American Idol 2014, top 7 recap – the calm before the storm

top 7

There are seven left. That still seems like a lot. But it’s going to roll down hill fast from here and soon we will crown a new Idol champion and wonder what, if any, impact they will make on the pop music landscape.

Unfortunately, at this point in the season, we usually get a week where a lull of intensity settles in with the contestants. This was that week. They’ve all made through half of the eliminations and might be feeling kind of comfortable. Or tired. Either way, it creates a lack luster night before things heat up again when they realize how close they are to actually winning this thing!

But before we analyze tonight’s mostly average performances, we have to say goodbye to someone who had no business leaving before Sam Woolf. Last week, following the judges ridiculous save of Sam, Malaya Watson was voted off the show. To be honest, I did find that her act was starting to get a little predictable and slightly stale, but she was still consistently superior to young Mr Woolf. But, with no save left to use, it was farewell to Ms. Watson.

Back to tonight! The theme was “Each Of The Contestants Gets to Pick A Song For You And Then You Have To Choose One Of Those Six Songs To Sing On The Show” or something like that. These high concept themes are exhausting. Also, we had the customary duets, plus one trio, since we have an odd number. I gave minimal consideration to these performances tonight, but couldn’t help but be a little impacted by them. Anyway, here’s what I thought, in order of appearance…

CALEB JOHNSON “Family Tree” by Kings of Leon (selected by Alex– This started a little flat, then picked up once Meatloaf, er, Caleb jumped into his higher tone voice to rock it out. It was a typically great performance by Caleb. It was also typically lacking that extra something special that makes me really sit up and take notice. Clearly, this guy is talented. He should be in the final three. But, to put it in J-Lo terms, I never get goosies from him.

JESSICA MEUSE “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert (selected by Sam) – Oh, Jessica. Apparently she is afraid of ponies and thinks she may have been abducted by aliens. Maybe they just abducted her stage presence. I thought her vocals still kind of rocked (though the judges disagreed), but she just has no idea how command an audience’s attention. If she figured that out, I think she could own this season.

Hey, look – it’s Demi Lovato! And, back to the show.

DUET: ALEX PRESTON AND SAM WOOLF “Let Her Go” by Passengers – This started out perfectly adequate and then got worse from there. I mean, I would’ve kicked them down a dollar if they were performing outside of the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company, but it really wasn’t that good.

Hey! Terry Bradshaw’s here! And, back to the show.

C.J. HARRIS “Gravity” by John Mayer (selected by Caleb) – Me likey. I know America has their sights on eliminating this Spongebob lover, but I thought this was strong. I agree with the judges that this was a little under performed, but just slightly. Connick Jr. is right on when he points to C.J.’s ability to connect to a song. He is the strongest contestant when it comes to that.

Hey! It’s some Dutch/German DJ named Martin Garrix!

And look! It’s someone named Ronda Rousey, who apparently fights! And, back to the show.

DEXTER ROBERTS “Muckalee Creek Water” by Luke Bryan (selected by C.J.) – Textbook Dexter the Dud. It’s too bad this adrenaline junkie doesn’t seem to get his fix by performing on stage. And it was clear that he was really trying to put some feeling into his performance, but it still didn’t work. Because he can’t. We all get that. But American will probably put him through because he sings anthemic, popular country hits that generate a reaction from fans of that genre. But there is nothing special about what this guy does week to week.

DUET: JENA IRENE AND CALEB JOHNSON “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones – This is my favorite Stones song. And Jena and Caleb sang it really well. If I’m being honest, I thought the band was kind of muddled on this, but I won’t hold that against Caleb and Jena, who are separating themselves from the pack.

ALEX PRESTON “A Team” by Ed Sheeran (selected by Dexter) – This was a total wheelhouse song for future dermatologist, Alex. And he took advantage, delivering a comfortably strong number. I still feel like I need to see something that surprises me from Alex to convince me he should win, but he is easily a top three performer.

SAM WOOLF “Sail Away” by David Gray (selected by Jessica) – This was a perfect song choice for Sam. I thought last week’s performance was stronger (contrary to Harry’s opinion), but it was nice. It didn’t require a lot of emotional acrobatics, which is good. Because while Sam may like to climb, he is not a fan of climbing emotional heights.

Hey everyone! Terry Bradshaw is holding an electric guitar and sitting with the band! And, back to the show.

TRIO: C.J. HARRIS, JESSICA MEUSE, AND DEXTER HARRIS “Compass” by Lady Antebellum – Oof. This was bad. It’s like they are from three completely different Alabama’s. I blame it on the soul-less Jessica and Dexter the Dud.

JENA IRENE “Creep” by Radiohead (selected by Caleb, making him the only person to have two selections used) – Wow. Can we just stop the season and make Jena the winner now? This was easily the best performance of the night. Maybe Jena was mad that none of the contestants used any of her suggestions on the show. Or, maybe she has just grown up past them all over the last several weeks. This is such a unique song, and Jena made it her own. She is so talented. And, thankfully, she seems to have stopped peeing her pants before performances. But, more than anything, when the crunch of the guitar came into the song, I wanted so desperately to cut to band, revealing that it was being played by Terry Bradshaw. That would have put Idol back on top.

Okay, taking all of that into consideration, here’s how I rank them this week:

  1. JENA IRENE
  2. ALEX PRESTON
  3. CALEB JOHNSON
  4. C.J. HARRIS
  5. SAM WOOLF
  6. JESSICA MEUSE
  7. DEXTER HARRIS

To me, it Jena alone on top, then Alex and Caleb pretty much even, then C.J., then everyone else pretty much even. So, I don’t know if Dexter really was the worst this week. But I just am tired of him. And I’d be okay with Sam finally going home too. I’m worried that it might by C.J., since he was in the bottom two last week. I don’t believe he deserves it, but it might be him. I’m still a little confused about how Jessica has never seemed to find herself in the bottom two or three. Maybe this is the week that changes.

Here’s my top five, looking at the whole season, power ranking:

  1. JENA IRENE
  2. CALEB JOHNSON
  3. ALEX PRESTON
  4. C.J. HARRIS
  5. JESSICA MEUSE

Bottom line – it’s about those top three. That is your competition. The other four are just killing time. Don’t screw it up, America.

 

 

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~ by themattmorrisshow on April 17, 2014.

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