Posted: 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

‘American Idol’ top 3 performance recap 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Alex Preston performs "Pompeii" on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, May 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX.  CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting. Also Pictured: Jennifer Lopez (R).

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Alex Preston performs “Pompeii” on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, May 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting. Also Pictured: Jennifer Lopez (R).

I don’t know how much the performances once we reach the top 3 matter in terms of voting. I suspect people inspired to vote for their favorites will vote tonight regardless of how they did.

All three had their moments tonight. There was nothing too shocking beyond Caleb’s vocal node issues, which clearly affected his INXS and Imagine Dragons performances. He admitted he just went all out on Led Zeppelin, for better or worse, but it was a grand way for him to finish the night.

Jena probably didn’t change anybody’s minds with her weird enunciation and occasionally missed notes. But she did what she normally does and did it well. I fully expect her to make the finals with Caleb.

Alex tried some different things with “Pompeii” with mixed results. His highlight was “Stay,” my favorite of the night. Did he do enough to survive? I say no.

In other words, I see a Caleb/Jena finale, which is a nice contrast in styles. In fact, the three final performers are all so different that it made for an entertaining night.

First up are Randy’s picks, which are pretty good

Caleb Johnson (“Never Tear Us Apart” INXS) – He has some vocal node issues, the equivalent to a groin strain. He didn’t sound half bad to be honest, a little huskie than normal. The song fit him well. Grade: B-plus

Alex Preston (“Pompeii” Bastille) – I absolutely adore this song. Great stage sent up with the drummers. His presentation is a little too laid back compared to the original. But that’s Alex’s style. And the performance gets more interesting when he starts drumming, then hits some high notes, then slows it down at the end. Very cool. J. Lo said he finally created “moments” that they were requesting. “It was a different Alex, an elevated Alex.” HCJ: “Great credit to Randy to pick that song. It gave you a young hip song that made me envision what you could sound like on the radio. I could see the wheels turning which isn’t necessarily what I want to see… It felt piecemeal.” But he thinks it will get better with practice if he does it on the road. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Jena Irene (“Titanium” David Guetta/Sia) – This song is a great choice by Randy. It fits her vocals in the mid-range but she struggles to reach some of the high notes. Tough song!  J Lo noted how hard this song is and felt it started shaky and she never quite loosened up. Grade: B/B-plus

Judges’ pick:

Caleb (“Demons” Imagine Dragons ) – He really struggled through that one. His cords are off. It didn’t work well at all. Keith had sympathy for him but said he still “killed that song.” JLo said he had to rely on other things. She noted that he did get better later. “You started singing the emotion of the song,” she said. Grade: B-minus

Alex (“Stay” Rihanna) – An interesting offbeat pick for Alex. He does an extremely pretty version with just enough Alex touches to make it worthwhile. JLo: “It was all yours.” HCJ: “Beautiful. Really strong.” Keith: “You owned that song.”Grade: A-minus

Jena Irene (“Heart Attack” Demi Lovato) – Sure, her enunciation is awful as always but I find this version so different from Demi’s that I found it intriguing. I liked her energy. Her stage work improves every week. J Lo said she had no nerves. HCJ thought she should keep the energy up from beginning to end. Grade: A-minus/B-plus

Past performances reprised

Caleb (“Dazed and Confused” Led Zeppelin) – He saved his poor voice – or terminally killed it. He just went for it and slammed down the poor mic stand for emphasis. JLo was gyrating ridiculously throughout, with arm thrusts for clear measure. The crowd went nuts. Phew! JLo: “Ridiculous.” HCJ: “Awesome.” Grade: A/A-minus

Alex (“Story of My Life” One Direction) – Simply lovely. HCJ: “This song really strikes a chord with people. You sang it in the top 10 when you were a wee lad. A classic Alex performance.” Grade: A-minus

Jena Irene (“Creep” Radiohead) – I didn’t particularly like this version last time around. I liked it a bit more this time but I don’t feel the massive love from the likes of HCJ and such. Grade: B-plus

460 comments
Arlenewin
Arlenewin

Why can't I find Jena Irene singing "I can't Help Falling in Love" on iTunes? I want to download it, it was amazing!

MercedesS
MercedesS

Just saying hello - ready for tonight.  Hope the blog works for me!

McCovey44
McCovey44

Interesting.  Before I read anything on here I said, "There isn't anything about this show that is going to change anyone's mind."  I wouldn't vote for Alex, but the people who will vote for him will likely not vote for Jena, who I would vote for all night long.  Caleb could draw a few votes from both camp, I think.  Will Jena capture any of Jessica's votes?  Does it even work that way for girls.  We'll soon see.  I predict (hope) for a Caleb/Jena finale, but I've been disappointed by America before.

Negativo
Negativo

Didn't watch, don't care, but from the clips I agree with Rodney that Alex's Stay was the best of the night. Caleb acting like a sissy with the doctor on stage and everything...how pathetic. Meanwhile, Alex tweeted this morning he has bronchitis, too, but chose to keep it to himself instead of making a big production out of it. Pretty sad when big rocker guy gets manned up by the elevator dandy in yellow capris.

Anyway, excited to learn P2 will be on the finale. Curious what he plans to sing... hopefully, a track from his new album.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Two items:

1. The results show goes back to 1 hour long tonight.

2. Idol's ratings didn't just tick up last night, they jumped up about 24% from last week's low.

Rickster_
Rickster_

I've read about this thing kids are doing now called "beezin" - where they put Burts Bees lip stuff on their eye lids. It's supposed to give them a tingling feeling.


Jena looks like she's "Caterpillin!"

parbogey
parbogey

Last night's show was pretty painful.  I have always liked Alex but he's kind of turned into a one trick pony.  Caleb, aside from his personality quirks, is ok as well.  But, Jena.....OMG, I just can't take her.  I can't watch her and I really don't enjoy her voice.  I'm not sure what all the Jena-love is about but I just don't get it. 

DanJohn
DanJohn

Missed the show last night since the bowling league moved to Wed. but I did record it. For my taste I hope it's Caleb vs Alex since I'm just not a fan of Jena. I thought she was the weakest last night but I do prefer her when she is more Amy Winehouse then Demi Lovato.

JTesla
JTesla

Jena's "Heart Attack" was awful. D+ at best.

jnewlin
jnewlin

As Rodney stated in his article, "I don’t know how much the performances once we reach the top 3 matter in terms of voting. I suspect people inspired to vote for their favorites will vote tonight regardless of how they did." I agree! It will be 1. Jena, 2. Caleb with Alex going home tonight. I wouldn't have selected this order (I enjoyed Alex's performances via the youTube videos) but it is what it is. Voters have their favorite...as I did with Jess Meuse. It's a loyalty thing at this point.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

It was pleasing to see that, even with her braces off, Malaya still has no filters!  That girl is one big bundle of unbridled energy!

BigAintheBigA
BigAintheBigA

Alex's performances were strictly 3rd place. Jena and Caleb were both a little off, imo. Caleb with the excuse and possibly Jena too after all the hooha of home week. Didn't think Dazed and Confused or Creep were as powerful this time around. Band was still awesome. Enjoyed the home visit montages and fun to see all the contestants back on stage. Think it's Jena, Caleb and Alex - 1,2,3 at this point.

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

When Caleb was rocking it at the end, I thought that JLo was going to hurt herself or either start moaning.....! Yikes

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I think, for Idol's 500th show, since Idol had enough time to fill, instead of talking about JLo's dress and doing that insipid "selfie" thing for WAY TOO LONG....why not bring out a bunch of former Idols to serenade us?  Wouldn't have to be just the winners.  Recognizable Idols coming out one at a time, singing a snip-ette of a song and all say Happy Birthday Idol or some such thing after they finish.  So much better than whatever that stupid selfie thing was.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Personally, I just don't get all of the fuss about Jena. Her voice isn't "pure" like a Whitney Houston, or even a Kelly Clarkson; to me, Jena enunciates he lyrics really weird when she sings.

Just because you can play instruments and sing loud; or hit some high notes, it doesn't make you a great singer. I've heard it many times before; if someone is too nasal, they put in too runs, or they just don't enunciate the words so you can't even tell what they're singing, then they're NOT great singers. This is Jena; and to be perfectly honest, since I feel that same way about all three singers, THIS is American Idol 13.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Most of the polls I have looked at heavily favor Jena and have since about 4 weeks ago.  Surprisingly, if the polls are correct, Alex will be with her on the stage next Wed.  As far as I can tell, we are the only blog that favors Caleb.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Morning!

I agree Rodney.  The final 3 is mostly just a concert.  Most people have already picked their favorites and nothing can change their minds at this point.  For those of us torn between 2 singers, last night didn't help much.

The best performances of the evening, imo, were Caleb's Dazed and Confused, Alex's Stay and Jena's Creep.

I'm not a fan of Jena's voice(and her diction is atrocious) so I am still deciding between Caleb and Alex.  Both of those guys represent music that I really enjoy and they each have such completely different voices and styles that I should have no trouble choosing. However, for some reason, I can't pick which one I like best.

Fortunately I probably won't have to since one of them will likely be leaving tonight and Jena appears to be a lock to win.

JerryKrause
JerryKrause

Jennifer Lopez had sex on the stage tonight to Caleb Johnson's singing "Dazed and Confused" on American Idol.  Caleb's singing and performance alone would have killed it, but Jennifer's moves (dancing) dug it in and Caleb finished it with what he did with the mick stand.  I challenged anyone to match the performance that we saw on American Idol tonight.  "Caleb! Caleb! Caleb!" the crowd would not stop screaming.

ComaToes
ComaToes

Knew AI producers were trying to set up the "fix" when the so-called Dr. walked out, and there were some moments of "sympathy" for Caleb.  So I just decided to forego the entire show and do something constructive tonight.  Based on what I have read of RoHo's recap here seems it might be easier to pick a "loser" rather than a winner. You could choose any of the 3 and not go wrong there.   Sad, so sad, for something that went so many years being on top.

Idolfan
Idolfan

@Arlenewin  Because they haven't gone into the studio and recorded all of their songs. There's usually only one from each of them.

JTesla
JTesla

1) I won't watch so that's ok

2) Good for Idol, and for us.

JTesla
JTesla

Sounds better than eyeball licking.

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC Yep, just as annoying without braces. Keep the retainer in, because pulling it out is gross.


I already forgot the name of the cute girl that spent the night trying to soak up the camera attention. Keep vamping girl!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Woodpappy  I'm not a prude but seriously JLo...not on Idol!!  NOT ON IDOL!!!!!

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

@DeirdreC  Oh I sooooo agree Deirdre.  I fast forwarded through that junk.

jnewlin
jnewlin

@DeirdreC I hope it is Alex in the top 2! But I'm afraid it will be Jena and Caleb.

Idolfan
Idolfan

@DeirdreC  Not really a poll but something interesting to look at. The Facebook statistics of the three remaining contestants (the ones to leave before have followed this trend too) look like this: Alex: 39,713 likes · 33,300 talking about this Jena 42,371 likes · 26,752 talking about this Caleb: 53,711 likes · 42,907 talking about this

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@DeirdreC Nice to know we aren't predictable! I bet we are the most anti-Jena group, too.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@YogiBare  They've had docs come out before.  Kat McPhee, during her finale night, had to get a procedure done on a ruptured vocal cord.  The girl could hardly sing.  What I'm saying is, if that constitutes a "fix" it failed.  I think you just didn't want to watch the show and you were looking for an excuse.  ;-)

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@YogiBare @DeirdreC  What?  You expected it to go back to number 1?  Up 24% is a temporary positive and we'll enjoy it while we can!

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

@JTesla  I will watch and that's GREAT.   Still LOVE IDOL.....

JTesla
JTesla

Kristen O'Conner! That was it. Yeah, let her get up front and center, because everyone wants to see the person that was the first one to be voted out of the top 13.

Idolfan
Idolfan

@RodneyHo @DeirdreC  We aren't predictable but the producers of Idol have been with all of their decision making for years. The only thing going is the fact they finally got away from the WGWG trend last year when Candice was crowed Idol winner. But, they set that up EARLY on when they really didn't place anyone that fit that category on the Idol stage last year. Since the ratings were down they were forced to go with a formula they though would work placing Sam AND Alex in the top 10 this year. Since the ratings are still tanking, for them to survive next year they really are going to have to change things up and actually let the viewership dictate the road to the finale completely, and it starts with more accountability in how the votes actually shake down.  They tried a little with that whole "twitter" trend thing they were showing with where the early votes were going. Then again, I laughed at that attempt too. 


DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@YogiBare  Lauren Alaina had the same thing happen to her.  Seems that particular "fix" doesn't work.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Yogi, your unending cynicism is starting to grate on me. A TV show is not the US gov't. It's a tv show that people watch because they like to be entertained. Most people don't watch it to be cynical. They watch it to be entertained. We are not talking about world peace here. We are talking about being entertained. Idol entertains me. Does it entertain you? And if it doesn't...if it is all about evil producers and manipulative directors...why are you watching? I mean, come on, lighten up!!!

ComaToes
ComaToes

@DeirdreC @YogiBare  You would do well in the current administration in the budget department in DC.  That's the way they play with numbers.  Wondering also, is a "temporary positive" the same as a permanent negative or the opposite?

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Idolfan @RodneyHo@DeirdreC The twitter trending... like the Tommy Hilfiger designer or whoever it was who was supposed to dress idols last year. PP flatly refused and it all "went away"

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@YogiBare @Idolfan @DeirdreC  Some people see conspiracies in everything and some don't....frankly, I think the people who sit back and enjoy the show without worrying whether the show is "out to get them" are having way more fun. Y'all need to relax.  It's a TV SHOW...nothing about it is real!  And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter, does it?  If you are being entertained, that's what's important.  If you aren't, why are you watching?

ComaToes
ComaToes

@Idolfan @DeirdreC @YogiBare  Some people get it, some don't.  You seem very perceptive in all I have read of your posts. You are in the "I get it" crowd.  That was obviously "scripted" in advance last night.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Idolfan @DeirdreC@YogiBare The sympathy thing seems to have disappeared.  Hardly any hard-luck stories this year. Even Jessica's break up with b-f was kept quiet until after she was voted off.

Idolfan
Idolfan

@DeirdreC @YogiBare  No, it probably does because who  knows what their real reason was for doing it? Was it to help Caleb, or was it really more about sabotaging him (or the others before him)?  Or, was it a way to justify it when he goes home tonight? There are a whole lot of people that are put off by the whole let's get some sympathy for a contestant. We'll show them, I'm only going to do everything humanly possibly to make sure their attempted manipulation doesn't work.