Posted: 6:16 pm Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

‘American Idol’ top 5 performance recap 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Caleb Johnson performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Thursday, April 30 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Caleb Johnson performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Thursday, April 30 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

I must be drinking whatever Keith Urban was imbibing because I liked pretty much everything the contestants sang tonight.

This was the best overall night for “Idol” this season. It helped that the weakest links are gone.

The theme for the top 5: songs suggested by fans via Twitter. And they picked well. For everyone except Caleb Johnson, the songs were current or relative recent.

Jason Mraz (“I’m Yours’) provided some expertise and appeared to help Jessica Meuse and Sam Woolf loosen up.

For the first time, I liked Jessica the most. She had two songs given to her that showcased the wounded bird part of her and she brought out more visual emotion than she normally has to date. She’ll never be Beyonce on stage but she is bringing more of herself out to us.

Sam is proving himself little by little, just getting more comfortable each week, proving the judges’ save three weeks ago wasn’t for naught.

Jena is now at ease and flowing with confidence. Plus, she is becoming the most marketable of the five as a pop star. Her fans appear to be quite dedicated. She did her job tonight and should make it into the final four.

The two guys who have not been in the bottom yet – Alex and Caleb – didn’t bust it out the first hour but found their place hour two.

This is going to be a tough call tomorrow night. I am now wondering if Alex’s singularity might actually hurt him. I felt he was the weakest of the night, even with a great “Say Something.”

So who goes home? I think the bottom two will be Sam and Alex. And in a shocker, Alex will go home. Yes, I’m going out on a limb but I feel Jessica, who many thought was most vulnerable tonight, performed well enough to avoid elimination.

Alex Preston (“Sweater Weather” The Neighborhood) – It was a perfectly reliably Alex performance, though it didn’t provide anything remotely surprising or bracing. Grade: B/B-plus

Caleb Johnson (“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” Aerosmith) – I really hate this song but somehow, Caleb made almost like it. He seemed a bit nervous about it visually but vocally, he pulled it off. Grade: B-plus

Trio of Sam, Jena and Alex (“Best Day of My Life” American Authors). They had decent harmonies and had fun with a fun song. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Jessica Meuse (“Human” Christina Perri) – She brought some of her humanity and vulnerability. I really felt her more than I usually do. The song fit her well.  HCJ: “Even though you were thinking a lot about the input from us and Jason and Randy. There’s a lot of noise in your head. My favorite part of the performance is you really listened and want to get better. While there were pitch issues, whatever. You were focused on the meaning of the song.” Keith liked it when her voice cracked a bit cos it felt real. J. Lo liked it when she tapped into the emotion of the song. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Sam Woolf (“Sing” Ed Sheeran) – Wow! Where did this Sam come from? Jason Mraz gave him a boost of confidence and loosened up. For Sam, he felt funky. JLo said that’s the most comfortable he has ever looked. HCJ said he liked him doing something different but he wasn’t always in the pocket of the band and laid back too much. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Jena Irene (“My Body” Young the Giant) – She shows plenty of confidence and is very specific stylistically. I give her points for her uniqueness. HCJ said she can move around and has fun and uses the stage in a way that’s “not too choreographed.” Keith said she “leans in” as a performer but can play on the piano. Grade: B-plus

Caleb and Jessica (“Beast of Burden” Rolling Stones) – They had fun and it showed. It’s nice to see Jessica loosen up a bit, even if her movements are still limited. Grade: A-minus

Alex Preston (“Say Something” A Great Big World) – I adore this song and I thought Alex did justice. He brought proper heartache to a very sad song. Keith said that was a perfect marriage of song and artist. Grade: A-minus/A

Jena Irene (“Valerie” Amy Winehouse/Zutons) – She is relaxed, having a good time working with the band. Vocally, she is sounding great. I grooved with this one. JLo said it felt too laid back. Keith didn’t like this version. Grade: A-minus

Sam Woolf (“How To Save a Life” The Fray) – It was a lovely rendition. He is steadily getting more comfortable up there. JLo said when he hits the sweet spot in his voice, something beautiful happens. HCJ said there were some pitch issues and is too monotonous in terms of the dynamics. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Jessica Meuse (“Summertime Sadness” Lana Del Rey) – This is another great song for Jessica to attack because it has an underlying sadness (as noted in the title) and she works that dynamic well. HCJ said it was a perfect song for her, a natural fit. Keith said there is a David Lynch mysticism in that song and her voice brought that out. He said she needs to “lean into” the song more. JLo wants more performance, left her a bit cold. Grade: A-minus/A

Caleb Johnson (“Still of the Night” Whitesnake) – This is more in his wheelhouse than that Aerosmith ballad. He just tore into it and gave us a fine way to end the night. Keith: “Killer.” JLo” “That’s what I call bringing down the house!” HCJ: “Fantastic!” Grade: A/A-minus

594 comments
LisaJones34
LisaJones34

TVbytheNumbers

Onetime Ratings Juggernaut 'American Idol' Notches an All-Time Performance Low 8.6 million viewers .... Goodbye American Idol .... No one likes this show now ZzZzZzZ


Even one time big American Idol fans like me think this show needs to be canceled ZzZz

jnewlin
jnewlin

@RodneyHo I really hope your predictions for the bottom 2 are correct! I'd love to see Jess in the top 2 along with Caleb.

Jenny11
Jenny11

All right... y'all enjoy... I'll be watching the blog to see what the surprise is!  I'm sort of hoping for an Alex-goes-home shocker. 

McCovey44
McCovey44

Has it occurred to anyone that the multiple personalities pounding the drum about low ratings are show-runners' interns from competing shows?  I don't see their point otherwise.

KokoSnoot
KokoSnoot

Seacrest just tweeted that something happens tonight that has never happened in the history of American Idol.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Just wanted to let everyone know that Keith will be performing tonight on the results show.

MercedesS
MercedesS

Watched last night's two hour long Idol in 37 minutes - which included listening to Alex's "Say Something" twice. Fastforwarded  judges' comments since I already knew what they would say:

Jena - "You are perfect. We will make you a superstar" 

Caleb - "You are perfect. We are watching a superstar"

Alex - "You are perfect. If you didn't look so nerdy we'd make you a superstar"

Sam - "You are adorable.  Just let loose"

Jessica - "Don't know why we let you into the group. We hate everything you do."

catfromjapan
catfromjapan

@Jenny Leather and lace without a doubt, I'd like to hear someone like Alex preferably, doing Crowded House's "don't dream it's over,  Coverdale's "still of the night" was an excellent choice for Caleb. I like this year's contestants, they all seem so genuine and I can't pick a favoriite.

Jenny11
Jenny11

So I skimmed through some comments from last night… Jaszy, Rodney and McCovey, I am SO with y'all on Jena.  I really haven't understood the bad attitude toward her on this blog.  I think she's very  good.  

Rodney - I cannot WAIT for Jack Bauer!  Three more days!  :-)  And Deirdre, I can't believe you never saw 24!!  Based on some of the other shows you talk about, I'd have thought you loved it!  

And to all those who wondered who Ariana Grande is - she's an up-and-comer who can actually SING!  Live.  Without auto-tune, and with a beautiful voice.  She's refreshing.  

I saw her sing live at a sporting event late last year… and was wowed.  I commented at the time "Now THAT's the kind of singer American Idol needs to be looking for." 

catfromjapan
catfromjapan

I would love to hear Jessica cover my favorite Fleetwood Mac song, "Sarah".  I know she'd make Stevie proud.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

To the person posting as LisaJones34 and baconsmith1:  How long does it take you to switch from one account to the other?  Your posts always show up close to each other so you must not have thought it through.  It's waaaaay obvious.  What happened?  Did you turn bitter when Sanjaya had to leave.......

willisben32.
willisben32.

Next years show ---> Jennifer Lopez --> Gone --> Harry Connick Jr --> Gone --> Keith Urban --> Gone -->  Ryan Seacrest --> Gone --> contestant's --> Gone ---> They only have Carrie Underwood on TV singing show tunes on request. :)~

baconsmith1.
baconsmith1.

Another ratings drop for American reject's (This show should have been canceled 2 years ago!

baconsmith1.
baconsmith1.

They should ad a vote to cancel the show ( I vote cancel )


Another ratings drop for American reject's (This show should have been canceled 2 years ago)

Jenny11
Jenny11

And finally... drum roll please... In dead last place last night?  The songs that were chosen.  (Except for Aerosmith, Whitesnake, the Fray and the Stones.)  Boooooo.  And after all the good suggestions here on this blog!  :-)  ;-)  ;-)

Jenny11
Jenny11

Part 3 - As for Sam... poor Sam.  I think his time may be up.  He does have a good voice, but something was wrong with his rhythm on the Fray song.  (Mostly in the verses... the choruses were good.)  And the other song itself was such a dud that it was hard to tell how he did. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@KokoSnoot Any ideas what?  

Someone going home without ever having been on the bottom?  But surely that's happened. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC Do you know what he'll sing?  Dang, I'd like to add it back to the DVR, but my DVR is so touchy about recording Grey's when there's another recording at the same time.  (And only Grey's.  No problems any other times.  Weird.)   

Side note - speaking of Grey's - if you're interested, they're re-showing the Season 3 finale (Cristina & Burke's non-wedding) at 8, then the new episode at 9.  Burke returns!!  

Only two more episodes of Cristina left after tonight.  :-(  :-(  The show won't be the same next year.  But I am glad they're giving her the recognition she deserves... 

McCovey44
McCovey44

@DeirdreC  That's a good thing.  I had heard that he was also going to perform on Finals Night as well.  We just watched last night's performances.  I thought Caleb had the single performance of the night with Whitesnake.  I thought Sam was weaker than the judges thought he was, and that Jessica was at her strongest.  With apologies in advance to my friend Deirdre, I thought Jena's two song combo was really good.  But I voted Caleb best of the night.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@MercedesS  They actually liked Jessica last night...with reservations of course

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@MercedesS

LOL!!.  I may have to try the record/fastforward thing.  Anything to bypass the judges sounds good to me.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@catfromjapanYes!!  "Don't Dream It's Over" - Another of my 80s favorites! 

And I'd also LOVE to hear Jessica sing Sheryl Crow's "Leaving Las Vegas". 

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@catfromjapan

A great Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac tune for Jessica, if she could pull of the emotion of the song, would be Silver Springs.  That was Stevie's ode to Lindsay Buckingham after the broke up.  Beautiful song, heart tugging lyrics.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@catfromjapan I'd love to hear that too!  Love that song!  And I'd also like to hear her do "The Chain" or "Leather and Lace".  (not sure which of the guys could cover the Don Henley part believably on L&L, though.  It's not really Caleb's wheelhouse, and none of the others would really sound right.)

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@baconsmith1.

How do you know the ratings dropped?  Did you research it on the internet?  If you hate the show so bad why would you be searching about it online?  Strange......strange indeed.

KokoSnoot
KokoSnoot

Maybe someone drops out? A tie? No one goes? Not really sure about AI's history!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@McCovey44 @DeirdreC  No apologies necessary, McCovey!  You like who you like.  I like who I like. I respect your opinions!  

Jenny11
Jenny11

@McCovey44 - I wrote you a message a few posts below... I also think Jena is really good!  I don't understand why she gets bashed so much on the blog.  

Agreed on Sam and Jessica also... I thought Sam had a lot of trouble with the cadence of the Fray song, and thought Jess was at her Stevie Nicks best!!  

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DoubleNaughtSpy It's great.  We can usually watch the 2-hour show in 50 minutes or so, and we don't even skip the judges (I like hearing what Harry and Keith have to say.) 

jnewlin
jnewlin

@Jenny11 @catfromjapan Here's hoping Jessica will pull through for another week and another couple of performances. I'd love to hear her cover Sheryl's "Leaving Las Vegas" too.

catfromjapan
catfromjapan

@Jenny11 @catfromjapan YES! This combination of songs would make next weeks show EPIC! I'm so stuck in the eighties. Oh well.  They can't exactly cover Skrillex.  Sheryl Crow, Love her!

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DoubleNaughtSpy - yep, another good one for her.  

Can we just have a Stevie Nicks theme night?  Please??

KokoSnoot
KokoSnoot

Good point. Guess we'll see!

Jenny11
Jenny11

@KokoSnoot I have to wonder if maybe that's it.  (Though he wouldn't already know if he was leaving.  Would he??)

KokoSnoot
KokoSnoot

That's what I was thinking. .. Alex posted something about his debut album and asking who would buy it

Jenny11
Jenny11

Or someone leaving after having the highest downloads on iTunes for that week?  Hmmmmm.....

Jenny11
Jenny11

@KokoSnoot Well, they've had weeks when no one goes home (Idol Gives Back.)  

A tie... that would be interesting! 

Someone drops out... not sure if that's happened.  People have gotten kicked out... but has anyone left voluntarily?

McCovey44
McCovey44

@Jenny11  Hi Jenny.  I saw it.  I said to my wife, "Hey!  I got a shout out on the Idol blog.  How cool is that?"  Small things impress small minds. Anyway, American Idol has always been, nearly ad nauseum, about making a song their own.  Jena makes every song her own.  I always try to pick a favorite based on who would I buy a ticket to see.  I would buy a ticket to see Caleb or Jena, and if Jessica was the opener for either one of them I would think that was a plus.  Therefore, in my mind, Caleb needs to win, Jena needs to be a finalist and Jess needs to finish third.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@catfromjapan  - I know... I'm SO stuck in the 80s.  :-)   A few weeks back, there was a great thread about all the 80s songs they could sing.... you would have fun reading it... I'll see if I can find it for you.  (@KokoSnoot- do you happen to remember where it was?)  

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@Jenny11 @DoubleNaughtSpy

Right.  I want to see Caleb wearing a loose fitting black shirt with flowing sleeves, wind machine in his face, his long hair being tossed about, singing "Rhiannon"...... :)