Which is what this should’ve been called.
That said, I think that for the most part, the songs were different enough from the versions they auditioned with (or completely different in the case of Caleb and Dexter) to make tonight still feel somewhat fresh and new. And who even remembers two months ago anyway? The only audition I remembered (song wise) was Sam’s. I didn’t even recall seeing Dexter, Jena or Caleb in the audition round (although I did find their auditions and vaguely remembered them at that point, ok maybe just Calebs).
I have to say that for being forced to listen to songs the contestants sang already, this might’ve been the most successful performance night of the show. I didn’t think any of the performances were bad (although a few were a touch boring). The only bad performances, to my ear, involved the duets. I have to say that American Idol could learn a few things from The Voice as far as good duets are concerned (at least this season).
While thinking of “better duets” I created a “Top 5 best American Idol duets that I can remember in no particular order” –
1. Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze singing “Falling Slowly”
2. Casey Abrams and THE Hailey Reinhart singing “I Feel the Earth Move”
3. Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald singing “Blackbird” (and apparently they’ve duet-ed since then)
4. Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina singing anything basically.
5. Carly Smithson and Michael Johns singing “The Letter”
Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday singing “And I’m Telling You” because it
is seriously one of the funniest/most awkward things to have ever happened on Idol (see below)
Of tonights duets, I think Jessica and Caleb was my favorite, but maybe it was Jena and Alex. Actually, it probably was Jena and Alex but only superior because of song choice. I swooned for Jena and Alex more, because it was a duet I thought was bizarre but then hearing it, my heart fluttered like Jena’s lilting voice (who knew she had that in her?). I wrote in my notes that I was pretty sure this would be my favorite of the night, without having heard the rest of the duets, but now, post show, I was totally right. I will say that as far as Jessica and Caleb are concerned, I was trying to think of clever band names for them because I really thought they made each other sound better! How about Meatloaf and Stevie? Or Meatloaf’s Muse? I dunno… maybe you guys have some suggestions?
I should also say that there wasn’t anything particularly wrong vocally with Sam and Malaya, it was just Sam’s perpetual problem – lack of any kind of emotion. You can’t sing about being lucky to be in love when you have zero feelings towards the person you’re supposed to be singing with/about. You know? And CJ and Dexter well… I’ll be nice and just say nothing. Nothing is better than what I could say.
With that, lets move on to the single performances of the night:
I guess I was wrong in that it wasn’t “any song they auditioned with” but actually the song they auditioned with (unless they don’t want to sing that). Seriously though, where did they get that alleged audition footage of Dexter and Caleb singing their respective songs? Because what I saw on television when they auditioned was Caleb singing what I think was an original, and Dexter singing whatever I said he sang in that last post. **grumble grumble**
There are two… ok 3 people that I really want to talk about first. So that’s what I’m gonna do…
Jessica Meuse – Blue Eyed Lie (Original Song)
Being that it’s CLEAR that Jessica can write a tune, it’s fitting that (according to Twitter) she’s officially the first person to sing an original song, on the live stage! That’s pretty cool! I hope she isn’t the last, that’s for sure (spoiler alert – she wasn’t)! The song wasn’t so much different, as it was equally perfect to the first time we heard it. Other than that, it was just as perfect as it was the first time I heard it. As such, let’s talk about that dress Jessica was wearing. Talk about doing nothing for her figure. It was like anti-figure flattering! I also just realized how many extensions she has in her hair. I also didn’t like how they had her on that weird box. Ok I’m done complaining about non-song related things… with regards to Jessica.
Jena Irene – Rolling in the Deep
Yes, confusion. I never realized you could remix such an iconic sound, and have it be soooooo gooooodddd! To you, Jena,
Based on her portfolio of performances, I dare say she’s the most original/unique/boundary pushing/original performer on the show. While the slowness of the arrangement wasn’t totally my favorite, I did like the more of a rock tinge the song had but the slowness was kind of killing it for me. And to me, maybe the arrangement wasn’t my favorite, but the ability to change it up so much and still be so good, was excellent. I think if you can’t sing like Adele, changing things up is the smartest thing to do, it’s just usually an epic fail. This was anything BUT. Great job, Jena!
Alex Preston – Fairytales (Original Song #2)
So, can I just say that I’m really glad Alex went with his original song and didn’t sing something else. Maybe they should just let Alex and Jessica write the finale songs? That would be pretty exciting (not saying we won’t see them in the finale – I could easily see one of the two up on the stage when all is said and done – Jena too for that matter because her original song performance has been my favorite of hers to date). The other thing, that maybe Sam can learn from Alex, is to take emotions and make songs out of them. Here, it was a bad break up (something that I have to assume Sam has never experienced). Anyway, Alex, you were great and you made my Top 3 EASILY tonight! Great job buddy!
CJ Harris – Soul Shine
CJ must’ve heard I have a thing for grandparents! And CJ’s grampa was adorbsies. It’s funny to me that I didn’t realize CJ was a touch out of tune in his audition (he mentions it while talking about his audition). I must not have realized it because I just loved his first performance. I think it was by far my favorite performance of his (although I did notice the touches of “out of tune-ness” this time, although it was more noticeable in his duet). I do think this was probably his best live performance (and the most* in tune). Is it weird that I almost like CJ more than Sam because he can at least show some emotion when he sings? I’m beginning to think Sam is some sort of sociopath or something with his utter lack of emotion.
Sam Woolf – Lego House
I love Sam’s grampa. Can Sam’s grampa just win idol already? I think I love him more than any contestant. When I saw his baby picture I thought for a sec they were talking about Dexter (sorry, the O’s are on. I have to switch back and forth, and missed part of the intro. Priorities people). I know I talked about how boring I find Sam, but I do really enjoy this song. This is far more his wheelhouse to me than the last few weeks have been. I liked this version and the first version he did of the song. Also, so um… last week, surrounded by lightbulbs. This week, surrounded by lamps. Can I make a prediction that if he makes it to the finale, he’ll be surrounded by fully furnished bedrooms? I mean, it’s not like Lego House or whatever drab song he performed last week (oh right…), had anything to do with lights/bulbs/lamps/etc. so I’m not really understanding the stage decor.
Malaya Watson – Aint No Way
I thought that Malaya’s insight on her auditioning, was very interesting. Especially with all the people they let through/didn’t let through because they weren’t ready. The thing is, maybe Malaya has the most to grow as far as a contestant, but wouldn’t you agree that she really has grown the most, throughout the course of the show? It is so fantastic and amazing to see how far Malaya has already come in this competition. She is realizing she doesn’t need to force the notes. For me, this was sweet perfection. Fantastic is such an understatement.
Caleb Johnson – Chain of Fools
Who would’ve thought there would be 2 Aretha Franklin songs. I guess if you can sing Aretha well, you’re worthy of the stage! I mean, it wasn’t his audition song, but clearly he sang it for the judges at some point (did he audition with it in a previous season? I don’t really remember him from the previous seasons so maybe that’s possible?). Caleb is just a consummate performer. He puts so much in to his performances that it’s hard not to watch and like him. I know I’ve fallen into that trap. I do like that they finally told him to maybe do a slower/less loud song. This one was kind of slow, but definitely still very loud!
and just because I want Dexter to be last…
Dexter Roberts – One Mississippi
So which audition did he sing this song for? That’s curious. I will say I liked it WAY more than the Drive song he sang in his audition. <- That’s all I wrote in my notes for Dexter. I will say that this might have been my favorite performance of Dexter’s to date. That’s only because it sounded a touch more original (even though it wasn’t at all original). It makes you realize that the guy can sing. He’s just dull. Not as dull as Sam, maybe the word I’m really looking for is unoriginal (which Sam also is).
Now, as far as voting, because I didn’t think anyone did terribly, I decided to vote for all of them in order (for the most part) of my favorites… except I still had to give Malaya the most votes because I’m sorry, but she just rocks my socks!
Also, in case you were wondering, best tweet of the night goes to a one, @HarryConnickJr