AMERICAN IDOL Recap: Contestant Delivers Moving Performance Worthy of IDOL Hall of Fame (Updated w/ pictures)
Well, it has been quite the tumultuous week for our final four AMERICAN IDOL contenders. After an ill-conceived "twist" forced the finalists to vote whether or not to heave an elimination last week, the two (Jena Irene and Alex Preston) that voted for the elimination which ultimately sent home preteen-girl favorite Sam Woolf, have been bombarded on social media by angry members of Sam's Woolfpack.
Then after last Thursday's elimination episode, Caleb Johnson used an offensive slur when talking about online haters. Whether either of these controversies will impact the outcome of the competition will not be clear until this week's results show, but with the always emotional Hometown Visits hanging in the balance for the Top-3, every voting factor will be magnified this week.
To make sure that the viewers make fully informed decisions, the finalists performed three songs each; a break-up song, a dedication (a la Casey Kasem), and then a make-up song. As always with IDOL Season XIII, the results were a mixed bag. There were some painful performances and one that I believe will go down in the IDOL Hall of Fame.
Ok, here are my thoughts on each performance. Let me know if you agree in the comments below:
"You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi
Three-Word Review: He's Ready Now!
Normally when an Idol contestant takes a stroll through the crowd it looks awkward and forced, however, whether the North Carolina rocker was on-stage or in the audience, he seemed in complete control of his surroundings tonight. I can't imagine that there is a stage on Earth that he would not kill on. However, I am becoming more and more conscious of the fact that Caleb never really changes up a song. It is pretty much always the arrangement and melody of the original with a few signature wails throw-in. While I would pay to see him do that, I have to wonder if it is enough to sustain him with the crowded final-four field.
Random Observation #1: This #IdolSelfie thing where they want viewers to press themselves against their TV screens to get a selfie with their favorite contestants reeks of desperation. The Powers That Be are trying so desperately to keep IDOL relevant on social media, but whether they admit it or not, the show is on the backside of its popularity. IDOL is now like "fetch," stop trying to make it happen.
"Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
Three-Word Review: Follow the Rules!
There are hard and fast rules for singing competitions; don't sing Whitney, don't sing Celine, don't sing Mariah, and don't sing Kelly. Just don't; especially when you don't even have anything approaching the vocal range and commitment to performance of those iconic artists. The opening segment of this song was lazy and started way too low for her. I've really tried to get onboard the Jessica train, because I felt like I was being too harsh on her in recent weeks, but it's just not going to happen (like "fetch"). As a theatre-first fan, I can't make myself get behind a performer who seems completely disinterested in conveying the message and emotion of the song she is singing.
"Too Close" by Alex Clare
Three-Word Review: Rockin' the Stankface
Even though it was a stripped down version of a song played with an acoustic guitar, this felt different to me from Alex. He added a certain amount of grittiness into the song that I don't remember in the original; he also seemed a little sinister in this song. While Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez didn't seem to think so, I thought Alex's performance was full of weight and showed something that we don't normally see for him; and I'm not talking about the stankface he was throwing in either.
"Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar
Three-Word Review: She's Only 17?
Though it was reminiscent of last week's "Barracuda," this song still surprised me how in control Jena is in terms of performance. She appeared to be a seasoned rock star working the crowd and the stage. That being said, I do agree with the judges that she felt unusually restrained vocally. However, considering she is going to have to belt out two more numbers, I can understand her hesitance. Her voice is the most commercially interesting of the season, and her performances are the most ready to tour today. Will she win? I don't know, but she deserves to be one half of the finale.
Random Observation #2: Watching JLo strut down the runway, I wondered if she has ever even thought about belting like Jena while walking like that. Considering I'm not sure she has ever actually sung live on stage in her life, I don't know that her demoing how Jena should own the stage during a performance is the most helpful.
"Traveling Band" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Dedicated to: His friends and bandmates back home
Three-Word Review: Ready to Rock