Tonight was “a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.” Each singer performed twice, singing a song from each genre. It was a night when everybody got to perform in their own genres although some took better advantage of the situation than others.
Looking even more comfortable than her usual comfortable self, Jena, generally regarded as the frontrunner, started the show with Heart’s Barracuda. Keith thought she needs to open up a bit more to which she concurred. JLo liked her as well. Harry rambled on about what she needed to but he loved her as well. She didn’t do anything radical to the song but she Jenafied it enough to keep it from being karaoke and to make it her own.
Sam got the teen girls the front row all wet and moist and excited and singing along to It’s Time. JLo gushed her praises of his performance. Keith wants him to tap into his inner angst. The girls in the front row just want him to tap them.
If American women heard the same thing I did, they heard a painfully out of tune CJ Harris botch a rock classic nobody was singing along to. Sure he sang with heart and soul but I am sick of his being out of tune. Harry said it was pretty good but commented on the intonation which at this stage in the competition actually means it’s bad. Keith didn’t think he was connected to the song and advised him on how to make the song work for him. JLo didn’t think it was a great song for him because it didn’t match his bluesy country stylings. The wide range of rock influences include country and blues so there was no excuse for a bad song choice. It was just a bad song for him.
Alex’s rendition of Animals wasn’t his best performance. It sounded like he wasn’t comfortable performing such a fast tempo-ed song. He was even off key once in a while but the audience dug it. But the stupid audience likes just about everything. Keith kind of agreed with me saying he needed to let go. JLo kind of agreed with Keith. Harry kind of agreed with JLo but liked that he attempted an uptempo song.
Caleb is no stranger to up tempo rockers. If the theme every week was rock, he’d win. The audience understandably went apeshit for his high intensity performance. JLo said, among other things, that he made it a “moment.” Harry thought it was the perfect song choice. The judges made a fuss about his recovery from a stage mishap involving his mic but the cameras missed it.
Jessica ended the hour with a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody To Love, a song that upon hearing it, seemed like such an obvious song for her to cover I am surprised I hadn’t thought of it myself. She was much more in her zone that she was last week. Harry thought it was strong and clarified that he doesn’t want her to dance on stage. Keith was nitpicky in his critique but was not particularly eloquent in his explanation. JLo wants her to just feel the song more. She wants the energy of Jessica’s body to match the voice whatever that means.
Sam started off the second hour with You’re Still The One the Shania Twain song, not the other one. It was not in the right key for him. He sounded uncomfortable throughout the whole song. But at some point he shook hands with some of the girls in the front row to show he can connect with the audience. He seemed uncomfortable doing that, too. Keith thought it was a good song for him. Jennifer liked that he went to the girls in the audience. Harry thought the performance lacked dynamics and connection to the lyrics.
Caleb gave Carrie Underwood’s Undo It a rock makeover. You never would have known it was a country song. The judges all liked it but generally thought it wasn’t as epic as his first song. They were right.
Alex gave Willie Nelson’s You Were Always On My Mind a very Alex makeover. It was thoughtful, sensitive, creative and artful. Harry liked the things Alex did with the chords and the melody. Keith wanted to heard the heartbreak but wanted to feel it a little more. Huh? Jennifer thought he made it just original enough without going too far.
So Small another Carrie Underwood song was covered by Jena. Less than 30 seconds into it, Jennifer was already getting goosies. It was the most beautiful, passionate performance of the night. Harry wasn’t feeling what she did with the melody but the other judges definitely did. He’s wack.
CJ’s second song was nominally better than his first. And right after I typed those words, he sang a real clunker. Intonationwise it was better but it was a bit anemic. JLo thought it missed the mark. Harry agreed and told him to pick songs that kill in the upcoming weeks. Keith thought it was a bad song choice. Before he walked offstage, CJ mentioned that his performance was dedicated to some girl back home who died a few days ago. Pulling the sympathy card may not be enough to keep him around.
Jessica closed the second hour as well. The producers must have decided they liked her to give her the pimp spot which she filled with Jolene. This was the song that did in Alexis Grace many seasons ago. Harry said she was convincing. Keith didn’t like the arrangement but didn’t fault Jessica’s singing. Even Jennifer liked it. I hope this isn’t the song that does her in as well. She was in second last place last week.
CJ was easily the worst tonight but he’s been the worst almost every night and yet somehow he is still here. Either Sam or Jessica will most likely be in the bottom two with CJ unless CJ gets lucky. Or to put it another way, the season’s top three will be Jena, Alex and Caleb. I just don’t know in what order the other three will be whittled away.
If you are a diehard Idol fan be sure to check out MTV’s new show, Faking It starring ex-Idol contestant Katie Stevens. She plays a high school student so eager to be popular she and her best friend pretend to be lesbians. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad. It’s on Tuesday nights at 10:30 right after the greatly superior Awkward.