Thursday, April 17, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 7

This week is very important because it marks the halfway point of the Finals. It’s time for these contestants to take it to another level and prove to us that they have what it takes to win. I fully expect to see that next week, because tonight was a wake-up call for them especially after Malay Watson left last week despite the massive improvement she showcased the past few weeks.

I thought the performances were REALLY good and that adds up to this rollercoaster of a season. Other than that insight and the fact that they showed countless of Jennifer Lopez close ups the entire episode, I have nothing more to add. As always, I placed the contestants accordingly, and while the night seemed fairly easy to rank the elimination is once again slightly unpredictable.

On to the rankings!

07. Dexter Roberts
Muckalee Creek Water
The idea that Dexter needs to throw in a karaoke performance to have with the audience after delivering a couple of emotional ballads a couple of weeks ago has to stop. I don't know, but this was yet again another step in the wrong direction for Dexter. It's easy, it's lazy, and any amateur singer in the world could take on this song. Yes, this was another "so what?" performance, which is incredibly dangerous at this point in the competition. 6

06. CJ Harris
Vocally, this was decent and unoffending, but a part of me thought that the arrangement somehow magically masked his pitch issues.Not sure if it's a good thing, but I digress. CJ always had no problem connecting to the material at hand, but I also need good vocals to go along with the passion because at this stage, emotions just wouldn't cut it. 6.5

05. Sam Woolf
Sail Away
Despite the song choice being too simple and a bit obscure, I thought his vocals had more passionate than usual. There's an improved intensity in his delivery that made the performance a lot more accessible especially towards the end. There were also some nice vocal tricks thrown in to make the song seem almost anthem-like despite the lack of recognizable melody, but I really thought Sam did whatever he could with the song. It's not fantastic, which he needed to save himself from another elimination, but it is what it is. 7

04. Jessica Meuse
Gunpowder & Lead
Why are the judges being so hard on Jessica when there's CJ Harris who couldn't even perform one whole song on pitch? True, I have a long-standing issue with Jessica's stagecraft. I mean, whenever she's performing without her guitar, she kind of just wanders around awkwardly and yes, we need a cogent performance from her to last longer than Top 6. That said, the performance alone had drama from that beautiful intro, strong vocal elements, and of course, an epic battle with a wind machine. Somehow, those trumped her awkward stage presence. Haha. 7.5

03. Alex Preston
The A Team
Alex's performance of The A Team was perfectly executed. This is the type of music he really knows well; the singer-songwriter folk route always seems tailor made for him. The way he phrased the words of the song was absolutely gorgeous and it was a strong, confident performance with brilliant vocal flourishes - especially that falsetto that came out of nowhere - which separated his version from Ed Sheeran. Very nice. 8.5

02. Caleb Johnson
Family Tree
Just when I thought this was another one of Caleb's throwaway number, Family Tree turned out to be a legitimate argument for why he should be the last singer standing. I questioned before his ability to be relevant with the current musical landscape - he sounds too retro to me - but this made me consider things. Everything clicked here; stage presence, the look, the voice. It all fit that cheesy mold he's trying to envelop. Haha. 8.5

01. Jena Irene
Let me spend a moment to discuss how far Jena Irene has come in this competition. She isn't a fan favorite and she isn't the "chosen one", but she has fought every single week for her place on this show based on her tremendous talent. And yes, she showcased that full on with her impeccable version of Creep. Viewers of this show are often looking for a water cooler moment and I think they found one tonight. This was by far one of the strongest performances I have seen all season. Her vocals were powerful and soared to new heights and the way she worked with the dynamics of the song was like watching a vocal masterclass. I'd punch a soul if she gets cut before Top 3. 9


Who should go? 
Dexter Roberts

Who will go?
CJ Harris


Anonymous said...

Jena is in it to WIN it! She is inching her way little by little and may end up being in the finale beating Alex or Jessica to the top 2. I can see a battle of rockers with Jena and Caleb in the finale.

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