get why she is expected to move around stage every week. Nobody gives Alex grief about standing there with a guitar. Why can’t Jessica do the same? I feel pretty certain she had no choreography when she played those little bars, pre-Idol. She could be getting the “artist” edit too. But whoops. She’s a girl! She’s expected to put on a dog and pony show. END OF RANT.
Dexter Roberts didn’t stand out this week, but whatever he does, he always seems comfortable in his own skin.
ETA: There’s still too much filler and judges shenanigans. The parade of random cameos was really stupid. I wanted Terry Bradshaw off my TV the moment he appeared. Next week the finalists will sing two songs each. More singing, less crap please.
Demi Lovato: I agree with many of the commenters who think the producers are considering her for a judges spot next year. There will be another shakeup next year. Demi is a popular singer, with a young, rabid fanbase, and she comes cheap. The X Factor was paying her in the 1-2 million range. That’s even less than what Keith is getting.
The American Idol XIII Top 7 sing a “Competitor’s Choice” theme. Each of the finalists received a song from their fellow Idol’s for a total of six to choose from. And from the looks of the song spoilers, a spirit of camaraderie motivated the choices, rather than sabotage.
Tonight, Demi Lovato will stop by. Probably to pimp something from the audience, but we’ll see! Ryan calls the remaining finalists “Seven superstars in the making!” Ok then. Everybody is going to be live tweeting the show. This is a FOX thing. All the kids have been doing it this week.
Oh. Ryan Seacrest says, “We’ve got some surprises for you tonight!” O rly?
A video clip shows Randy explaining the theme to the contestants. Caleb rubs his hands together. Randy explains that the theme isn’t about sabotage! In the clip, the Idol rattle off the selections they made for each other.
The video clips feature 5 things you don’t know about the Idols
Caleb Johnson – Family Tree by Kings of Leon – Caleb likes tennis, but not spiders. And he snores. Caleb has a secret desire to be the next George Romero. – Alex picked the song! How nice! Alex explains that they met KOL and the band invited them to a show. I’m happy that Caleb is singing a contemporary song this week, albiet one with a retro vibe. This is a great song, and Caleb is pretty much killing it vocally. Very entertaining. It’s a great way to kick off the show. Keith calls it a good choice, it highlighted his strengths. Jlo says it’s amazing. It sounds like a song that could be on his record, says Harry. Ryan mentioned that it’s the first KOL song ever performed on Idol. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 13(1 855 443 6513) or Text 13 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Jessica Meuse – Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert – She designs her own tattoos. She loves wolves. She was rejected from a music school she will not name. Hm. Belmont? Sam picked Jess’ song. She calls Miranda Lambert a “badass.” He picked it for Jess ’cause he knows how much she loves Miranda. Whoa. They got the wind machine going. The song is arranged with a dark edge, which suits Jessica’s style, but she’s moving around the stage too much. She’s not entirely comfortable. Jessica is the kind of singer who fares better when she can just stand there with her guitar, pouring herself into a song. When she tries to “work the stage” she becomes distracted. Nevertheless, I was a little nervous about the song pick, but her vocal was solid. Jennifer felt she was off a little vocally in the verses. I agree with Jlo! Harry agrees. He notices a lack of rhythmic delivery. He suggest she dance to rhythmic music back in her hotel. (I say JUST DON’T DANCE ON STAGE! Not every performer needs to do that!) Keith loves her voice, but he felt her energy dissipate. She needs to get centered. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 10 (1 855 443 6510) or Text 10 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Ryan brings out Demi Lovato. She’s shaved the side of her head and her hair is mostly brown. She just wrapped up her Neon Lights tour. She’s leaving for South America over the weekend. She might add more North American dates. She heads over to sit with Randy. He introduces her to the finalists as Alex and Sam get ready to sing.
Sam Woolf and Alex Preston – “Let Her Go” by Passenger – They jammed this song and decided they just had to perform it on stage. They worked out the arrangement themselves,and previewed it for some fans online. HA HA HA at the living room set. It tells you everything you need to know about American Idol 13. This is pleasant. Very pleasant. Very…zzzzz….zz. Harry calls it saccharine. Hey Harry, this is the guy (Alex) who thinks “Every Breath You Take” is a sweet song! Keith calls it chintzy, but he doesn’t want to be too hard on the duets. Jl0 thinks the girls loved it. OMG. Demi is weighing in. She thought is had good energy, but she would have liked to see something more exciting. Do we need a 4th judge tonight? No. We really do not.
Oh look. My homeboy, Terry Bradshaw is in the audience. Terry says Sam looks like Ricky Nelson. Dear God this filler is killing me.
CJ Harris – Gravity by John Mayer – CJ loves Spongebob, grilling, photography and stand up comedy. Hm. Caleb chose for CJ. CJ will take people to church with this song, he says. HEY POT THAT MIC DOWN (I could hear the judges chattering!). A VERY bluesy take on the song, much bluesier than Mayer’s version. Very nice. The pitchy stuff isn’t so noticeable this week. The song has a gospel feel on the chorus. A redeeming performance. He may last another week. Teflon Harris, they call him. Aw CJ’s little boy is in the audience. Keith thought it was a great song for him, and a good performance. Keith would have liked a better emotional arc, but still. Loved it. Jennifer suggests that he find the moments that will lift the crowd. He needs to create a moment. Harry notes his ability to connect with the audience. He calls it CJ’s best performance to date. – Call 1 855 4 IDOL 05(1 855 443 6505) or Text 5 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Ronda Rousey, Some Martin dude. Random people in the audience. This is so bizarre.
Dexter Roberts – Muckalee Creek Water by Luke Bryan –He wants to skydive some day. He also loves strawberries. Dexter loves the song his buddy CJ picked for him. Another competent, yet generic performance from Dexter. I only get Dexter when he sings ballads. Otherwise, he’s like a very skilled karaoke singer. I think he’s doing enough to stay this week, though. Country fans probably dig this, because it is a very competent rendition. Keith likes the song, he needs to be aware of the melody during intense moments. Jlo liked that the song had a darker quality. Jlo continues to beg for a moment. Harry wants to know who arranged the song. It was Dexter with the help of the vocal coaches. He liked it, but wished he had done more with the vocal. He has to do more than sing along with the radio. (YEP) Call 1 855 4 IDOL 01(1 855 443 6501) or Text 1 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Jlo’s backless dress is making Ryan all hot and bothered. I really didn’t need to know that. A little Q&A with Caleb and Jena before their performance. Who would they like to duet with? Jena wants to sing with Hayley Williams. Caleb wants to duet with Ryan, and THEY DO on “Heaven.” Heh. That was so planned.
Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene – “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones – Caleb is one of Jena’s best friends on the show. Is Caleb really going to Jena’s prom with her? PERFECT song pick for these two. They sound so good together. If they don’t sing a duet on the tour, I’m going to be very very disappointed. The sound seems off, I’m having trouble hearing Caleb, but Jena is totally NAILING the Merry Clayton part. Jennifer calls it a moment. Harry thought it was really cool, but avoids using the “m” word. Keith advises ALL of the finalists to cut loose. Harry has to remind them that they are cast members and entertainers on American Idol. That he has to remind them to be entertaining at this stage of the game is not a good thing. Demi Lovato: She thinks they killed it. “The energy totally went through the roof for me.”
Alex Preston – A Team by Ed Sheeran – Alex has taken cooking classes. But he doesn’t know how to turn on the oven! Aw. Look at little Alex as a linebacker in high school! Alex decided NOT to do a major re-arrangement of A Team. He changes it up enough with some choice phrasing. He hits a beautiful, but simple high note on the last chorus. Not a song to wow the crowd with, but it is a very sweet rendition of Ed’s hit. The crowd is going crazy. Dexter picked that song. Harry thought it was a perfect choice. He notes the great beauty in smaller performances. Is it enough to win the show? He sings with conviction, and that’s what matters, says Harry. Keith loves Alex’s little artistic flourishes. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 09(1 855 443 6509) or Text 9 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Sam Woolf – Sail Away by David Grey – Sam likes to climb things. He’s terrible at sports. He pulls pranks on his grandparents. Jessica picked the song for him! Jessica really wants to help him with the connection. Especially with the ladies. This song doesn’t have much melody, so I worried how Sam would do with it. But, I have to say, he has improved this week, particularly on the last chorus where he actually sang as if he was feeling it! Harry says he’s making progress. He wished he had picked a different song. He needs to pick songs the audience knows. Keith also likes his progress. Considering the time frame, he’s doing a good job, says Keith. Jlo thinks he did a great job.OMG GROUP HUG SAM CALEB AND ALEX. Call 1 855 4 IDOL 12(1 855 443 6512) or Text 12 to 83676 – Download from iTunes
Jessica Meuse, Dexter Roberts and CJ Harris – “Compass” by Lady Antebellum – They call themselves “ALABAMA POWER!” Having CJ sing harmonies? NOT A GREAT IDEA. The solo parts are decent. Let’s see if Demi calls out the pitch problems. “Guys, it just wasn’t good,” says Harry. Keith likes what they did singularly. Demi thinks Jessica has a beautiful voice, but the harmonies didn’t come together. She wished they had let loose a little bit more.
Jena Irene – Creep by Radiohead – She peed her pants, her first show with her band. Hey, she was only 12! Caleb picked “Creep” for Jena, because she has “dark” elements to her style. She’s behind the piano. I hope she stays there. And she does, which ensures her success. Great interpretation of this song. Very powerful, passionate performance from Jena! She’s hitting those high notes with ease. A very bold performance. She ends on a tender, vulnerable note. She should never leave her piano, ever. If this season has had a moment, that was it. She gets a standing o from Keith and JL0. Keith LOVED it. He loves her fearlessness and bold choices. Jlo says she “jenafies” every song she sings. “You are going to be here for the long haul.” Harry calls her a phenomenal talent. BEST performance of the night. “I think you did some major damage tonight,” he says. – Call 1 855 4 IDOL 08 (1 855 443 6508) or Text 08 to 83676 – Download from iTunes