‘American Idol’ Recap: The Chainsmokers Take A “#Selfie” & The Top 3 Perform

Lisa Timmons | May 15, 2014 5:08 am

Wednesday night (May 14) represented a milestone for American Idol, as it was the 500th episode of the long-running series. The top three finalists were tasked with singing three different songs for the occasion, each selected from a different source. The first round is a choice from former judge and mentor Randy Jackson, followed by a hometown selection, then the final song is the judges’ pick.

The episode starts with a montage of wacky moments from the history of the series. From there, the top three contestants emerge, looking more excited than nervous somehow. Caleb Johnson is suffering from a vocal chord hemorrhage but they weirdly bring a doctor to the stage to give him the public go-ahead.

The judges arrive and Jennifer Lopez looks like a beautiful mermaid. Fellow judge Harry Connick Jr. calls it out, dubbing her #MermaidPrincess. From there, we see footage of all the contestants returning home to parades, tons of fans and lots of family.

Returning to the stage, we see the first performance of the night. It’s The Chainsmokers doing their single, “Selfie.” It’s not the most compelling thing to watch, since it’s two DJs encouraging the audience to take selfies while a song plays. Luckily, they are pretty hot, which helps.

The first round kicks off with Randy’s first pick for Caleb. It’s “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS. Despite his vocal health, Caleb gives a solid performance. Keith Urban is the first to chime in with “Great job, man!” Jennifer says, “You on your worst night are better than people on their best night.” Harry applauded the choice but wants him to make sure he doesn’t injure his throat.

For the wrap-up interview, Ryan opts to simply give Caleb a hug and Randy congratulates him on a job well done. Keith has a photo of his wifey, Nicole Kidman, since she’s at the Cannes Film Festival, to keep him company. It feels very staged.

Randy’s recommendation for Alex Preston is “Pompeii” from Bastille. Playing the drums, Alex gets the infamous snake dance from JLo.

She lauds the fact that he truly created moments per her critique from last week. Harry thought it was good, but needed more practice. Jennifer boos him in response. Ha! Keith thought the coolest moment was when he was playing the drums, and also when he was at his best. They all agree it was a great song choice.

Jena Irene’s first song is “Titanium” from David Guetta featuring Sia. Trapped on a raised platform until the first chorus, she seems very constrained. For one of the first times in a long time, Jennifer is stone faced throughout the performance. Harry applauses the song choice and thought it was a great job. Keith loves how much fun she has on stage. JLo is the only dissenting judge, feeling that Jena was stiff. Randy agrees with Jennifer but thinks she ended strong.

Next is round two, the judges’ picks for the kiddos. Last Thursday night, each contestant met personally with the judges to find out what song they picked. Caleb is the first to receive a sealed envelope to open while he’s home in North Carolina. On stage in his hometown of Asheville, Caleb learns the judges have picked “Demons” by Imagine Dragons.

Unfortunately, Caleb’s voice gives a bit at the beginning, but he quickly regains his control. Keith gives him credit for doing a great job despite his injury. Jennifer advises him to focus on the emotion of the song, since his range is limited today. Harry takes the opportunity to ask Caleb what type of record he would make, rather than give a critique. I know he thinks he’s being helpful, but making Caleb talk is not in his best interest.

After the Thursday performance, Alex receives his song selection from the judges. He chooses to open it in front of his family. He learns that it’s “Stay” from Rihanna and Micky Ekko. Jennifer calls it “beautiful” and “all yours.” Harry thought it was a very strong performance. Keith concurs with the other two judges.

Jena is surrounded by her family at home, when she learns she’s singing Demi Lovato‘s “Heart Attack.” Harry likes it but wished she would have kept her energy up. Keith praises her voice, phrasing and range. Jennifer loved her performance much better than the first one of the night.

Caleb’s hometown of Asheville picks “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin for his final song. It prompts Jennifer to get super sexual in her dancing. I’m pretty sure Caleb’s getting laid after the song. Keith and Jennifer practically explode at the end.

Keith calls it “a moment of miraculous healing,” when Caleb just tossed stuff around the stage at the end. Jennifer calls it, “A true Idol moment.” Harry says simply, “Awesome, man.”

Alex finds out from his hometown in New Hampshire that “The Story of My Life” by One Direction is his final song for the evening. Both Jennifer and Harry think it was very strong. Keith agrees

North Farmington High School picked Jena’s last song, which turns out to be “Creep” by Radiohead. At the piano again, Jena delivers another solid rendition of the song. Hitting the high notes with ease, she prompts JLo to applaud excitedly.

Harry says it was even better than she did the first time she sang the tune. Keith tells her, “You so belong here.” Jennifer calls her, “so hard to beat.”

It’s definitely a tight race between these three, but I have my suspicions that the top two will end up being young lovebirds, Caleb and Jena. Who do you guys think will advance tonight to make it to next week’s finale?