On American Idol tonight, we will get to see the Top 13 finalists perform. The finalists have been whittled down by the three judges to just 13. They will each sing one song, and you, America, will decide who will stay and who will be going, based on your votes.
The host of American Idol, Ryan Seacrest, came out to a standing ovation by the audience. He said “Tonight is the official debut of your Top 13.” The 13 remaining finalists came out on stage, as Ryan was saying their names. He said “One of them will be showered in confetti in three short months.”
Then, Ryan introduced the three judges, Jennifer Lopes, Harry Connick, Jr., and Keith Urban.
“Our first theme tonight is ‘This is Me.’ We’ll see how they express themselves by their song choices,” Ryan said. By their song choices, the finalists will be telling the judges, and America, a little bit about themselves.
The finalists said that you can vote right now, as the show is going on, rather than wait until the end of American Idol. You can vote up to 50 times per person. Each one will have his/her phone number for the rest of the season.
Dexter Roberts was the first finalist up. He sang the song “Aw Now.” Everyone was standing the entire song as he performed, clapping their hand above their heads. He did a really great job with this song, and had the audience pumped up right from the start.
Keith: “You’re such a likable guy. That was an excellent cover version of that song. What you have to figure out now is how to make it a Dexter Roberts song.”
J-Lo: “I felt the same way. It was a great performance, though.”
Harry said that he was singing out of tune, and added that he “should use your personality more.” The were kind of rough on him, but if he learns from it, maybe he will last longer in the competition.
Next up was Malaya Watson. Her song choice is “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars.Randy said she “has to over enunciate tonight” so that we can hear every word she says. She does terrific, but it’s a fast-paced song. She got a standing ovation!
J-Lo: “Your performance — that’s an A+, seriously. I don’t know if that was your best song or best performance. But, you’re a contender, baby!”
Harry: “You’re 16, right? Intonation is huge. It’s a discipline to sing in tune. If you could sing it again right now, you’d do better.”
Keith: “You’re so full of energy.”
Ryan told her “Good luck” and then again recapped the voting information, and after that, he said the Kristen would be up next. She will be singing the Kelly Clarkson song, “Beautiful Disaster.”
Kristen has a very sweet voice, and I really enjoyed hearing her sing this song. The audience held their hands above their head and clapped as she sang. She has great vocal control, and could go all the way if she keeps this up.
Harry: “I think you’re a really strong pop singer. I’ve heard you singing in tune before — I now you can sing in tune. I’ve heard you do it.”
Keith: “You have such great range. You had to do a short version of the song, and I think you did it perfectly well.”
J-Lo: “What you wanted to do was share a moment out there with the audience, and I think you did that.”
Ryan asked Ben Briley a question from a person who wanted to know how Ben plans to use social media to propel him forward in the competition. Ben said that he doesn’t know that much about Instagramming yet. He will be singing the Johnny Cash song, “Folsom Prison Blues.” He sings it quite fast, triple-paced. The audience really was getting into it — it sounded pretty good to me, but maybe a tad too frenetic.
The audience gave him a standing ovation.
Keith: “I love Johnny Cash. It was particularly brisk, though. You have such a great voice, but don’t sacrifice your artistry.”
J-Lo: “I liked that you picked up the tempo, but that’s maybe the dancer in me. You took a song and made it your own. I loved it, I thought it was great.”
Harry: “For me, it was unquestionably the best performance of the night.” That surprised me — Harry is usually relatively reserved with his compliments.
After another commercial break, American Idol came back with Ryan talking with C.J. Harris, the next performer. Ryan asked him what he planned to sing, and C.J. said “Radio” by Darius Rucker.
I really liked his version of this song. He made it his own, and the audience was standing and clapping right from the start of the song. C.J. has a great voice — to me, this was the best performance so far tonight. The audience cheered and applauded wildly,
J-Lo: “I love this up-tempo feel At the end of the day, we’re gonna fell that energy.”
Harry: “You have that kind of ‘cry’ in your voice — I wanna hear it, so we can all hear it. I thought it was an okay song choice–” He got roundly booed.
Keith: “I have to disagree with you, Harry. I thought it was a good song choice. It was good to hear that side of you tonight.”
Ryan then spoke with MK Nobilette. She answered Ryan’s “5 Things You Don’t Know About Me,” as all of the finalists have so far. MK will be performing “Satisfaction.” Umm….I like how MK sings, but…maybe I just didn’t know the song she was singing well enough.
The audience cheered loudly, anyway.
Harry: “This is the first time I’ve seen you with makeup on. You’re beautiful both ways. I thought it was really cool to hear you sing this song. I really enjoyed it.”
Keith: “We get to see this growth. It was not all there yet, but your voice never fails you.”
J-Lo: I knew that song, and I loved it. He’s right; your voice never failed you. It’s working for me — you are AWESOME!”
Ryan said that Majesty Rose will be singing next, right after more commercials.
Back on American Idol, Ryan spoke a bit with Randy Jackson. Randy said it was probably the first time that the competitors had eve used in-ear monitors, so it would take a bit getting used to, but he added that they were learning.
Majesty will be singing “Tightrope.” she sang very rapidly, but she kept her voice under control, and she was FANTASTIC, IMHO. She had great stage presence, also, and put on a show as she sang.
Keith: ‘That was a KILLER song choice — it really was. The spirit of it and your personality really came through.”
J-Lo: ‘I just love your style, your individuality, the way you work the stage — it’s very natural to you. You’re blessed, you’re really blessed.”
Harry: “What were you thinking at the end of the show? There are so many different kinds of music I think you’d be great singing.”
Majesty could be another of the performers who will make it all the way. I have no doubt she will be in the Top Four, for sure.
American Idol came back after another break and Ryan said that votes are coming in from all around the country. He introduced the next contestant, Jena Irene. She will be singing “The Scientist,” by ColdPlay. I LOVE this song! Randy said if she doesn’t rush, she should be fine.
Jena sounded AMAZING! I thought this was her best performance yet. The audience was standing and clapping, as they have with everyone so far. The audience applauded loudly as she finished.
J-Lo: “You are a powerhouse singer. I LOVE it, I LOVE it, I LOVE it!”
Harry: “The choices you make as a singer really drive the lyrics. I felt it, to.”
Keith: “It was a little bit pitchy at the beginning. But then, you leaned into it, and it was successful.”
In my opinion, Jena is another one of the Top 13 who will make it far, and might even win the entire thing.
Alex Preston performed right after another commercial break on American Idol. He’ll be doing a Jason Mraz song, “A Beautiful Mess.” I really like Alex’s voice — he did FANTASTIC singing this song, IMHO! He might just be this season’s ultimate winner.
Harry: “I like that tune! I think it was a great tune for you. Just make sure you try to sing in tune. I know you can hear better than that. It was so inward, really, really introspective –” The audience booed yet again.
Keith said that he, by contrast, got pulled into the song. J-Lo agreed with Keith, saying that she was really “caught up in the emotion and mood” of the song.
Then, Ryan spoke with Jessica Meuse, and asked her the “5 things People Don’t Know About Her.” She did great — then, she said she’ll be singing “The Crow and the Butterfly.”
YES! She started out singing really TERRIFIC, and her voice soared to the rafters, with a gritty edge to it. She showcased her powerful pipes with her performance.
Keith: “That was a very bold but cool song choice for you. You have an edge and a rasp about your voice.”
J-Lo: “Just the sound of your voice and the power of it gave me goosies all over. I thought it was the best performance of the night.”
Harry: “It was really cool to hear you sing something different. I heard a different sound to your voice, and it was really great. Nice job!”
Ryan then speaks with Emily Piriz, 18, who says she will be singing “Glitter in the Air” by Pink. She has a BEAUTIFUL voice, as well — this was a great song choice for her. It allowed her to showcase her range and the power of her voice very well.
J-Lo: “Hi, Emily! Pink is one of my favorite artists. That’s a song that’s hard to sing well, but you did it.”
Harry: “Pink wrote a helluva song. You really sang the melody well and conveyed the emotions well. I really loved it.”
Keith: ‘That was a beautiful vocal performance. top to bottom. Pink writes these beautiful, exquisite melodies. Where’s the edge? Where’s the balance?”
Sam Woolf was up next on American Idol. He will be singing “Unwell,” by Matchbox 20. It’s a great song. Randy said he just has to sell that emotion to the public.
Sam did an UBER COOL version of this song — he made it his own, and he had the audience into it right from the start as he sang. The females in the audience screamed as he finished singing.
Harry: “The lyrics are about being kind of messed up. I thought it was good, not great.”
Keith: “I thought that the tempo was a bit slow.”
J-Lo: “You’re like a quiet storm. Your voice is amazing — you really have to start believing that, and get loose up there!”
Ryan said that Caleb Johnson, American Idol‘s “resident Rocker,” will be closing the show right after the last commercial break on the episode.
Caleb sang “Pressure and Time.” He TOTALLY ROCKED it out! If you’re a fan of Rock music, Caleb’s performance might have been the best of the night, though there were many very excellent performances.
Keith: “KILLER! KILLER! That was such a great song! This show is about who I am — you just have to put a little twist on it.”
J-Lo: ‘You’re just so ready for the Rock star life. You have the goods to back it up!”
Harry: “It’s great to hear Rock ‘n’ Roll on American Idol! You have the goods, man — you KILLED it!”
What a night of AWESOME performances on American Idol! I really loved hearing all of the great performers tonight singing with their hearts on their sleeves. It will be sad to see any of them go, but tomorrow, based on your voting, America, at least one of them will be facing being eliminated. Who are you going to vote for, or have voted for, and why? What performers do you think are really standing out from the crowd, and who is your pick to win it all?
Please join with me Thursday night to watch another episode of American Idol, and then come back here to read my recap/review of the show! It will be an hour full of great music, and we will learn who will be staying, and who will be moving on!
Written by: Douglas Cobb