Posted: 5:22 pm Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

‘American Idol’ top 4 performance recap 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Jessica Meuse performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, May 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Jessica Meuse performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, May 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

The final four had to pick three songs each about love, one of the broadest themes possible.

The night started slow with a couple of terrible performances but the second hour showcased some great ones as well. So the night was a total mixed bag.

Jessica Meuse is most in danger of going home and had to hit three home runs to survive. She only hit one, her final “You & I.” Her first song was a complete whiff and her second was, at best, a slap single.

Caleb Johnson started okay, ended with a killer McCartney & Wings cover.

Alex Preston brought steady eddie work as usual but nothing incredibly interesting. (My favorite? “Too Close.”)

Jena Irene showed her usual broad range and I felt her behind-the-piano rendition of a classic Elvis song was the best of the night. Her “Bad Romance” was a train wreck, though.

My ranking for the night: 1. Jena 2. Caleb 3. Jessica 4. Alex

But who will go home? I unfortunately think Jessica is out. But at least with her final song, she will be leaving on a high note. Who else will be in the bottom? I predict Alex is going to be in trouble but survive.

Given how little traction Caleb’s “retard” comment last week got on the web, I don’t think it will cost him enough votes to place him in the bottom two.

Earlier in the day, Fox’s president said “Idol’ will certainly be back next year, as we expected, but wouldn’t say if it would be the final season. He was also open to the idea of bringing back the three original judges. I’d prefer to keep the current three but I bet they won’t be able to afford them – especially J. Lo.

As we know, Simon Cowell is available again but can he swallow his bitterness about “X Factor” and work with Simon Fuller again? I’m sure enough $$$ might convince him. But do we even want to go back there? It’s not as if anybody wants to see Randy Jackson back behind the judges’ chair! He’s been close to useless as a mentor.

And in “Idol” political news, as of early this afternoon, season 2 runner up Clay Aiken had a 369 vote edge on his Democratic rival for that party’s spot in a House race. They still need to count provisional and absentee ballots, according to this USA Today story. I’d say his chances of winning are pretty solid even though his rival has yet to concede. Winning the general election? He’s a serious long-shot in a heavily conservative district.

Ryan Seacrest also announced five audition cities for season 14, including hometowns of the judges: New Orleans, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Nashville and New York. A smaller bus tour will pass through include Portland, OR; Portland, ME; Reno, NV; Columbus, OH; Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX; Myrtle Beach, SC; Branson, MO; Tallahassee, FL; Richmond, VA and Kansas City, MO.

Here are quick takes on the performances tonight:

Caleb Johnson (“You Give Love a Bad Name” Bon Jovi) – He showed some energy but it was a mostly pedestrian cover version of a song we’ve heard 1 million times. As Keith said, the only real highlight is when he hit a high note near the end that didn’t ape the original. Grade: B

Jessica Meuse (“Since U Been Gone” Kelly Clarkson) – Terrible song choice for her. J. Lo said it didn’t fit her at all. She was off key at times and didn’t bring the proper vibe to the song. One of her worst in awhile. Grade: C

Alex Preston (“Too Close” Alex Clare) – Unlike Jessica, Alex picks a perfect song for himself. The right pacing, the right feel for Alex. He just digs in and gives his fans exactly what they want. HCJ said he deconstructs songs and reconstructs it his own way. “Shows you’re a thinker,” he said. “I dig that, bro.” J Lo noted he’s predictable to a degree. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Jena Irene (“Heartbreaker” Pat Benatar) – I remember Jordin Sparks sang this seven years ago. It works better with Jena. She started vocally a little weak but got stronger as the song moved along. I thought it work well. Keith felt there was an energy deficit. HCJ said there was a disconnect between her physical movements and her vocals. “Take your shoes off and jump around!” HCJ said. Grade: B-plus

Caleb Johnson (“Travelin’ Band” Creedence Clearwater Revival) -  Despite the high energy, I wasn’t all that excited. Then again, maybe I’m just retarded. The judges were universally praising him. Grade: B

Jessica Meuse (“So What” Pink) – It was a better pick than the Kelly Clarkson song and HCJ said she is terrific vocally and an amazing talent but those two songs were not good for her. Grade: B/B-plus

Jena Irene (“Bad Romance” Lady Gaga) – She took some really strange key choices. It sounded like a big hot mess. Keith actually liked her choices. JLo says she’s a force of nature. Grade: B-minus

Alex Preston (“I’m Yours” Jason Mraz) – It was a pleasant version and I enjoyed the last note. Cute ukele, too. JLo still awaits the special moment. HCJ wished he had deconstructed more. Grade: B-plus

Caleb Johnson (“Maybe I’m Amazed” Paul McCartney & Wings) – Now, this is the Caleb that really shines. He brought range, emotion and his own sense of drama to the song. I am duly impressed. HCJ noted that he played softly at points, for once, and called it “phenomenal.” JLo said it was his best performance since the beginning.  Grade: A

Jessica Meuse (“You and I” Lady Gaga) – Another pop song? Where did her country vibe go? But at least this Lady Gaga song has a melancholy country tinge to it. So it is by far the best song for her and thank goodness, it’s her last one. She looked animated, relaxed and into it. Bravo! JLo said it highlighted her voice. HCJ said she came out swinging and “killed it.” Grade: A/A-minus

Jena Irene (“Can’t Help Falling in Love” Elvis Presley) – We haven’t seen her at the piano for awhile and I actually like this quiet, introspective version of Jena Irene. That was one of my favorite Jena performances to date. Yowza! JLo got up to kiss her after a performance. “You just reinvented it!” HCJ: “It was incredible.” Keith: “You put these elements and put them in a unique way… a musical platypus.” Grade: A

Alex Preston (“Yellow” Coldplay ) – I wasn’t that taken by this one. It was good but not great. Keith: “Poetic vulnerability.” J Lo: “You sang it beautifully.” Grade: B-plus

642 comments
DeirdreC
DeirdreC

New thread up!  Idol is officially renewed!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

More Idol news.  Rodney listed the audition cities for next year.  eligibility rules have changed just a bit.  It used to be, if you made it to Hollywood but no further, you can try out again.  Now...if you didn't make the tour, you are eligible to try-out again.

wreckedpizza
wreckedpizza

Everybody has their opinion. Mine? Jessica is my "m(e)use".  She rules all!  I haven't been this much a fan since the DeGarmo days.  She may go home tonight, but I will buy anything she records. Love that woman from Slapout!  


Harry, JLo and Keith can kiss my grits! I don't even care if they like Jess or not.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

In Idol news, next week's(not tonight)results show will go back to an hour.  Scotty McCreery will perform and the finale contestants will be announced.

G_
G_

My take on the remaining pawns of this mundane season:


Jessica - It would be my luck that Jessica made the final 3, just to irritate me. The girl sings fine, but everything else about her needs work.  Her performances are about as entertaining as a pet rock.  She is so "green", I want a refund for wasting my time for watching her on tv. 


Alex - I picked this guy as the dark horse early on.  He's got his own sound and style, and he's one of the most intelligent artist/musician this season.  The bad thing about him, is he has a vocal tendency to sound too much like a cruise ship headliner.  His chances of making it is 50/50.


Jena - Contrary to many on this blog, I think she's okay. She's green too, but has plenty of potential.  Much like Alex, she's a knowledgeable artist/musician, and Idol will give her a platform to succeed whether she wins or not. 

Negativo
Negativo

So, let me just get some opinions out of the way...I'm a Jessica fan. Love her voice, vibe and look. Caleb is an arrogant blowhard who needs a good beating. Jena's shrill voice grates on my last nerve, but I think she'd probably make the most marketable winner. Alex has a nice, smooth voice but his elevator music just bores me to death. Oh, and his culottes are horrific beyond words.  


So, do those opinions make me popular or unpopular here? 

Negativo
Negativo

Much quicker, and posts aren't constantly being eaten. That was the main reason why I stopped hanging out here.

Negativo
Negativo

This interface takes some getting used to, but I think I like it.

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

Hey Neg, I've told the regular guys that I miss hearing your take on things as well as Mo's take.

Negativo
Negativo

Signing in for the first time at this interface. See old familiar friends Deirdre & JTesla...


I think an Idol review may be in order. Yes?

Negativo
Negativo

Long time no see, peeps.

DarrenLee
DarrenLee

I don't know seems the problem with all of you Caleb people is you don't realize he's a 23 yr old trapped in 80's. Sorry folks, that isn't going to sell in 2014. What's his album gonna be comprised of, a rehash of 70's/80's rock infomercial songs. He's just not relevant in 2014. Jena and Alex are both relevant in 2014. After Caleb loses, he needs to cut his hair, and audition for NBC's The Biggest Loser. 

KarenForrer
KarenForrer

 While searching for some kind of hint as to what happened during the "glitch" (during Jena's final song) last night, I stumbled upon this blog. I am delighted to find a group of witty, mature posters here! I hope you don't mind if I join the crowd. I promise not to mention Carrie Underwood...

MercedesS
MercedesS

Michael Slezak has a long piece about Jessica's "You and I" perf.  Some quotes: "If Keith and JLo end up tying Jessica to a stake Thursday night and using Randy's oversized glasses to start a fire that immolates her Idol dreams, at least girl-friend can hold her chin up while everything around her turns to ashes... "Judges comments left at the TVLine editing-room floor, because honestly, who cares what they say about Jessica anymore?"

GeoffCoe
GeoffCoe

@DeirdreC Hmmm, maybe setting up a year-long "Idol Retrospective" for next (final?) season.  Some of those also-rans from season's past could probably use a chance for a nice paycheck.  Or maybe it's a tacit admission that with viewership down so drastically, the talent pool needs beefing up. 

Idolfan
Idolfan

@G_  I don't see Alex with his own sound or style. I see him no different than any of the other previous winners that stand there playing a guitar, and he sounds like many other current male artists on the radio. 

(if this posted twice my first attempt didn't show up because I had to sign up to be a user. If it's there and I just don't see it, sorry for the duplicate) 

JTesla
JTesla

@G_ "mundane season" Agree with that 100%.

G_
G_

The only way Caleb loses this thing would be to overly sensitive people to his "controversial" comments.  I like most everything he does.  He's already won imo.

jnewlin
jnewlin

@Negativo I agree with you! I am hoping Jess will stay on another week and then another! Regardless of tonight's outcome, I believe Jess will continue to do what she loves...singing and writing music wherever she is welcomed.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Negativo Jessica fan too. Agree with your ops about Caleb and Jena. Love Alex, though. And his pants are just rolled up - culottes are wider, and knee length.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo  A little of both.  I agree about Caleb but really like him as a performer.  However, "arrogant" and "blowhard" are perfect descriptions of his personality.

I have always loved Jessica right from the start but realize that her performance skills lack energy.  I like to listen to her sing more than watch her sing.

I really don't like Jena's voice and fear that she will win.

I love Alex but understand the "elevator" line.  I find him soothing and emotional in a sad way.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@Negativo


Depends on who you ask.  A lot of love/hate this year.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@Negativo


You may not feel that way when we're having a bad time posting once in a while on performance nights.  ::)

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo  It has standards that may be a bit antiquated so watch what you say...sometimes.  At other times, it doesn't seem to care.  

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

@Negativo  Been waiting to hear from you for a loooooong time NEG !  Glad you could join us.

MercedesS
MercedesS

Everybody else on ghost blog too. Relief.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@DarrenLee  Some of us like Caleb's performances(if not his immature mouth) and some of us don't.  It's the way of the world.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@KarenForrer  Welcome Karen...we have worked long and hard to keep this place friendly.  We don't always succeed but we keep reminding people that everyone is entitled to their opinions whether we like them or not(this does not apply to obvious trolls however!)

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@MercedesS  You left out the part about not all contestants are going to win and how he was glad that her last performance was so good.  He gave her a C- on the Kelly song and a C+ on her second song.  An A on the third.  He also said she should be in the bottom 2. 

He's been a huge fan all season and also gets mad at the judges for their criticism of her but recognizes that she has come(unfortunately) to the end of her Idol journey.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo  And my husband saw Alex for the first time last night and laughed out loud at his pants.

Negativo
Negativo

@MercedesS Remember you, too! Good to see some familiar names still on board. Been a couple years since I've been around this joint.

DarrenLee
DarrenLee

Yeah I guess he skipped the Fan relations meeting. Don't think it helps a possible music career to refer to potential CD purchasers and digital downloaders as a bunch of retards.

KarenForrer
KarenForrer

@DeirdreC I am a long-time Idol viewer, and while my personal all-time favorite is still Bo Bice, I don't feel the need to bring up his name every time I post. Oh, dagnab it.


Seriously, I've struggled with the inconsistency on the show this year, but I have thoroughly enjoyed HCJ's honest critiques. I think it has helped the remaining contestants to grow and improve.  

MercedesS
MercedesS

@DeirdreC @MercedesS "You left out the part" - it was a very long part praising Jessica to high heaven.  Didn't want to bore anyone. Also, Michael is a Jena fan.  Left out that part too!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo @DeirdreC  We have a fun night crew also.  A bunch of people who only blog with us during the show if you would like to join in.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo @DeirdreC  Don't just be a ship passing in the night.  Help us get to the end of this season at least!

Negativo
Negativo

@DeirdreC Oh, so sorry to hear that. What a shame. Nana had a very positive attitude about everything...I remember needling her about it. Harriett was a sweetheart, too.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo @DeirdreC  Rodney says we've been together so long that we're starting to finish each other's sentences.  I try to stay neutral but old habits die hard.  ;-)

Negativo
Negativo

@DeirdreC  You still the mother hen running the roost and keeping everyone in line?

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Negativo @DeirdreC  Let me get the bad news out of the way first....Harrietth died last year and our beloved Nana left us about 2 months ago.  They are much missed.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@KarenForrer @DeirdreC  Rodney started this blog a long time ago.  With Idol on its downslope, it probably won't last too much longer be we welcome newbies with open arms!  At least we have one more season to look forward too even though Idol sometimes makes it difficult for us to stick with it!

jnewlin
jnewlin

@MercedesS @DeirdreCMy favorite Michael Slezak line from his review of Jess is, "Not all of our favorites can be winners in the end, of course, but when they’re as hard-working and unassuming and talented as Jessica, you can only hope that they’ll leave a final impression as indelible as her “You and I.”