Tonight was quite bizarre for me. Parts were the same, like how I knew a good 70% of the songs but was pleasantly surprised by a solid 20% (and only utterly displeased by 10%). The confusing part was the judging. I mean, Harry was definitely still his smart self (although I did disagree with some opinions), meanwhile Jennifer (yes, I feel like she’s earned the Jen instead of the JLo) was, for the most part – who I agreed with the most. And then there was Keith. Man, he was Randy-ing all over the place last night! Not nearly as badly as Randy, but he wasn’t my favorite person last night.
I also thought the emphasis on song lyrics was especially obscure tonight. Between Harry talking about Jessica’s “look” during Pumped Up Kicks or Sam singing a certain verse from We Are Young (Idol didn’t really mention it but twitter seemed a-buzz). At least they were kind to Malaya for not changing the lyrics to When I Was Your Man.
Let’s talk about some contestants. I’ve arranged them from most to least favorite, although some are tied for my love (I’ll leave you to guess who those may be).
Alex Preston – Story of My Life
Alex is probably the smartest guy on this show (maybe he and Caleb can battle for that title). He’s played so many excellent song choices and I think One Direction was another feather in his cap of this “idol concert” as he put it. This is the only One Direction song I know/own, and it’s new enough to have never been done on Idol. Finally, he didn’t have to compete with previous performances of the same song! I thought he did it well. And his voice, mixed with playing the guitar, made it quite different from the boy band version, so that was quite pleasant too. Was it just me or was JLo fangirling a little bit? I think that this will also help him a lot with the ladies. Or should I say, the ?Under 15” crowd.
Caleb Johnson – Edge of Glory
This song was pretty close to perfection. I never want to like Caleb but I swear to god he forces me to. EVERY.SINGLE.WEEK. ok really only since last week, but still. I don’t know what Keith or Jen were saying because I was enthralled by this performance. It might be that I like any Lady Gaga song as long as she’s not singing it (I wear, I always hear covers/parodies of songs and love them and then realize they’re hers). I do think he could have had a little more build up throughout the song, and maybe rocked out just a little more (words I never thought I’d say to Caleb) but overall, it was minor. I enjoyed it buddy. Keep it up.
Malaya Watson – When I Was Your Man
I was a little surprised that Malaya would sing Bruno Mars again, only because last time she didn’t get great reviews. That being said, I think a slow song was a much better choice than her first Bruno selection. Call me a sucker for a piano arrangement (although I would’ve been happier had she been playing it herself), but I thought her performance was great. I agreed with Harry that I thought she was completely present in her performance. As I mentioned above, I liked that they complimented her not changing the lyrics (I think that’s weird, personally). I re-listened to Candice Glover singing it last year and she did the same (and I don’t think she did it much better than Malaya). Sidenote – Harry gets extra adorable points for getting Malaya flowers. So sweet J
Jena Irene – Clarity
I’d never heard this song but when I heard it was “electronic”, it was pretty clear why I’d never heard it. Not exactly in my wheelhouse of musical knowledge (is that even a grammy category?). The song was fine, but all I could think of was the hardcore Cleopatra vibe I kept getting from her outfit. It was like… bad Cleopatra costume, meets Robin Sparkles during her dark period, meets a bedazzler, obviously…
I can’t believe they’re complimenting her pants though. Those were hideous.
As for this song, it fell closer to the “paint it black” performance than the “original song” performances, but for my first trip down the electronic genre trail, it wasn’t a bad ride. Who knew I’d be seeing it again before the end of the episode!
Majesty York – Wake Me Up
I’d never heard this song, or band for that matter. I watched the music video during the commercial break and I really loved it and also realized they sing that “Oh Brother” song from a stop smoking commercial, which I love more. This was probably a better choice for Majesty than the commercial song though. And either way, the important thing is that I thought Majesty really redeemed herself. I thought it was a fantastic song choice and I thought she did so well. I hope she loosens up to where she was before she was in the bottom 3, but I think as long as she is sitting on the couch this week and not a stool, she’ll be back to form by next week!
Jessica Meuse – Pumped Up Kicks
So yes, I wanted Alex to sing this (but I liked Alex’ choice). Jessica is not someone I would think could pull it off but I thought she totally did. It fits lyrically to a country tune, and I really liked that she sang it in the same vein I believe Foster the People would sing it. Would “ironically” be the right word? I feel like I never use the word ironic correctly. I agreed with Jen that I too was worried about the pick but it was way more in her wheelhouse than last week. Side note – I still have to say that I really hope Jessica sings a Kacey Musgraves song at some point. I think this was the only performer where I completely disagreed with Harry (and Keith too, to some extent)
Sam Woolf – We Are Young
Ok so you know how everyone was mulling over Jess and her performance vs the lyrics in the song and half the judges/host said how they didn’t really listen to the lyrics when they first heard the song. That’s this song for me. Personally most of it just sounds like 4 lyrics, on repeat for 4:12 minutes. Who knew it was about some guy beating up his girlfriend and then getting forgiven or something? I still feel like I don’t know. And honestly, in this instance, I don’t care. It bothered me more how slow he sang the song compared to how fun. sings the song. How did he make a fun song boring? It did get better, and I do think Sam is improving in his song selection so I think he has that to hang his hat on.
And now for the bottom 3 of the evening…
Dexter Roberts – Cruise
Picking good songs? How about picking boring songs that are completely predictable? I mean, did I or did I not call this??? I really wish someone had actually bet me that he wouldn’t sing this! I would be rolling in dollers by now. I will say that this was one of the better songs he’s performed. And he moves around the stage/interacts with the audience well. I’m really glad that Harry called him generic though because that’s exactly what he is.
MK Nobilette – Perfect
I remember Kree sang this last year, but I don’t really recall anything fantastic about it, but it was better than MK’s. I’d never think someone like MK would pick this song. Pink in general seemed an odd choice to me. I think the best point made with regards to this performance was Harry’s criticism in general, that, if you can’t sing a song as good or better than the performer, then don’t sing it. Had she changed it up a bit, maybe, but she did nothing original with the piece and thus, had to be left in comparison to Pink herself and she doesn’t really stand up.
CJ Harris – Invisible
Ok so… Melinda Doolittle, when she doesn’t like a performance, she tries to say 3 nice things. So, let me say 3 nice things
1. I really like the strings
2. I like that Harry doesn’t watch rehearsals
Maybe there will be a lot of people saying this, but the only thing “invisible” on that song, was the pitch.
So anyway, we’ll see who gets the bottom 3 of the evening but me thinks… sorry, me hopes, that it’s these folks. I doubt CJ will go home, but a girl can dream.