AMERICAN IDOL Recap: It's Time For America To Pull The Plug (Updated w/ Pictures)
On this week's Top-6 edition of AMERICAN IDOL Season XIII, we were "treated" to not one, but two, songs by each competitor. The theme, "A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll" gave the contestants an opportunity to channel their inner Donnys and Maries. Speaking of the beloved Osmond sibs, nothing about them screams either Country or Rock 'n Roll to me. But I digress; in most cases tonight, the double your pleasure set-up resulted in an extra helping of awesome, but (as is expected from this season) there was one singer whose combined performances resulted in confusion with a side of frustration.
While the two-songs-a-piece idea, at times, left something to be desired, I will take that over the insufferable duets (and trios) of the last few weeks any day, especially Wednesdays. The double performances also seemingly left less time for the endless judges' mugging we have been increasingly subjected to in recent weeks (not that it was completely gone).
Now, onto the performances:
Jena Irene Rock Performance
"Barracuda" by Heart
Three-Word Review: That You Ann?
Based on the comments in the results-episode recap from last week, it is clear that not everyone feels the same way about Jena as I do. I agree with Jennifer Lopez that she deserves to be the season's frontrunner. She has not delivered a bad performance yet, and only continues to impress each time out. While she didn't venture far off the original track, Jena delivered a vocal that, in my Heart-loving opinion, equaled that of the great Ann Wilson (sacrilege, I know!). Also, along with her prom date Caleb, she is one of the few contestants that has any sense of stage presence. Sam and Jessica especially could learn a lot by watching her perform.
Random Appearance Alert: I have no idea who R5 is, but apparently Ryan Seacrest thinks they are important enough to waste airtime on. Who wants to bet that their record label has a business connection to IDOL?
Sam Woolf Rock Performance
"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
Three-Word Review: Bond, Boring Bond
The song started out promising for me. Capitalizing on what worked well last week, we heard a bit of a brighter tone from Sam on this one. Unfortunately, this song also brought about the first intonation issues I have heard from him this season. The judges clearly are trying to push him, because they all praised his performance tonight, but the only difference I saw between this week and his boring other performances was that he learned how to squeeze his eyes closed really tightly. Also, why was the James Bond spiral logo on the jumbotron behind him?
Peak Behind the Curtain Alert: When critiquing Sam, Harry Connick Jr. said that he was a sweet, shy kid, which everyone seems to echo. But then the two-time Tony-nominee threw in "even though we've never met." Obviously they have been working together on some level for months, but does this mean that Harry and Sam have never had an off-camera conversation?
C.J. Harris Rock Performance
"American Woman" by The Guess Who
Three-Word Review: I Give Up
As I said last week, it is probably better for our health and well-being if we just give up hoping that C.J. is ever going to sing an entire 90 second song segment completely (or even mostly?) in tune. Once we have removed the shackles of remedial expectations, it is easier to understand why America seemingly loves C.J. Despite not being thought of as a rocker, his trademarked growl fit this song well, and he has perfected the "emotional" eye-squint that Sam is still attempting to learn. I can't imagine him not being on my "In Danger" list this week, but this was better than some of his recent performances, I guess.
Alex Preston Rock Performance
"Animal" by Neon Trees
Three-Word Review: Had to Happen
This was an interesting song for me. I've been beating the Alex drum for a while. I love his creativity and overall vibe. That being said, I've been hoping that he would give us something that wasn't Jason Mraz/Jack Johnson mellow for a while, and this definitely did that. However, that extra energy and fun forced Alex to the upper levels of his register (somewhere he hasn't spent much time this season), and it wasn't always great. It started pretty spot-on, but the constant jumping up and down in his register from chorus to verse took its toll. Alex doesn't miss very often, so you figure it had to happen eventually; I'm just glad that he has another song tonight to redeem himself a bit.
Caleb Johnson Rock Performance
"Sting Me" by The Black Crowes
Three-Word Review: Hello Ned Schneebly
I have no idea if Caleb has any interest in acting, but if there are any Broadway producers out there looking for a lead to their stage adaptation of "School of Rock," look no further for your Jack Black stand-in. Caleb took a song that only 13 people have even thought about in the last 22 years, and brought down the house. Whether it was his ridiculous high notes, having to knee-slide to get his mic mid-song, or worshipping at the feet of his backup singers, Caleb is a Rock 'n' Roll showman. I don't know if he will resonate with a modern audience, but this dude is the complete package.
Jessica Meuse Rock Performance
"Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane
Three-Word Review: Closed My Eyes