American Idol 2014, top 5 recap – You will sing what America tells you to sing!

top 5

I am feeling some American Idol fatigue. I have already made up my mind who should win, as well as who should finish second and third, so we’re just going through motions at this point. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

First, let’s say goodbye to C.J. He would have been way more interesting than Sam tonight, but it doesn’t matter because neither one of them are going to be in the top 3.

Okay – it’s late, and as usual, I’m not getting paid. So let’s get to this. The theme was “America’s Choice”, which means all of America got together last week to decide on which songs to have the contestants perform. It got a little heated sometimes, but we eventually came to a consensus. Zooey Deschanel showed up to do Ryan Secrest’s job to start the show. It would have been cool if she just stayed and kept doing his job. Here’s how it all went, in order of performance.

ALEX PRESTON “The Sweater Song” by The Neighborhood – The song sounded great, and Alex sounded great. I would like to have seen more bounce from him, as the song kind of demanded, but this was typically strong Alex. He’ll get better with uptempo as he grows as an artist.

Austin Mahone showed up so we could take a selfie with he and Ryan. I didn’t. But I was glad to see that young Mr. Mahone seems to have dropped the contrived hip-hop accent I’ve heard him use in the past.

CALEB JOHNSON “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith – Candles! And maybe Caleb’s kryptonite. The melodic and gentle power ballad. A little pitchy, dawg. Yes, he sang “Faithfully” well earlier this season, but even that had some weak spots. This one had a lot of them. And it suddenly dawned on me – Caleb isn’t Meatloaf. He’s Michael Bolton! As long as he can belt it loud, he has not problem with the song. But when he has to be gentle and melodic, he kind of loses his way and just stands there and stares into the camera, while not singing well.

JENA, ALEX, AND SAM “Best Day Of My Life” by American Authors – Bottom line:  Jena put the boys to shame on this trio. That’s all you need to know about this performance.

JESSICA MEUSE “Human” by Christina Perri – Fog! And a performance that I think may have been Jessica’s best. She sang the song well, which I come to expect from her. But she also showed some actual signs of genuine emotion. I still don’t think she is a top three performer, but I’m sold that she should be in the top four next week.

Hey look – Ariana Grande is here to bring Sam his microphone and then have a really awkward moment on stage with Sam and Ryan! Hooray, awkwardness!

SAM WOOLF “Sing” by Ed Sheeran -Jason Mraz, who was mentoring the singers tonight, encouraged Sam to get funky on this. Sam laughed at the idea of getting funky. And yes, so did all of us. Because we know, quite well, that Sam is not capable of going anywhere near that mythical city we all know as Funkytown. He did manage to make a couple of scrunchy-faces, but that was nowhere close to getting funky. He suggested that he needed to “ride the groove”. That must be the name of the express that takes one to Funkytown. But, as we’ve already insinuated, Sam does not have a pass for that bus.

JENA IRENE “My Body” by Young The Giant – I don’t know when it happened exactly, but somewhere along the course of this season I just kind of decided that I didn’t want anyone else to win but Jena. She is terrific. I love the way she just loses herself in the song. She is so much more entertaining to watch on stage than anyone else. And her voice – so good. While this song was not her best, it’s a testament to her talent that it was so thoroughly enjoyable. She is strong and confident. I also like that she looked like a punk rock sailor. Without question, round one tonight goes to Jena.

CALEB and JESSICA “Beast of Burden” by The Rolling Stones – Whoa. This one got a little steamy. They both sang it well, but I couldn’t help thinking how much better it would have been with Jena singing instead of Jessica. Though I fully admit the 17 year-old had no business singing those lyrics too a 22-year-old.

Hey look! Ariana Grande is being awkward again, this time with Ryan and Randy! I love awkwardness!

ALEX PRESTON “Say Something” by Great Big World – Alex kicks off round two with his hair reaching new heights. While I hoped that meant he was going to do a Flock of Seagulls song (I thought that’s what we decided, America?), I have no complaints about what he did sing. Beautiful. I mean, really. Not much else needs to be said. Moving. Best of the night, for me.

JENA IRENE “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse -Another testament to how good Jena is. This was not a great song choice, as far as being able to showcase dynamism. But she still turned a delightful performance. Her interaction with the band is genuine and engaging. I would go see her with the band she was on stage with for this song.

SAM WOOLF “How To Save A Life” by The Fray – Well, we got more scrunchy-face to feign emotion. But this was instantly forgettable. Same ol’ same ol’ for Sam. Decent voice, vacant performance. He needs to go.

JESSICA MEUSE “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey – Perfect song choice. The song fit her vocal perfectly. Also, Jessica’s tendency to under perform actually fit the tone of this well, which actually made the performance more interesting. Solid performance.

CALEB JOHNSON “Still of The Night” by Whitesnake – And them Caleb did a Whitesnake song and just brought the whole house down. Seeeeeeriously. I also learned that my wife knows all of the words to “Still of the Night” by Whitesnake. Hmm. The more you know. Anyway, Caleb just killed this song that fit right smack in the center of his wheelhouse, which was good after his first legitimately “off” song of the season during the first half of the show.

So that was the show! And after watching all of that, here is how I rank them based on tonight’s performances:

  1. JENA IRENE
  2. ALEX PRESTON
  3. CALEB JOHNSON
  4. JESSICA MEUSE
  5. SAM WOOLF

I could have just as easily slotted Caleb at two and Alex at three, but I just couldn’t shake the Michael Bolton epiphany. The bottom line is that either Sam or Jessica need to go home, and what I really mean by that is Sam needs to go home. He should have gone home several weeks ago when the judges foolishly decided to use their save on him. But Jessica was in the bottom two last week, which concerns me. I would much rather listen to her for one more week than Sam. Please, America, do the right thing.

My overall top three remains Jena, Caleb, and Alex. But as I stated earlier, Jena is the only one I want to win at this point. Three more weeks.

 

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~ by themattmorrisshow on April 30, 2014.

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