Thursday, May 1, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 5

Here’s what I got out of this episode: One, Randy is really fighting for screentime! The struggle is real, people! Haha. Two, this show gets cheesier and cheesier. And lastly, Jessica Meuse is the new Haley Reinhart - or a milder version of some sorts. Ha!

This week, it's all about people tweeting the show and suggesting song choices. It's a first and other than Caleb's Asteroid song, I'm mostly okay with the picks. The performances, on the other hand, is a totally different story. A couple of them delivered, but it was a mixed bag entirely. Yes, they just can't please me . Haha.

On with the rankings!

10. Caleb Johnson
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
THIS SONG? SERIOUSLY? I really wondered if we could go a full season without this song, but I guess not. Haha. Caleb did pull out the Asteroid song - making him the eight person to perform it on American Idol - and his vocals were surprisingly wonky. The verses were tentative with enough flat moments to fill a small sinking ship, but then the last half kicked in and he actually showed a few couple of brilliant moments that reminded me just how powerful this dude can be when he's on point. Unfortunately, that last attempt to salvage his performance was vastly overshadowed by some pretty deafening weakness in his vocals early on. 5.5

09. Sam Woolf
Indeed, Sing! was a surprising departure from Sam's usual groove and I applaud him for choosing something more funky, but he was so incredibly awkward that it made me want to gouge my eyes out. Haha. Ok, that's a bit harsh, but while it was nice to see him trying to reach out on another level, the whole performance was a bit of a mess. No, his voice sounded fine, but I'm still a bit on the fence with the idea of him not singing the chorus in his falsetto. Maybe, Sam would sound atrocious if he'd be unable to hit those notes, but the vocal dynamics of the song instantly vanished as soon as he decided not to do it. So yeah. 5.5

08. Sam Woolf
How To Save A Life
As usual, he sounded fantastic on this pretty melodic song choice, but it was also, again, a "so what" performance that left a great deal to be desired. I don't know. This was just too clean, too vanilla, and too bland to make a difference. Yes, he did get into the song relative to his other performances, but I don't think it'll be enough. This will be a tough week for Sam, and he better pray that his good looks and terrific pitch and tone let him squeak through. 6.5

07. Jena Irene
While this didn't make the greatest impression for Jena, I genuinely enjoyed how Jena tweaked - once again! - the melody and rearrange the song to give it a fresh sound. No, I don't think the whole thing worked, as the arrangement left me confused and with a mixed feeling about the performance, but she did the best with the material. Her vocals were good, her phrasing choices were interesting, and there's a confidence to her that's compelling to watch. I'm just hoping this would be enough for her. 7

06. Jena Irene
My Body
It's quite refreshing to watch a contestant who has the ability to be confident, bold and loud without coming off as a complete idiot no? Haha. This was actually pretty good. There's a good amount of dynamics, it had character, and it was fun. We forget sometimes that we're watching a television show and we just want to have a little fun. The vocals were there and the performance felt sewn together, and still very unique. This was possibly the riskiest song of the episode, as this was obviously the most obscure, but I thought Jena pulled it off quite nicely. 7.5

05. Alex Preston
Sweater Weather
First off, watching Alex and Jason Mraz interact with each other was like watching clones talk together. Haha. Alex did sing Sweater Weather pretty straightforward, but this was clearly his best uptempo number to date. He didn't look stiff, it was energetic, it was hip, he managed to stay on the groove, he controlled his rat face, and his vocals were spot on - even with the song's fast tempo. 7.5

04.  Caleb Johnson
Still of The Night
So, Caleb decided to stretch himself and sing something a little bit different.. in the same exact same way as he sings almost anything. Haha. Don't get me wrong, Still of the Night was awesome. His stage presence was spectacular and his vocals sounded on top form, but this ended up being a "nothing special" performance from Caleb as we've seen it at least five times before. He needs to do something unique quickly i he wants to remain a contender, because tonight he just seemed like a runner-up than a winner. 7.5

03. Jessica Meuse
How come the judges kept on harping on Jessica's flaws, when they disregard it when it's Caleb, Alex or Sam? To me, Human was one of Jessica's strong performances on that stage. Throughout the song, Jessica latched on to some incredible connection with the material and drove it home. Her strengths were on display here including her amazing soaring vocals. Sure, there was a moment where her voice cracked towards the end, but somehow, that made this a lot more endearing. She's only Human right? Ha! With this alone, she had a pretty decent shot of making it to next week, until.. 8

02. Jessica Meuse
Summertime Sadness
This happened! The top two performances were a very close call this week, but I thought that Jessica's selection of Summertime Sadness worked perfectly for her and will probably help her out more in the long run than Alex's choice because of one simple point. With this performance, Jessica finally broke through one of her personal glass ceilings. She was emoting! There was confidence and flavor to this performance and I felt that she had made a genuine connection to the material. There's sadness to her eyes that was riveting to watch. Add to that her impeccable vocals and this easily trumped her other great rendition of Human. 9

01. Alex Preston
Say Something
Okay, well this was very impressive. See, I don't care if this season isn't up to everyone's standards because it just takes one contestant to prove how important this program is to America. Alex is officially a force to be reckoned with and Say Something is probably one of his finest moments.  The emotional connection, the phrasing, the vocals, the ability to connect to his material; all of it blew me away. Plus, the staging with the girl back up singer completely back lit so she was only in the shadows allowed for a seriously great visual moment. This was easily one of my favorite performances of the season. 9


Who should go? 
Sam Woolf

Who will go?
Sam Woolf


Anonymous said...

Comparing Jessica to Haley is like comparing apples to oranges. Jessica is 100x better than Haley ever was (or will be). If I were to compare anyone to Haley, it would be Jena. They both have a really annoying quality to their voices. And I have a really hard time understanding why everyone likes either of them so much. The only difference to me... Haley had 1 or 2 performances I liked during her season, Jena has had 3 or 4 (so far).

That being said... I haven't watched last nights show, so I can really comment on your rankings. However, as much as I hate to say this, Jessica is likely going home tonight. She doesn't seem to have the popularity and, for some reason, the judges have decided she was the one to pick on this year.
I really hope I'm wrong. Jessica is one of my favorites this year (actually #2 fav after Caleb). Sure, she has had some issues with her performances, but she always sounds great... unlike, say CJ (who stuck around WAAAAAAAAY too long) who sounded awful almost every week and the judges rarely said a bad word about it.

Anyways, hope you are right about Sam going home this week. He has a nice voice, but he is soooooooo boring. I'm thinking little girls and cougars are the only thing that has saved him so far (aside from the judges save of course).

Anonymous said...


Well, I guess it's all a matter of taste. I personally prefer singers with a lot of character in their voice rather than oh-so technical singers. And that's why I love Haley. Saw/heard her live, and she was amazing. In my opinion (and I think I speak in behalf of a lot of fans out there), Jessica is nowhere near Haley. Btw, I'm a Jessica fan as well so yeah.

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