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AMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)

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Also, if she makes it through to another week, I would advise her to stop doing songs previously done by IDOL's best-ever rock-chick Haley Reinhart, as she has done two of the last three weeks. Why, you ask? Exhibit 1: "Rhiannon" and Exhibit 2: "Call Me."

Sam WoolfAMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)
"Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper
Three-Word Review:
Justified Judges Save

I was really glad that Sam went with a unique acoustic version of this song, and even more glad that he added a few jumps up in register that showed us a side of his voice that I don't think we have seen all year. I have been clear that I do not think that Sam deserved the save last week, especially if someone goes home prematurely this week or next. However, that's over, and Sam took full advantage of the second chance he was given. I was very glad that he provided an improved performance; the question is, will it be enough of an improvement to keep him safe this week?

AMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)Duet #3: Malaya Watson and C.J. Harris
"I Knew You Were Waiting" by Aretha Franklin and George Michael
Six-Word Review:
Why This Song On Singing Competition?

Alex Preston
"Every Breath You Take" by The PoliceAMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)
Three-Word Review:
Wow! Perfect Performance!

Through sheer honesty and artistry, Alex somehow transformed a song essentially about stalking into a heartfelt lovely lullaby. I'm not even going to waste the keystrokes talking about Alex's spot-on vocal technique, because as a whole, this song was perfect. It was simple, yet complex, and all together moving. One of the best song "reimaginings" in IDOL history, in my opinion. With that said, I agree with Harry Connick Jr.'s differentiation between a performer and an entertainer. As I said two weeks ago, I am afraid that Alex's "coffeehouse vibe" might not translate to the masses.

AMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)Duet #4: Dexter Roberts and Jessica Meuse
"Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
Six-Word Review:
They're Stuck Mid-Stream Without a Paddle?

C.J. Harris
"Free Fallin'" by Tom PettyAMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)
Three-Word Review:
Oh, not again...

Much like many of the other fresh takes on classics tonight, I appreciated C.J.'s interpretation of the song. However, it is always a variation on a theme with C.J.; he is wonderfully charismatic, but he continually ends up on the losing end of a tenuous battle with pitch. The judges clearly have a soft spot for him, as they routinely hype his connection to the lyrics, but it is lost on me. Perhaps I am too much of a pedant, but I can't get past his inability to sing the proper notes, especially on the world's largest singing competition. Is that so wrong?

AMERICAN IDOL Recap: David Cook Mentors Top-8 to Fresh Takes on 80's Hits (Updated with Pictures)Caleb Johnson
"Faithfully" by Journey
Three-Word Review:
King of Power-Ballads (I hyphenated it, so it only counts as one word)

While Caleb has been the King of Power-Ballads all season, this song had a different feel to it. There was a palpable emotion in Caleb's performance that hadn't been there before. In his previous songs, he was all about giving the full rockstar treatment with as much vocal theatrics and reckless abandon as he possibly could, but tonight he showed us a little more. Yes, the incredible voice was still there, but so was a bit of heart that we hadn't yet seen. For me, he again proved why he is easily one of the season's frontrunners.

Awkward Aussie Analogy Alert
I don't know how they are remembered in Australia, but someone needs to let Keith know that comparing a performance to a fanny pack, probably doesn't play as a compliment in America.

Should Be Bottom-Three (based on the whole season)
Dexter Roberts
Jessica Meuse
C.J. Harris

Probably Will Be Bottom-Three
Malaya Watson
Sam Woolf
C.J. Harris

Should Be Eliminated
Ryan didn't care to mention whether we would be losing one or two contestants on Thursday, so I will just pick two and see what happens tomorrow:
1) C.J. Harris
2) Dexter Roberts

Best of the Night
Alex Preston

Do you agree with my takes on tonight's performances? Let me know what you thought of the show in the comments below, or on Twitter @BWWMatt. Also, remember to check back with BroadwayWorld TV on Thursday morning for videos of each performance, and Thursday night for my recap of the Elimination Show.

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta | FOX

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Matt Tamanini Matt is BroadwayWorld's Chief TV and Film critic. He also writes across other BWW sites, and serves as BWW's Database Manager. He received a BA in Journalism/Communications from The Ohio State University and has worked in sports broadcasting, media relations, and journalism. He also has directed and/or produced over 30 plays and musicals, and is currently writing two plays of his own. You can connect with Matt through Twitter: @BWWMatt.



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