‘American Idol’ Recap: Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson Rock Out

Lisa Timmons | May 21, 2014 7:00 am

The buildup of an entire season has led us all to this week, with the remaining two contestants, Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene duking it out in a final round of songs live from Los Angeles. On Tuesday night (May 20), each kid is tasked with singing three songs. The first is a selection from American Idol creator Simon Fuller. The second is the contestant’s choice, with Jena and Caleb selecting their favorite song from a previous performance.

For the occasion, host Ryan Seacrest is decked out in a white tuxedo jacket, black bow tie and pants. The two finalists emerge onto the stage, each looking very much like rock stars. The judges, not to be outdone, are also looking fabulous with Jennifer Lopez in a leather and sparkle dress and her hair done up like Brigitte Bardot in her heyday. Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. are looking fancy in jackets and big smiles.

We get a flashback clip of Jena asking Caleb to prom. This prompts Idol to film a throwback prom vignette. Despite myself, I find it quite cute. I hope they actually do go to prom together.

The first song of the evening is Fuller’s selection for Jena, “Dog Days Are Over” from Florence + The Machine. Despite the pressure of having to open the show, Jena has a lot of energy and seems to have fun during her performance.

Keith calls it “Fantastic!” He goes on to applaud the song choice from Fuller and compliments Jena’s stage presence. Jennifer thought it was a really good job and calls it a good start to the show. Harry also loved the song choice and praises Jena’s movement on stage.

Caleb is up with Simon’s selection of Aerosmith‘s “Dream On.” In a black jacket with long fringe dangling off his sleeves, Caleb is every inch the “rock and roll viking” Keith dubbed him several episodes ago. JLo and Keith, rise to their feet during the climax at the end.

After he’s done wailing to his heart’s content, Lopez raves about his over-the-top performance and vocals. Harry praises Caleb’s song choice, cautioning him to keep the energy consistent throughout. Keith disagrees, saying that he loved it all the way through.

Jena’s up again and this time with “Can’t Help Falling In Love” from Elvis Presley. The first time she performed the classic love song, JLo was moved to get up and give her a kiss. It will be up to Jena to see if she can recreate that magic. From the look on Jennifer’s face, she’s definitely feeling it. Keith also looks moved and rises to his feet at the end. Harry compliments her unique phrasing and choices. Keith tells her, “Absolutely beautiful, baby.” Jennifer tells her, “Your soul comes through on that song,” and claims that she got “goosies” from it.

Caleb counters with his favorite performance song, “MaybeI’m Amazed” from Paul McCartney. Slowing things down, Caleb tames his wild voice to deliver some low-key emotion during the soft parts. Keith cautions Caleb to always make sure to emote. Jennifer concurs, adding that he needs to make sure his soul always shines through. Harry makes it unanimous by agreeing with her and agrees with JLo that while Caleb took the first round, it was Jena who took the second.

The final round starts with Jena singing her potential winner’s single, “We Are One.” In Beetlejuice stripe pants and a light show. It’s catchy and very Katy Perry and she does a good job working the crowd.

Jennifer loved the song, Harry tells her, “Nice work!” Keith calls it a “perfect” fit for her.

To close the show, Caleb busts out his possible winner’s single “As Long As You Love Me.” It’s very The Black Crowes and Caleb gets to show off his killer pipes throughout.

Harry wishes America good luck in choosing a winner. Keith congratulates them both. Jennifer says, “It’s going to be a tough night for everybody.”

As this 13th season of American Idol comes to a close, it’s been a very close night and quite frankly, I think it could go either way during tonight’s results show. But the most important thing is that these two go to prom together.

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