Welcome to another week of American Idol! The only singing competition series here in America to produce actual stars (not counting the judges–looking at you, The Voice!) has really changed things up this season in terms of the theme nights. Most of them have been really broad, which can be a good thing. Tonight is really interesting because the contestants will be choosing songs for each other. Is this a chance for them to sabotage one another, or will they play nice and actually go with tunes that complement each other? We will see…
1. Caleb Johnson: “Family Tree” (Chosen by Alex Preston)
I don’t know this song, but as always with Caleb, it doesn’t matter because he kills it every time. The particular vibe of this song is fun–for both Caleb and us. And I love whenever band leader Rickey Minor gets this involved in a performance, being on stage and rocking out on the guitar here.
2. Jessica Meuse: “Gunpowder and Lead” (Chosen by Sam Woolf)
Jessica’s stage presence was terrible last week, so this is much improved. And “Gunpowder and Lead” is such a fantastic Miranda Lambert song. Jess can delve into country-rock with ease–you can tell she has those influences and it’s not just rock. She sounds great, but the judges don’t seem to be liking this performance very much.
Before we move on, Ryan Seacrest invites Demi Lovato to come out; she talks about her tour and then sits over with Randy Jackson in the lounge for the rest of the show. Okay, this is strange; I’ve never seen something like this happen, I don’t think.
Sam Woolf & Alex Preston: “Let Her Go”
Hey, it’s that Super Bowl commercial! The one with the horse and puppy! Sorry…anyway…The style suits both Alex and Sam, though I prefer the original artist’s rendition because his voice is just so unique. The couch they’re on is so ugly, but I like the vibe of them just jamming out on a couch. Aside from the judges’ comments, Demi also gives her critique. And just because she’s a guest doesn’t mean she’s going to hold back–she’s being a tad critical, which is surprising considering, as I just said, she’s a guest. But she does know how to be a talent show judge.
Sports commentator Terry Bradshaw is in the house! I’m not going to beat around the bush here (when do I ever, really?): I can’t stand this guy; he’s so annoying and thinks he’s all that. Please haul him out.
3. C.J. Harris: “Gravity” (Chosen by Caleb Johnson)
C.J.’s gone away from the country this week, but John Mayer’s songs still have a lot of soul infused in them. At one point, C.J.’s really getting into it, which is great to see–that grit is my favorite part. Now, going third tonight is not the best for him because the last two weeks, the person with the lowest number of votes performed in third.
4. Dexter Roberts: “Muckalee Creek Water” (Chosen by C.J. Harris)
This is the kind of Dexter performance I like. I’ve not been a fan overall of Dexter, as I’ve made very clear before. But I like how fun his was last week, and that energy carries over into tonight. I don’t know, something about this I like. The judges are being way more critical tonight than they should be–what is up with them?
Before the next duet, Ryan asks a Twitter question to Jena and Caleb about who they would want to duet with. Caleb says he wants to duet with Ryan–and then he proceeds to start singing, with Ryan joining in. This is hilarious! Caleb sure knows how to bring the laughs on this show.
Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson: “Gimme Shelter”
I love their intro video because it shows how close friends they are and they can good around and laugh at each other and such. Love it! They dueted last week also, so that’s cool the producers were willing to pair them up again. The first time I heard this song on Idol I think was with Andrew Garcia in season 9. This is a great song, so these two can do no wrong with it. Demi Lovato loved it.
5. Alex Preston: “A Team” (Chosen by Dexter Roberts)
You know, I don’t have a whole lot of bad things to say about them all tonight because it’s all pretty enjoyable. And finally, the judges like something! Ed Sheeran is definitely Alex’s vibe and he’s his usual great self here, definitely in his element.
6. Sam Woolf: “Sail Away” (Chosen by Jessica Meuse)
Those waves on the screen, the style of them look familiar–maybe similar to the credits in the third Narnia movie? Anyway, I noted last week that Sam sounded better than he has in weeks–his voice is really strong here as well; the tone’s really nice. The way his eyes look still are a tad off-putting, but I think he does kind of look at some people in the audience at least a few times, which he needs to do more often.
C.J Harris, Jessica Meuse & Dexter Roberts: “Compass”
Again, these performances tonight are for the most part enjoyable. I wouldn’t say they’re always the best ever or anything, just to make it clear, though. Of the duets/trios, this one may be the weakest (the original Lady Antebellum version is way better than this), with Sam and Alex in the middle and Jena and Caleb at the top. Demi liked the solos, but not when they were singing together. (I have to say, Demi hasn’t lost her touch since her time as a judge on The X Factor.)
7. Jena Irene: “Creep” (Chosen by Caleb Johnson)
This is the Jena we love! She’s going back to the mold from a few weeks ago, when she did Paramore and Evanescence. When she goes down this route, she absolutely kills it. I’ve found this night to be enjoyable (sorry I keep using that word, but it’s true), but Jena’s performance is in a way different league. Caleb did a good job with this song choice for her. The producers really pimped the White Guy With Guitar angle this season, so wouldn’t it be fantastic if Jena made it into the finale?
Favorite Performances: Jena Irene / Alex Preston / Caleb Johnson
My Votes: Caleb Johnson (50 votes) / Alex Preston (50 votes) / Jena Irene (50 votes)
Bottom 2 Predictions: C.J. Harris / Dexter Roberts
Elimination Prediction: C.J. Harris
Okay, before I do my normal analysis at the end, I wanted to mention Demi Lovato one more time. It seemed very random to have her here, and especially to have her give some critiques–and I mean some actual critiques and not the usual “You’re all great!” that other guests might dish out.
At one point tonight, I jokingly said to someone I was watching Idol with, “Are they trying her out to be a judge next season or something?” And looking at some comments online, it looks like other people are saying the same thing, so maybe this is what they’re actually doing. Maybe this was a sort of test. I mean, we all know what she’s like as a judge–she’s fantastic, by the way! If you didn’t see her on The X Factor, you missed out with her.
American Idol obviously has to continue to downscale and shell out less money because of low ratings–and that includes less money on the judging panel. So they might not be able to afford someone like Jennifer Lopez anymore, and I’m sure Demi would be a pretty cheap hire. Maybe that’ll really happen. I love J-Lo on this show–this season especially. But I wouldn’t be against Demi signing on. That’s a hire I could live with.
Okay, back to the contestants. Those who I think are most in danger are Jessica, C.J., Dexter and Sam. If there’s a shocking elimination tomorrow night, it could be Jessica. (The judges really threw her under the bus.) Aside from her, I think another who really could be in danger is C.J. Even if Sam ends up in the Bottom 2, he probably won’t go home.