American Idol’ 13 Recap: Top 10 Perform

We’re at the Top 10 on American Idol season 13, which means all of the singers performing tonight will be heading out on the road this summer for the Idol Tour. Can’t wait!

The show starts off with a song called “Selfie.” Okay, let’s stop the entire production right now. Can we please retire this word? It’s like twerking, both are so annoying whenever I hear people say it. Are we that self-absorbed that we have to always be taking pictures of ourselves? It’s one thing if it’s done at the Oscars with Ellen for laughs and fun, but I don’t know. It used to be a cool thing, but now I’m over it. (Then again, I was never really on it.) Anyway…

This week, the remaining contestants visited Ryan Seacrest’s radio show and were interviewed by the best of the best (Ryan himself, of course!). Will we see the best of the best by our Top 10 tonight? Let’s get right into it…

1. M.K. Nobilette: “Perfect”
M.K. starts off super strong and manages to maintain that throughout. (I like the mirror angle at the start where the camera pans out and we realize we’ve been watching her through a mirror.). And she has strands of pink in her hair! Really getting into the P!nk spirit, isn’t she? But there’s a moment where something happens–I’m not sure if she all of a sudden seems unsure of herself or what. But that aside, her tone sounds quite nice during this song. (Maybe it’s the judges’ critiques, but throughout the rest of the night whenever the camera shows her, she doesn’t look too happy, only smiling maybe once. She’s letting it get to her again whereas the other singers are able to still have fun regardless of what the judges say.)

2. Dexter Roberts: “Cruise”
Again, Dexter has picked a great song that everybody knows. (Then again, this is Top 10 week so all the songs are ones we know well, but I think you get my point.) Because he doesn’t have the best voice around, he has to do songs that country fans will gobble up–and I’m sure they will a whole lot with this. His voice here is just okay, but I love the slightly slower arrangement so that it’s not exactly like the original; I’ll give him props for that.

3. Jena Irene: “Clarity”
“Clarity” is such a great song and I was excited that Jena was going to perform it. This had so much potential. I don’t think it’s as good as the judges are making it out to be. The low notes at the start are flat, and I’m thinking, okay, this might just be an anomaly at the start because it’s the low notes which a lot of singers have a hard time with. But her voice isn’t quite on like it was last week; not sure if she’s forcing it or what’s going on, but something about it is off. I mean, she’s not completely botching it or anything, but maybe I was expecting more after her standout last week. The audience is waving glow sticks during the performance–has that ever happened on Idol before (not counting guest performers)?

4. Alex Preston: “Story of My Life”
Is it a coincidence that Alex is singing a One Direction song when his friends Alex & Sierra also sang a 1D hit when they were competing on The X Factor this past fall? Both made the songs their own, because neither are typical pop singers like the group whose song this is. Alex is really getting into it, and seems so comfortable and performs with ease. This could’ve been a mess, but I really like it. I’m interested to hear the studio track of this.

5. Malaya Watson: “When I Was Your Man”
One of the biggest criticisms with Malaya by everyone has been that she needs to stay in tune or whatnot when belting it out. Here, she sticks to an intimate performance, which helps her. And even during some of the bigger notes, she doesn’t stray off. This might just be her best performances–beautiful. Despite being 16 and not having a lot of relationship experience/history, she’s really feeling the lyrics. (I’m a really big Bruno Mars fan, so I’m extra happy!)

6. Caleb Johnson: “The Edge of Glory”
After Adele last week, Caleb taking on Lady Gaga doesn’t surprise me at all at this point. And I have nothing bad to say about this performance because he’s fantastic. “Skyfall” was probably more of a standout, but I can’t complain about Mr. Caleb Gaga. Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. swap seats and end up imitating each other, which is beyond hilarious! You gotta love those two!

7. C.J. Harris: “Invisible”
Last week, I said that “Can’t See You” is the kind of performance we need to hear from him more. Here’s the thing: I can’t stand Hunter Hayes–his voice is beyond annoying, not quite Miley Cyrus level but getting there. Fortunately, he’s not the one singing here. But having said that, C.J. is off his game. It doesn’t feel like him. And Harry gives very specific and spot-on advice–this is why he’s an invaluable judge on Idol.

8. Jessica Meuse: “Pumped Up Kicks”
I guess I never would’ve thought that Jessica would cover a song like this. But you know what? It works extremely well for her. Harry might not like it–he keeps harping on her about not listening to the lyrics–but I side with J-Lo and Keith; it’s fun (despite the words) and groovy. If the original artist wanted us to focus exclusively on the lyrics, then he wouldn’t have given it such a fun melody.

9. Majesty Rose: “Wake Me Up”
It’s not a coincidence at all that after being in the Bottom 3 last week, both Majesty and Sam get the final two spots this week. (The producers obviously want to make sure they’re safe.) Majesty hasn’t lived up to her potential for the most part during these live shows. This is more of a softer song, which is good because it helps to keep her voice soft as well, which is where she needs to stay since those belty tunes just ruin her. Maybe there are spots where she could’ve been a tad stronger, but overall she’s good–if she keeps it up in this direction, she could be back in the game.

10. Sam Woolf: “We Are Young”
I haven’t been a big fan of Sam, but I’m really enjoying this. I was ready to go hard on him because I love this song, but he closes out the show on strong footing. This could be one where the studio recording sounds great also. At the start during the slower part, his eyes are shifting all around, which is kind of distracting–I’m not sure if that’s nerves or what; if not, he needs to know he’s doing that.

Favorite Performances: Alex Preston / Malaya Watson / Caleb Johnson / Jessica Meuse

My Votes: Alex Preston (50 votes) / Caleb Johnson (50 votes) / Jessica Meuse (50 votes)

Bottom 3 Predictions: M.K. Nobilette / Jena Irene / C.J. Harris

Elimination Prediction: M.K. Nobilette

You know what I just realized? They never showed the real-time results during the show tonight. I’m sure they’ll do it again, but maybe they realize they shouldn’t do it every week.

Viewers/fans have been complaining online that the performances this season haven’t been all that great. But tonight was by far one of the strongest live shows of the season. I had a lot of fun watching this episode!

The weakest of the night were M.K., Dexter and C.J. But because both Dexter and C.J. are country, it doesn’t seem likely that both will end up in the Bottom 3 (or will that end up happening considering how strong the others were?). But I can’t figure out just yet who would be in the Bottom 3 if only one of them is there.

The past couple weeks, I’ve been predicting that M.K.’s going home, and I’ve been wrong every time. I’m worried that the moment I stray from that, she’ll head home. Regardless, it does seem like this is her final week. When you have the Southern country folks out in full force, someone like Dexter obviously isn’t going anywhere. So that essentially leaves us with M.K.

To read my thoughts on all the latest entertainment and pop culture news (including American Idol), follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge.

Tomorrow night, one singer is eliminated. And Jennifer Lopez becomes the latest judge to take to the stage to perform. See ya then…

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