On American Idol tonight, it’s Competitors’ Choice Week, which means that the Super Seven finalists will be performing, singing songs of each other’s choosing! Then, in tomorrow night’s Results Show, we’ll get to see which one of the remaining contestants, the one who receives the fewest amount of votes from you, America — will be leaving the competition and will be going home.
Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Idol, began tonight’s episode by looking back at Malaya Watson’s tearful farewell performance. The pressure is really on, it’s getting down to the wire — which of the remaining competitors will be sent home tomorrow night?
“These are your American Idols!” Ryan said at the start of the episode, and the seven contestants left came up onto the stage with Ryan. He then introduced the three judges of American Idol, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Junior. They all will be Live Tweeting throughout the show, and each competitor will pick out songs for the fellow competitors.
Randy said that “this does not mean ‘sabotage’ though.” They weren’t supposed to be picking out songs that were difficult or impossible for the other competitors to sing, but ones which would best suit the specific singer that they chose the song for.
Alex Preston picked “Family Tree,” a Kings of Leon song, for Caleb Johnson, 22, to sing. “Family Tree” is a very Rock ‘n’ Roll type of song, and it suited Caleb’s voice very well. It might not be as familiar of a song as some others, but hopefully that won’t hurt him. The audience went crazy with applause and screams as he ended.
Keith: “I loved that song! You’re such a consistent and dynamic performer week after week!”
J-Lo: “You did it again! You set the bar for everyone else tonight!”
Harry: You did your own thing, and I really dug it! Great way to start the show!”
Carson said that “the pride of Slapout, Alabama” Jessica Meuse, will be performing next, right after a commercial break, on American Idol. She will be singing the song that Sam Woolf chose for her, the Miranda Lambert song “Gunpowder and Lead.”
Both Jessica and Sam called it a “bad-ass” song, and Jessica certainly sang it with a lot of attitude and emotion, ROCKING IT OUT! It was an AMAZING performance, and whoever played the electric guitar WAILED on it towards the end of the song.
Ryan said that American Idol is going to a break, and when the show comes back, the judges will comment on how well Jessica did.
When American Idol came back from break, the first judge to comment was J-Lo. “This is the first time I heard you a little bit off during the verses It just didn’t seem natural to me.” She got booed by the audience.
Harry: “There’s a lack of rhythmic delivery when you perform. Go back to the hotel and put on some rhythmic music, like hip-hop. You have to drive it rhythmically. You need to punctuate your vocal delivery more.”
Keith: ‘Your voice is the thing that really speaks to me. the reason why Miranda kills it is she taps into the place where she’s really pissed off. If you want to stay in this competition, get centered, get focused, and you can really do it.’
WOW. Those comments were kind of surprising — perhaps the judges were looking at a different performance…..
Ryan next brought Demi Lovato onto the stage. She said she just ended the American leg of her tour, and she’ll be headed to South America soon. When Ryan asked her if she’ll be adding any more American dates to the tour, she coyly said “I don’t know.”
Next, Sam Woolf and Alex Preston rehearsed a duet, “Let Her Go,” they planned on doing, and they then performed it on American Idol. They sat on a couch on the stage as they sang and played their guitars — Sam sat on the back of the couch.
They harmonized really well together, and the audience clapped along as they sang. Then, they erupted into applause as Sam and alex finished singing it.
Harry: ‘Hey, I like the couch! What did you guys think about that, for real? I thought it was a bit more saccharine than the original.’
Keith: ‘It was kinda cute, but chintzy. “
Ryan asked Demi what she thought, and she said “If it was supposed to be sweet, it was sweet; but, I would like to see you guys sing something different together.”
Okay, maybe it wasn’t the best song choice, but for what it was, Sam and Alex did a pretty good job and looked like they were having fun singing it. American Idol went to yet another commercial break.
After the break, football great and sports announcer Terry Bradshaw joined American Idol, stopping by to say “Hi” and introduce C.J. Harris and 5 Things most people don’t know about him, a running segment throughout tonight’s episode.
C.J. Harris sang “Gravity,” a song by John Mayer that was chosen for him to sing by Caleb. Caleb said “I think he will literally take people to church with this song.”
Caleb chose a great song for C.J. It really fit his voice and delivery very well. There was a a falsetto part in the song that C.J. totally NAILED, also. This is a song that seemed specifically written for C.J. — he OWNED it!
Keith: “That’s one of my absolute favorite Mayer songs. If you do an emotional thing, I’d like to see an arc. But, I love your voice every time I hear it.”
J-Lo: “You sound like you really belong here and believe you can win it all. The moment you sing a song like that, it’s a Home Run. That was one of your best performances to me.”
Harry: “C.J., I think you have the ability to connect to the audience. Personally, I think that was your best performance to date.”
C.J. thanked the judges, and we got to see C.J.’s wife and son in the audience, which was pretty cool. Then, American Idol went to another inevitable commercial break. There aren’t many more competitors left that will be performing tonight.
With still over an hour left to go, Ryan may have to struggle to find out ways to flesh out the rest of the show tonight. Dexter Roberts told the “5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me” which ate up a little time, but still left over an hour to go.
C.j. Harris picked out the song “Muckalee Creek Water” for Dexter to sing. It sounded pretty darn good! Very Southern Rock, country boy kinda music, a song that was right in Dexter’s wheelhouse, with a lot of Rock influence to it, too. He WAILED on this song!
Keith: “I like that song — the melody is kinda down, though. Be aware of that.”
J-Lo: ‘I like this for you — I really do. This song showed a different side of you. Again, we’re getting down to the wire — these performances need to be spectacular. We’re about to get into the Top Five any time now. You’ve got to push yourself. But, that was a good job.”
Harry: “I have to say that you didn’t do anything really different from the original vocal. I want to hear you sing other things than what’s just on the radio. You have to make the song different, your own.”
These, again, were kind of rough comments, kind of harsh. Sure, the songs should be more than just “cover songs,” but Dexter did a great job with the song — hopefully, America won’t be too swayed by the negative comments tonight, and not give Dexter enough votes to move on further this season of American Idol.
Next on American Idol, Caleb and Jena Irene did a duet together. They didn’t…practice all that much together. Jena joked a bit about “we’re going to prom together.”
Ryan introduced Jena and Caleb, who will be performing “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones — a KILLER song — and, they did a KILLER JOB singing it! Caleb began the song powerfully, as he usually does; but Jena also sang powerfully, and their voices definitely worked well together, complementing each other. AWESOME!
J-Lo: ‘When you guys went down together on your knees, that was a MOMENT. I love the bangs, too, Jena!”
Keith: “You KILLED it! Somebody needs to cut loose on the stage tonight!”
Harry: “When you have the camera, take it and use it! I almost forgot your name,” he said to J-Lo. “I was just joking — who could forget Janice’s name?”
Demi: “I really liked it! I would have loved to sing with you!”
After another commercial break, we heard the “5 Things About Alex that Most People Don’t Know.” One pretty interesting fact he said was he used to be a linebacker in football.
Dexter Roberts chose the song “A Team” for Alex Preston. It’s another great choice, really — Alex played the guitar, and sang a beautiful, melodic version of it. The audience clapped along as he sang. Will the judges love it, or give him some tough criticism, as they have a couple of other performers tonight?
J-Lo: ‘You know, you –” she was cut off, by the audience applauding for Alex. “I agree with them, Alex! You should really thank your boy, Dexter, for picking out that song for you!”
Harry: “There is great beauty in small performances, Alex! That was my favorite performance of the night.”
Keith: ‘You just respond naturally, adding your own personality to a song and making it your own.”
Ryan said that Sam Woolf will be performing next on American Idol, right after another commercial break.
After the commercial break, it was Sam Woolf’s turn to mention the
“5 things Most People Don’t Know About Me.” He said he sucked at sports. Jessica Meuse chose “Sail Away” for Sam to perform.
Sam OWNED the song, so — great song choice, Jessica! Sam played his guitar as he sang, with the audience clapping along. Sam did a great job, but stayed in one place as he sang into a microphone, which may/may not be okay with the judges. We’ll find out what the judges thought of Sam’s performance on American Idol right after another commercial break.
Harry: “Sam, you’re a work in progress. I’m seeing more progress, but song choice is not great — it’s not a song that’s familiar enough.”
Keith: ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing, man. You’re doing a real good job considering, Sam.”
J-Lo: “When I looked at you in the monitors, I thought you were really trying to connect with the song, so in that sense, I think you did a good job.”
Ryan said up next, there would be tonight’s only trio. C.J., Dexter, and Jessica sang it, as they are all from Alabama. It’s “Alabama Power,” as they sing “Compass” by Lady Antebellum. They had the audience clapping along right from the beginning of the song. They did a great job singing this song, and really worked the audience. They got a standing ovation.
Harry: “It’s really tough to judge a trio. It just wasn’t good. It was out of tune. I understand that you did it because that’s what you were doing, but-“
Keith said that he liked it, and compared it to a kind of shish kebob.
Demi: ‘I think that you, Jessica, have a beautiful voice. I think that you all sing great individually, but not that well together with this song tonight.”
Again — were the judges watching a different trio perform tonight? While they might not have been perfect, they did a pretty decent job. Blah.
Jena was up mentioning the “5 things People Don’t Know About Me,” saying that she “peed her pants” her first performance, and she “took ballet.” She will be singing a song that Caleb chose for her, “Creep” by Radiohead.
Jena did an AMAZING job, perhaps the best performance of the night on American Idol — Caleb picked a perfect song for Jena. She has such a POWERFUL voice, and she played the piano as she sang –it was ELECTRIFYING! Keith and J-Lo gave her a standing ovation!
Keith: “Jena, Jena, I LOVED it!”
J-Lo: “You can sing ANYTHING! It was so BEAUTIFUL!”
Harry: “You are phenomenal! Unquestionably, the best performance of the night! I didn’t stand up and applaud, though, because I don’t do that for anyone I’m judging on this show I have to be very focused. You’re extraordinarily talented, and I think you did some major damage tonight.”
That wrapped up tonight’s episode of American Idol. It was perhaps a mixed bag of performances, though they were all pretty good, and the best ones were very, very good.
Written by: Douglas Cobb