Last night the top 12 performed songs that reminded them of home. It was an interesting selection of songs to say the least everything from J. Lo to Montgomery Gentry. It was also a night of mediocre performances. I, like the judges, struggled to really praise the performances of the contestants when there really wasn't much to praise. Big deal, you did an "okay performance"; I am sure it left the judges wondering in some cases why they selected some of these contestants in the first place.
Those that did perform well seem to do so on a regular basis; they're consistent. I failed to remind those reading my blog last week that I give the contestants a score from one to ten --- one being you're destined to be sent home to ten being you could win this thing.
Here was the performance order: Jena Irene, Alex Preston, Jessica Meuse, Dexter Roberts, Emily Piriz, Caleb Johnson, MK Nobilette, CJ Harris, Sam Woolf, Malaya Watson, Ben Briley, and Majesty Rose.
Last night there was only one performance that was a ten to me, and that was Caleb Johnson who performed Working Man by Rush; dude stole the show. He was the only one who had a performance that would be able to stand up in the real world. He performs like he's been doing it for years. He is someone who reminds me of a cross between former contestants Bo Bice and Chris Daughtry. Harry says he is the most consistent of any contestant, but wonders what he can do to make rock n' roll more contemporary. Harry also cautions him to not be so predictable. Keith says that his voice is an amazing gift, and he says Caleb is one of the best singers that he has heard in a long time. Jennifer says she was waiting all night for a performance like this, and he brings it every time.
Caleb: 10 out of 10
There were a couple of 8's-- above average
Dexter Roberts singing Lucky Man by Montgomery Gentry and Malaya Watson singing Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann.
Dexter dedicated his performance to someone back home who is no longer with them, and that honesty and vulnerability is what makes him to well liked by the Idol viewer. I loved this performance, it was simple yet meaningful. Keith thought it was the perfect song choice, and liked the phrasing choices he made. Jennifer mentioned Scotty McCreery and how he would choose songs that were surprising yet so him. Harry emphasizes that it was without question the best performance of the night so far (and it would be one of the best overall)
Dexter: 8 out of 10
Malaya is definitely back on her game, she went from being in the bottom two last week to being one of the best. Being at the piano suited her, and she reminded me a little bit of Alicia Keys. She has a quiet power to her voice just like Alicia, and I actually heard her making an effort to enunciate every word. Harry was proud that she stayed in control all the way through. Keith and Jenn both praised her powerful vocal, and liked the song choice. Keith was actually standing up.
Malaya: 8 out of 10
There was a trio of 7's, all in the second half of the show---
They were Sam Woolf singing Just One by Blind Pilot, Ben Briley singing Turning Home by David Nail, and Majesty Rose singing Fix You by Coldplay.
Sam is so talented he is one of those people I could listen to all day. The problem is something that Harry cited which is that he doesn't always connect emotionally. Keith agreed with Harry, but on the positive side, he felt like his tone was butter and would buy his album tomorrow. Jenn said she wants to see a "super wow" performance from him.
Sam: 7 out of 10
Ben sounded good, not great, but good. The problem with this performance wasn't the performance value, but that the song itself was so vocally complicated that he lost track of the story along the way. Jenn said she felt it had a shaky start but she was with him by the end and felt the emotion. Harry said he didn't connect with the song, and he felt like it was shouted at the end. Keith also agreed with Harry and said he lost the emotion.
Ben: 7 out of 10
Majesty Rose was someone for me that was on the cusp of being a 6 but I gave her a seven. The beginning of the song was great, but when the second half came along, it was like she completely forgot what she was singing about. She sang this huge note and her voice cracked, and it was off key. I liked the song quiet. I didn't like how she reinvented the end. Harry said that he liked the beginning but not the end. Jenn reminded her that she doesn't always have to go for the big note.
Majesty: 7 out of 10
My 6 of the week went to Emily Piriz for her performance of Let's Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez.
My issue with this performance was the same issue that Harry had which is that the song and the production of it was too big for her. Basically she wasn't loud enough for Let's Get Loud and the song swallowed her whole. Keith says he loves it but doesn't say why and Jenn can't be critical of someone performing her own song.
Emily: 6 out of 10
There were four 5's in my opinion-- Jena Irene sang Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall, Alex Preston sang I Don't Wanna Be by Gavin DeGraw, Jessica Meuse sang White Flag by Dido, and CJ Harris sang Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer.
This may be a bit harsh, but it's very honest, and I am going to be brief in my comments. All these people are in danger of going home tonight.
Jena is 17; this song was boring. She had no energy and it showed. Harry wanted more from her.
Jena: 5 out of 10
Alex sang a great song, but I don't know that the arrangement was right for him. Harry didn't like the arrangement. Keith said he felt the song was around him rather than him being centered in the song.
Alex: 5 out of 10
I love Jessica, but this song was a curse for her. It was really boring, and for a rocker that's not a good thing. Harry felt the performance was blasé. She went sharp for almost the whole thing. and Harry said no one clapped or cheered on her high note because it was so off. He didn't feel she was present in the performance. Jenn agrees and says her conviction was missing.
Jessica: 5 out of 10
CJ has tons of potential to do well in this competition but has failed to capitalize on it thus far because of bag song choices and bad arrangements. Harry said he was also sharp. Keith said he needs to make the song his own. I agree; I didn't feel a connection.
CJ: 5 out of 10
My only four of the night goes to MK who sang Drops of Jupiter by Train.
I love this song but this performance was a train wreck from start to finish. First off, she showed no confidence while she was singing or in her song choice. There were a few times where she seemed to forget lyrics or her arrangement. Keith said she seemed to have no connection with the song. Harry wondered if she really wanted to be there.
MK: 4 out of 10
Bottom 3 prediction: MK, Jena, and a toss up between Jessica and CJ (with Jessica probably on the losing end of this). Who will go home? Look for MK to be sent packing.
And now for something I've never done before!---
Introducing my sidekick....
The mysterious "M's" bottom 3 prediction: Jessica, MK, and Alex. Who will go home? MK