Thursday, May 15, 2014

American Idol 13: Top 3

This week, the contestants sang three songs over three themes: Randy Jackson’s Choice, Judges' Choice, and Reprises. That’s right. There is no free choice this round, so the Idol contestants had very little control. That's also probably why Top 3 night has always been constantly disappointing. There have been rare exceptions, but for the most part, it's underwhelming.

Oh, and in this episode we get to see a sneak peek of the Top 3's homecoming celebration. They're pretty much glorified propaganda, but there's a certain truth to the situations we witnessed. But that's more for tomorrow.

On to the rankings!


03. Caleb Johnson
Never Tear Us Apart
Let me say one thing though before anything else, I hate being told when a contestant is sick. It's unfortunate, but it means nothing to me. This is a competition and you don't get special point for being a brave boy playing through the pain. Suck it up! Now, if this was a karaoke competition, I would have no problem making the claim that Caleb deserves to win American Idol. But the show has always been about something more than that and that's where he's sorely lacking. He's just not creative enough to take risks with his performance. Never Tear Us Apart was mostly a decent cover, but it was filled with rough spots  - mostly because he's sick, we get it - that I just couldn't get past that. 5

02. Jena Irene
Hmm. There's something so incredibly palpable and exciting about her natural energy that I get absolutely wrapped up with, but once again, Jena got eaten up by the first verse. She started out with a key too low that made her pitch a little unstable, but then the chorus hit and it was magic. She sounded effortless, but it was still pretty uneven. Stop being inconsistent, Jena! 6.5

01. Alex Preston
He slightly owned this song in several different ways. He finally moved around the stage, he played the guitar, he played the drums, and it was admirable. It seemed like a bit of a mess with a lot of things happening on stage, and his vocals weren't flawless by any means - although that soaring note towards the end was a pleasant surprise - but this was arguably a memorable performance from Alex and something I didn't expect. So yes, take note, Caleb! 7


03. Caleb Johnson
Yikes! He just slaughtered an entire village of notes with this performance.  He was off key for the most part that midway through his performance, the melody actually stood up and walked away. Haha. I don't want to say anything else other than: This was an all-around weak performance. 3

02. Jena Irene
Heart Attack
This was nothing special and the song itself just felt unimportant. At this stage in the game, you have to bring important music to the table or you might as well not even show up to the game. Her vocals sounded wobbly, I didn't think she had enough breath support in parts, and the middle section sounded like a muddle. I don't know. She needed to take steps forward, but Jena seems particularly adept at stepping from side to side no? 6

01. Alex Preston
His take on Rihanna's ballad allowed him to sing to the best of his ability and do what he does best: connect with the viewers. This was flat out awesome. The arrangement was a brave move, but it worked and his vocals were pretty fantastic - especially the vocal flourishes he added at the end. If he makes it to the Finale, this strategy is his only hope. Make Jena and Caleb seem like nothing more than just a voice and put yourself in the position of being the true musician. 8.5


03. Caleb Johnson
Dazed and Confused
Sigh. I guess he figured his voice wasn't up to the challenge like the last time he performed Dazed and Confused - he genuinely impressed me during that moment -  that he just went on pure spectacle and mic stand beating than focusing on hitting his notes no? To be fair, he sounded a lot better here, but it was still a mess. 6

02. Alex Preston
Story Of My Life
While still solid, this was a bit underwhelming and a tad lightweight compared to Caleb and Jena's. His voice still sounded fine, the arrangement was still interesting, but the magic it had when he first performed was gone. Yes, that's the reason why I'm not a fan of reprises unless you're Kris Allen, or Candice Glover, or.. 7

01. Jena Irene
Jena Freakin' Irene! How often do we see someone who tackles a reprise and slightly improved on it? The changes weren't particularly significant, but this was still pretty solid and her vocals sounded a lot better here. This version was epic and really did cement her position as the one to beat going into next week's season Finale. I hope this was enough. 9


Who should go?
Caleb Johnson

Who will go?
No idea.


Anonymous said...

Alex Preston will go! TPTB will get what they want.

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