Thursday, May 1, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 5 Performances

This week's theme: "America's Choice" - viewers sent in suggestions for songs and contestants picked two songs from the list complied by the producers.

First, we have a viewer question? "Who are your celebrity crushes?"
Caleb - Rose McGowan
Jena - Harry Styles
Sam - Ariana Grande
Jessica - ?? (I don't know who she said.)
Alex - Zooey Deschanel
Oh, look. Zooey is in the house and on the stage. Alex is still so awkward. Ryan has Zooey intro the show.

Mentoring this week by Jason Mraz.

Alex - "Sweater Weather" - The Neighbourhood  (Never heard of them or this song.)
Jason works with Alex on movement and standing up, being more open.
This song has a limited range. Alex seemed to get all of the words out on the rapped part. He looks a little less awkward tonight. Maybe Mraz rubbed off on him. Not a bad performance.
Keith - I wouldn't have minded more soaring. This song is limited that way. Good job.
Jennifer - Your face was beaming working with Jason. (Jason is his Idol.) You pulled this song off easily. I agree with Keith. I would have liked a little more, to kick the show off with a bang.
Harry - I give you an A+ for remembering all of those words. You sound similar to the lead of The Neighbourhood so this was a good choice for you. Strong opening. Nice job.

Austin Mahone is hanging out backstage with Ryan. Ryan and Austin pose together and ask America to tweet in selfies with the two of them in the pic. (Idol is desperate for the young voters tonight.)

Caleb - "Don't Want to Miss A Thing" - Aerosmith
Jason calls Caleb the underdog rock and Roller. He says Caleb has his own voice. he instructs Caleb on opening up and telling the story in a believable way to connect to the audience.
We have a string section and candelabras on stage. Caleb sounds sick, as in ill. Pitch problems at the beginning. He seems nervous or just off. Not good at all.
Jennifer - That was a challenging song for you. More of a ballad then Steven's version. I got goosies when you soared at the end. (???)
Harry - You looked down the camera too much at the beginning. Sing to the audience here too for a better connection.
Keith - That was a great song for you. You must learn to let your feelings drive your ability not the other way around. feel the song and then use your talents to perform it.

Group performance -
Alex, Jena, Sam - "Best Day Of My Life" - American Authors
Sounds good. Looks odd to have the two awkward guys walking around the stage and Jena stuck bouncing around in the middle of the stage.

Jessica - "Human"-  Christine Perri
Jason says Jessica is Country Cool. He advises her on how to hold the guitar to appear more open.
Jessica is standing center stage with her guitar but is swallowed up by too much fog as the music begins. Oh, her lower register sounds beautiful on this song. Perfect song choice for her. Powerful. Really good.
Harry - My favorite part of the performance was that it is obvious you are listening to all of the advise and want to get better. You focused on the meaning of the song. Every week you get better.
Keith - I thought that was a really good song for you. Mu favorite part was 3/4 of the way through and your voice started to break a little bit. That was the most human part.
Jennifer - When you tap into the emotion of the song, something happens. When you stopped and then came back in so powerful, you got lost in the song, and the audience felt the emotion.

Sam - "Sing" - Ed Sheeran (Again?)
Viewer Question - Hardest part of the competition for you? Being away from home. He misses his dg, Buddy. We get a pic of Buddy.  Ryan says he just got a dog and we see a pic of a little lab puppy amed Georgia.
Time to perform but Sam doesn't have a mic. Oh, wait. Here comes Ariana Grande with Sam's mic. He turns very red, gets two hugs and finally its time to sing; almost.
Jason calls Sam America's little brother. Jason says not to do the same movements all the way through a song. Sam needs to let go and get funky.
Funky does not work for Sam. He's too loose and losing the rhythm of the song. This was a very odd performance. It never felt comfortable to me.
Keith - First, when Ariana came out you went as red as the Coke sign behind you. Very endearing. That's a tough song. Ed has a strong falsetto hook that isn't in your wheelhouse. You did as good as you could. Tough Song.
Jennifer - That's the most comfortable I've seen you singing a song. Maybe Ariana had something to do with that. You were more funky.
Harry - The good part was that you did something totally different. I think of you as a melody singer. If you do Funk, rhythm is paramount. You laid back on your vocals, but the band was plugging the groove. You needed to keep the rhythm.
And poor Sam trips while going up the steps to the lounge where Ariana is hanging with Randy.

Jena - "My Body" - Young The Giant
Jason says Jena sparkles, like a toothpaste commercial. Jena asks for help moving around and not hurting vocals. Jason says she can express big moments without doing big things. Jason and Randy discuss sitting on the steps to start the song.
So Jena didn't listen to the right advise. She starts in the audience pit and walks all over the place touching hands before landing center stage. In the process, we lose the softer words.
Jennifer - You sounded really good. (???) Good job.
Harry - You would be surprised how much little things like the glow sticks help you. You move the most of everyone. You move to the beat.
Keith - You're a lean-in performer. Even if you don't know where you are or what you're doing, you just lean-in and keep going. ( Is Keith trying to say what I said, without saying it?)

Duet -
Caleb and Jessica - Beast of Burden - The Rolling Stones  (Really???)
They sound good together, but this song has such awkward lyrics for friends to be singing together in a competition. It's just not right.
Ryan acknowledges the odd lyric choice.

Alex - "Say Something" - A Great Big World
Alex is seated with his guitar. This is a simple and beautiful beginning. The string section and single female backup singer covering Christina Aguilera's part come in at chorus. This is a great cover. Perfect song choice.
Harry - I like to see a performer struggle with the emotion of the song and not give in to it. Beautiful performance. Best of the night.
Keith - If ever there was a perfect marriage of a song and an artist, that was it. Beautiful.
Jennifer - You looked amazing and then your vocals took it to another level. Beautiful performance.

Jena - "Valerie" - Amy Winehouse
NO - not the right version of the song. The tempo is all wrong for Jena.
Keith - I love that song, but the version with more tempo. But your vocals are killer.
Jennifer - You always kill it, but that wasn't your best one. The tempo and arrangement was wrong for you.
Harry - I thought it was right in the middle; not best or worst. Nice job tonight.

Sam - "How To Save A Life" - The Fray
Center stage with guitar. His pitch is off at the beginning of the song and a couple of other spots too. Intonation get better later in song, but the whole performance is just not interesting. And I am tired of the dumb hat he is wearing. Just saying.
Jennifer - You started off shaky, but it became perfect for you. Second goosies of the night. (Someone get the girl a blanket. The air conditioner must be too low, because that singing could not have given her goosies.)
Harry - That was a perfect song choice for you, but you had pitch issues. You're still having dynamics issues also. The last line you had a cry in your voice. I wish you had sung the whole thing that way.
Keith - Dynamics is the thing. the beginning was shaky, but you opened up at the end.

Jessica - "Summertime Sadness" - Lana Del Ray
No guitar this time. Jessica is seated center stage on a platform, with a tat on her thigh showing through the slit in her long red dress. I don't know this song, but Jessica sounds good. Showing off her lower register again. Nice job.
Harry - I think the people watching AI really care for you. That's such a perfect song for you. I love that you stood there and sang. That was the perfect marriage of voice and song. Congratulations.
Keith - I love that song. It was a good choice. The song has a David Lynch mysticism about it and you have that in the tone of your voice.
Jennifer - I wanted you to dig in even more. It's about finding a little bit more in your body.

Caleb - "Still Of The Night" - Whitesnake
This is definitely the right song for Caleb. The band is awesome and really jamming. Jennifer and Keith are on their feet half way through the performance, jamming.
Keith - Awesome. Killer.
Jennifer - That's what we call bringing down the house. And I love the band when they perform with you like that.
Harry - You can't sing that song any better than that.

Ryan tells us that Keith will be performing on the results show. NICE!

Well, this will be a difficult night to rank. Caleb was really good on one song and not so good on the other song. Caleb and Jessica's duet was not so hot, but they didn't pick the song, I'm sure. Jena didn't impress me on either song. Alex was totally awesome on one and ok on the other. Sam didn't impress me tonight. I liked both of Jessica's performances, although I wasn't really familiar with either song. This will be a tough one for America.
I say Alex, Jessica, Caleb, Jena, Sam. No clue who will be sent home. I just hope it isn't Jessica. Might be time for Sam to take a break.

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