American Idol 2014 Top 10 recap – Yes, top ten recap!

American Idol's top ten - Fox Television

American Idol’s top ten – Fox Television

Okay, I’ve got basketball to watch tomorrow, so let’s get this update done tonight!

First, let’s deal with last week’s exit – Ben Briley left us too soon, leaving Dexter the Dud as country’s big hope this year.  Sorry, country music fans – you cut the wrong guy. But, while interesting, Briley wasn’t going to win this competition, so no save was used.  Bye-bye, Ben.

Let’s get into this week’s performances.  The theme was “Any Song That Has Appeared In Billboard’s Top Ten From 2011 Until This Moment Right Now”, or something like that.  It started, as every show does, with the judges walking out in formation – Keith, Jennifer, Harry – left to right.  Then they crisscrossed at the chairs so they can be seated facing the stage in formation – Keith, Jennifer, Harry – left to right.  That was followed by lots of time-killing filler, like selfies, talk of minor earthquakes, and texts from Harry.  Because as we continue losing contestants, it gets really hard to fill two hours of programming.  But fill it we did!  And here’s what I thought, in order of performance…

M.K. NOBILETTE “Perfect” by Pink – She actually put pink streaks in her hair for this.  My wife instantly cited this action as derivative.  Great word.   This performance would have been better if she had also swung awkwardly on a trapeze above the stage.  M.K. still seems uncomfortable trying to work the stage, and this vocal was not good.  It appeared to me that she kind of ran out of gas at the end, which was apparently M.K. reacting to a timing mistake she made with the band.  Funny thing is, had she just stayed the course and kept going, I wouldn’t even have noticed.

DEXTER ROBERTS “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line – (zzzzzzzzzz…) – whu – huh- um…sorry.  I nodded off there.  Wow.  I am so completely unimpressed with Dexter the Dud.  I thought this was his worst performance yet.  Harry actually described him as “bereft of joy”.  Yes.  Like a dud.  Dexter the Dud.  Country fans are wishing they had Ben Briley back, now.

JENA IRENE “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes – I’m a little vexed here.  I like the song, thought the performance was strong, but the vocals were just kind of okay.  But all three judges loved her, which makes me think maybe I missed something.  I’d go back and re watch it, but there’s no time.  Moving on!

ALEX PRESTON “The Story of My Life” by One Direction – Ryan spent a little too much time talking about “the directioners”, in a kind of creepy way.  But even that didn’t stop me from absolutely loving this performance.  He made it better than the 1D version (yeah, I just dropped a 1D).  Alex has become this season’s front-runner in my mind.  I love what he can do to a song and I already look forward to hearing what he will do with original material.

MALAYA WATSON “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars – Yes!!  This was easily Malaya’s best and most complete performance of the year.  A wonderful balance of gentleness and power, and in total control. She is so fun to watch grow.  The judges all gushed as well.  See you next week, Malaya.

CALEB JOHNSON “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga – Caleb compared the style of this song to those of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger.  In truth, it’s a little closer to…Meatloaf!  He’s getting closer to just caving in to just accepting his inner loafness.  And had he completely Bat-Out-Of Helled this song, it could have stolen the night. Instead, he sludged it up and kind of Two-Out-Of-Three-Ain’t-Baded it. But it didn’t work. I didn’t feel at all connected to the song. As usual, Caleb sang great. But he remains zero for the season in delivering a best-of-the-night performance.  At some point, that has to change.

C.J. HARRIS “Invisible” by Hunter Hayes – It can be a fine line between being great and awful.  C.J. was on the wrong side of that line tonight.  He was constantly bouncing between being sharp and flat.  The judges were right to point out that his passion and feeling for the lyrics remains strong, but as my wife said, “I couldn’t get past the pitch”.  This is such a bummer following C.J.’s standout performance from last week.

JESSICA MEUSE “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People – I liked the way Jessica kind of countrified this song and delivered one of her best performances of the season.  BUT – Harry was right to point out that she didn’t appear properly connected to the lyrics of this complicated and dark song.  BUT – J-Lo was right to point out that this song is complicated because the darkness is masked by an upbeat and fun music track that steers away from the lyric.  BUT – I just think Jessica needs to continue showing confidence.  She is an artist, but she seems to have let nerves get in her way too often this year.  With confidence, she could near the front of the pack.

MAJESTY ROSE “Wake Me Up” by Avicci – This is the kind of song that Majesty should be singing.  So it was a shame to me that she kind of didn’t do well.  I agreed with Ms. Lopez that, after a poor first half of the song, she finished strong.  But it still wasn’t great.  There were moments, but not enough.  Sadly, I’m starting to forget why I loved her in the first place.

SAM WOOLF “We Are Young” by Fun. – Hmm.  This was kind of a weird one.  During the quiet, acoustic intro, this was the best I have ever seen Sam be.  Then, he got all swallowed up by the band during the bigness of the anthem.  And that’s what happens to Sam – he just tends to get all swallowed up by this whole competition.  And then, when he is just standing there talking to Ryan.  He goes completely blank.  Like a dud.  Sam the Dud.  And Dexter the Dud.  I would happily replace these two with Ben Briley and Emily Piriz.

Looking back now, it wasn’t a very good night. There were really only two great performances, and then a pretty significant drop to three. Here is how I ranked them:

  1. ALEX PRESTON
  2. MALAYA WATSON
  3. JESSICA MEUSE
  4. CALEB JOHNSON
  5. JENA IRENE
  6. MAJESTY ROSE
  7. SAM WOOLF
  8. M.K. NOBILETTE
  9. C.J. HARRIS
  10. DEXTER CARTER

I would really like to see Dexter go home, but I’m sure that won’t happen.  Likely, M.K. or Majesty are going to be in trouble.  C.J. isn’t in the clear either, though I would be deeply sad to see him disappear from the contestant photo gallery.

By the way, here is how I currently rank my POWER FIVE, the top five contestants that I think will win this competition.

  1. ALEX PRESTON – consistent artistry puts him regularly at the top.
  2. CALEB JOHNSON – Easily the best voice, easily the best performer, but he needs to challenge himself as an artist.  Still hasn’t won a week in my eyes.
  3. MALAYA WATSON – Keeps getting better.  Seems coachable.  She could very much win this thing.
  4. JENA IRENE – Crazy good and unique voice, but needs to choose songs carefully.  She can’t just make anything sound good.
  5. C.J. HARRIS – I just really like C.J.  He was bad this week, but he can also be great.

That’s it!  Good night, now!

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~ by themattmorrisshow on March 20, 2014.

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