Thursday, May 8, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 4 Performances

Well, this should be an interesting week. After Caleb's disrespectful commenst about his "fans" and the controversy over the split vote by the contestants last week on the results show, I wonder how America will vote for these guys, especially Caleb. He needs to be careful what he says. We have already seen one apology from him this season relating to the insensitive "peanut allergy" comment. He doesn't need to make America mad.

Idol starts the show with a recap of last week's dumb elimination ploy: get the contestants to make the call. Not a wise choice from TPTB.

Randy tells us "It's all in or nothing."  (We want nothing from you Jackson. Go home.)

I'm not sure what's up with Ryan, but he is sporting several day's beard growth and no tie tonight. Not his normal dapper look.

There will be three songs from each contestant this week. (I remember when they did that to Season 7's top 4 and Jason Castro had a melt down on the lyrics and was sadly booted that week. Three songs seems a little extreme to me when they are all new songs.)

 This week's theme: Love songs

First round: Break-up songs

Caleb - "You Give Love A Bad Name" - Bon Jovi
He needs a hair cut, although his hair does look washed this week. Rockers do wash their hair sometimes. This sounds just like the Bon Jovi version, but not as good. Caleb is singing to Keith. Weird. It's just ok for me.
Keith - Killer man! At the end, you made it your own.
Jennifer - Caleb is ready for prime time.
Harry - Fantastic! Food for thought - you add the same licks. You need more runs and licks for multiple songs in setlist.

Jessica - "Since You Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson
She is center stage with an electric guitar. Song is too low and the beginning is rocky. She recovers some. Not a great performance.
Jennifer - The attitude was right, but the song didn't compliment your style.
Harry - I know you can do better than that.
Keith - I want to see you pull out all the stops.

Ryan announces the audition cities for Season 14. (Yes, it will return. for another season.)
Minneapolis;  the judges home towns of New Orleans, New York, and Nashville; San Francisco
There will also be 10 bus stops covered by two buses. One west coast and central US, starting in Portland, OR, and the other, east coast and southeast, ending in Portland, ME.
Also next week we will hear about a "game changer" to the audition process.

Alex - "Too Close" - Alex Clare
He is center stage, on platform, with guitar. He sound decent and has limited the weird body movements this time.
Harry - I liked that. You deconstruct the music and rebuild it in your own style.
Keith - I liked that too. Occasionally, I miss the weight of the song when you do your won thing to it.
Jennifer - You're so unique, but I'm concerned that you miss creating the "moment" when you change it up.

Jena - "Heartbreaker" - Pat Benatar
Ryan lets us know that Jena just completed her last class of high school and will be able to walk with her class in June.
She is center stage with not much movement. Eh. She's not Pat.
Keith - Great vocals as always, but you just didn't seem fully committed to the song.
Jennifer - Controlled performance. I loved it.
Harry - Vocally you were a 10 out of 10, but there was a disconnect between the singing and the movement.
Jena says her heels limited her movement.

Round two: Dedication songs

Caleb - "Travelin' Band" - Credence Clearwater Revival
Dedicated to his band back home in Ashville, NC
Good jam band. I think Caleb is screaming too much. CCR happens to be one of my favorite bands of all time, so this performance fell short for me.
Jennifer - That's so in your wheelhouse.
Harry - That was fantastic.
Keith - Excellent.
(Well, I guess I'm just a touch biased on that song. Judges heard something I didn't.)

Jessica - "So What" - Pink
Dedicated to all those who DIDN'T believe in her.
No guitar this time. Jess seems to move freely with this song. Good attitude displayed in face and movements. Lots of fire on stage too. I liked it. Great job.
Harry - Not the best song for you.
Keith - I agree with Harry. That song wasn't right for your voice.
Jennifer - I agree. song not right for you.
(Was I listening to the same thing as the judges? I thought that was just right. I liked it and it felt like Jessica liked it too.)

Jena - "Bad Romance" - Lady Gaga
Dedicated to her fans
Her voice is dropping off at times. No breath support. And the overabundance of laser lights totally distracted from the performance which didn't need any more problems. The whole set up on stage was just awkward with the guitars on raised platforms and Jena standing between them most of the time. No like .
Keith - I like how you changed the melody of the chorus. Really good.
Jennifer - I didn't like the melody change and you didn't finish the song with the band.
Harry - Interesting choice. Nice job.

Alex - "I'm Yours" - Jason Mraz
Dedicated to girlfriend (who happens to be Jillian Jenson who made it to Hollywood Week)
Alex is center stage (No surprise) with a ukulele. Looks like he is in his head too much. Not hitting some of the high notes.
Jennifer - I love watching what you do, but I'm worried. You need to take it up a level.
Harry - You only change one chord. Always put your spin on it.
Keith - I realize you all are learning a lot at one time.

Celebrity sighting of the night: Carol Bayer Sager is in the house. Grammy Award winning songwriter, for you youngsters out there.

Final round: Make-up songs

Caleb - "Maybe I'm Amazed" - Paul McCartney
Hey! Caleb can do kind of subdued after all. Good job.
Standing O from Jennifer and Keith.
Harry - So nice to hear you sing softly. Absolutely phenomenal.
Keith - Killer Performance.
Jennifer - Your best performance since the beginning.
(Well, I'm not really sure it deserves all that praise.)

Jessica - "You And I" - Lady Gaga
Center stage with acoustic guitar. This is her song. Awesome.
Keith - That is the perfect song for you. Killer!
Jennifer - I agree. Perfect for you.
Harry - That song was perfectly suited for you. Killed It!
(I actually think the judges should have been a little more exuberant for this performance.)

Jena - "Can't Help Falling In Love" - Elvis
Jena is seated at the piano for this one. She has slowed it down. Awesome job. Best I've heard from her. Standing o from Jennifer and Keith. Jennifer goes on stage to give her a kiss.
Jennifer - You just reinvented that. I could cry. Awesome.
Harry - That took eminence courage. Incredible.
Keith - So beautiful. You are a musical platypus.

Alex - "Yellow" - Coldplay
He is center stage with a guitar again. No surprises. Kind of flat to me. This sound doesn't really have any high points in it. Not that great.
Harry - You needed that tonight. great performance on that one. (Really?)
Keith - That was a song perfectly suited to you.
Jennifer - You needed that. Great job.
(I totally disagree with the judges on Alex's performance. I thought it was boring.)

Well, there you have it.

I give round one to Alex.
Round two goes to Jessica.
Round three is easily Jena's, but Jessica was awesome too.

MY Bottom 2: Caleb and Alex
I think Caleb should go home. He burned too many bridges with comments this past week and his performances were ok, but not stellar. My opinion; I'm entitled to it.

America will probably send Jessica home, and she will be fine with that. She has the exposure she wanted and a strong group of new fans. She probably wouldn't appreciate the label forcing her to do songs she doesn't like anyway. Her career has been jump-started. She can sign to an indie label or do it herself. Winning isn't always the best option on Idol.

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