Eleven finalists are still standing on American Idol, at least for the time being. This week, the contestants perform songs of the cinema, with Thursday’s results show revealing the identities of the Top 1o. The incentive to make it this far means securing a spot on the summer American Idol tour. And of course, everyone still wants to win the ultimate prize. So, them’s the stakes!
Last week, we bid a fond farewell to Emily Piriz. This week, it’s anyone’s guess who will be going home, as the competition is fierce between those who have proven themselves good enough to remain in the competition.
The judges take to the stage and Jennifer Lopez is electrifying in her bright pink top and capri pants. Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. certainly make up in energy what they lack in brightly-colored outfits. The first performer of the evening is tween heartthrob, Sam Woolf.
This week’s “humorous” gag involves contestants doing an impersonation of each other. It’s pretty lame. Seventeen-year-old Sam sings The Beatles‘ “Come Together.” (That was in a movie? Oh, right — Across the Universe.) He works the crowd and appears very confident. Keith thinks it’s a good improvement overall. Jennifer wants him to own it and throw out a little more “personality in the vocal,” but calls it “a nice start to the show.” Harry thinks Sam’s on his way, but needs to keep working hard, saying, “Pretty good job.”
Next is Jessica Meuse, singing “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel from The Graduate. Jennifer is the first to comment, saying it’s “the perfect song for you.” But she feels that she “never got her groove on all together.” Harry gives her props for staying focused, even though the band was off. He calls it, “a nice job.” Keith compliments her look and I agree. He gives her some tips on how to handle the mic, since she’s no longer in a tiny, smoky bar.
Ryan chats with Jennifer and she is beyond adorable, trying to Instagram a photo. Now, it’s C.J. Harris on the stage. His choice for a movie song is “Cant You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band from Blow. Harry believes it was the perfect song selection and performance, saying the performance was “very, very strong.” Keith concurs: “You completely nailed that right there.” Jennifer rounds out the very positive review from the entire panel.
Country boy Dexter Roberts is rocking some Bob’s Big Boy hair. Randy Jackson returns to the stage for Dexter’s announcement that he’s singing “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynrd (from Forrest Gump — though shouldn’t these at least be songs that originated from soundtracks or something?) Confident with his new hairdo, Dexter definitely picked the most appropriate song. Keith immediately compliments his haircut and how Dexter’s loosened up. JLo loved it, but needed more personality and Harry agrees. Still, he calls the performance “solid.”
Ben Briley has finally combed his hair off his face, I’m happy to see, and he’s wearing a forest green and charcoal suit. Doesn’t he look grown? He sings Elton John‘s “Benny and the Jets” from Twenty Seven Dresses. (Okay, sure.) For the performance, Ben sits at the piano. He gets bonus points from me for never having seen the movie. Jennifer says she’s confused by Ben’s genre mixing and although she thought he performed well, she wasn’t sold on the song choice. Harry wasn’t convinced either. Keith worries if Ben’s authenticity is getting lost in translation.
To add to the voting excitement and to simultaneously terrify the contestants, host Ryan Seacrest shows off some real-time results that have C.J. ranked as the overall favorite. It’s now Majesty Rose’s turn and she performs “Let It Go” by from Frozen. Majesty Rose is confident and hits the perfect tone and looks picture perfect in her flower-print dress and Peter Pan collar. Harry calls her “a mystery,” but says that she came out strong. Keith thinks the song was slightly too big for her. JLo thinks she can do anything.
Meanwhile, these fake auditions are constant reminders that these contestants are singers and definitely not actors.
Rock and roller Caleb Johnson is ready to do his thing with his interpretation of Adele‘s Oscar winning “Skyfall” from the James Bond film of the same name. His hair is definitely extra fluffy. A nod to the song’s original vocalist, perhaps? The song was a great choice and definitely my favorite performance of the evening so far. Well done, Caleb! Keith says it was “not predictable” and “an amazing choice.” JLo is so excited, she gets momentarily tongue-tied. Harry echoes their sentiment, stating, “You’re going to be very hard to beat.”
My girl MK Nobillette kills it with a soulful version of “Make You Feel My Love” from Hope Floats, starring none other than Mr. Harry Connick. Jennifer makes her gorgeous, trademark “I’m About to Cry” face. And just like that, MK is back in the game. Jennifer says, “I really loved that,” comparing her to k.d. lang. Harry loves the simplicity of her performance. Keith loves when she loses herself in the moment. Crazy Emmanuel shouts his praise from the audience. Ha!
Alex Preston sings “Falling Slowly,” another Oscar winner for Best Original Song, by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie Once. Harry is very complimentary saying, “I’m really proud of you.” Keith compliments Alex on his”raw fragility.” Jennifer says simply, “Beautiful.”
Next to the stage is Jena Irene, who performs Paramore‘s “Decode” from Twilight. She sits at the piano with strobe lights and smoke machine. Jennifer’s super into it. Keith compliments her “ferocity.” JLo says, “America, please get on board with this!” Harry thinks she did a great job with her interpretation of the song.
Last for the night is Malaya Watson, who sings “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls. Oh, man, she is just fantastic. With those braces, no less. Jennifer stands up in her seat to applaud Malaya. She yells, “Good girl, Malaya!” Harry compliments her big voice and tells her “great job.” Keith thinks she does a great job picking her songs and dubs her, “magnificent.”
Now, get thee to a votery, because it’s time to let American Idol know how you feel. And Thursday night, let’s gather to see who made the cut.
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