Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finale Part 2: Winner Crowned

Welcome back. Tonight is it. The winner of American Idol Season 13 will be crowned. But not before about 1 hour and 58 minutes of a ton of other things and performances. So we'll try to streamline it a little but it's gonna be a good amount of non-results. We predicted that Jena should win, but ultimately Caleb will win. We really don't know which way it's going to go, but taking the pulse of the judges last night and the in-house audience the momentum was shifted in Caleb's direction. We obviously don't know how the home audience felt or voted.

Before we get to the finale show itself we want to recognize the Top 13 by offering our Recap and Review of the entire season and the Top 13.

Season 13 Review

Season 13 Awards
Best Performance 
Jena Irene(Creep)

Worst Performance
Ben Briley(Rocket Man)

Most Shocking Moment
Majesty Rose and Sam Woolf's Plummet From Bottom To Top
(Although Sam was saved at Top 8 Week, both Majesty and Sam were front-runners going into Top 13 week. Both could not live up to expecations and thus their early exits.)

Least Shocking Moment
Judges Save Sam Woolf
(We knew it was coming. The Judge's did not use their save last year, and to end on time and without double eliminations they needed to save someone and he was their obvious choice)
Runner Up:The Producers Tried To Save Sam Again.
 (They wanted the contestants to choose whether or not they wanted to eliminate someone that night or carry over with
the remaining contestants to the next week. The producers wanted the contestants to choose the latter, but they(Jena and Alex) chose to eliminate someone that night, thus finally ending Sam's time on the show.)

Most Shocking Elimination
(I thought that although she wasn't doing as well as expectations she was still far better than Dexter and CJ at that point.)
Runner Up: Malaya
(For Same Reason as Majesty)

Least Shocking Elimination
(After pretty luke warm reception by the judges that night, and by Jennifer Lopez pretty much all season you could see from a mile away that Jessica was not making Top 3. She had a great run, but it was one of the more predicatble eliminations of the season.)  

Our Top 13 Contestant Season Recap 
These are our picks for each contestant's best performance and the average grade they received from us during the season. 

                                          13th Place                                             12th Place                                                11th Place
                                 Kristen O'Connor                                          Emily Piriz                                             Ben Briley 
Best Performance=Turning Tables (Rush Wk) Best Performance=Glitter in the Air (Top 13)  Best Performance=Folsom Prison Blues (Top 13)
                         Average Grade= N/A                                       Average Grade=C+                                      Average Grade=C+                      

                                                                           10th Place                                                         9th Place
                                                                            MK Nobliette                                             Majesty Rose
                                                  Best Performance=Satisfaction (Top 13)     Best Performance=Tightrope (Top 13)
                                                                       Average Grade=C+                                        Average Grade=

                                                                          8th Place                                                         7th Place
                                                                   Malaya Watson                                               Dexter Roberts
                                                Best Performance=Ain't No Way (Top 8)   Best Performance=One Mississippi (Top 8)
                                                                 Average Grade=B                                             Average Grade=C+

                                                                                  6th Place                                                 5th Place
                                                                                  CJ Harris                                               Sam Woolf 
                                                   Best Performance=Can't You See (Top 11)   Best Performance=It's Time (Top 6)
                                                                          Average Grade=C+                                Average Grade=B-

                                                                       4th Place                                                                         3rd Place
                                                                       Jessica Meuse                                                              Alex Preston
                              Best Performance=The Crowe & The Butterfly (Top 13)                  Best Performance=Stay (Top 3)
                                                               Average Grade=B                                                          Average Grade=B+

2nd/1st Place
                                                                 Caleb Johnson                                                               Jena Irene
                                   Best Performance=Dazed and Confused (Top 9)                       Best Performance=Creep (Top 7)
                                                            Average Grade=A-                                                      Average Grade=A-

Our Season Predictions
(Not Including Top 2 Week)
Bottom 3/2=19 of 26

Going Home=6 of 12

Tonight's Recap
Hope you enjoyed our season review. Now onto the show:

Caleb and Jena Perform Together
They perform a couple different songs. They sing "We Will Rock You" by Queen,  "I'm Just A Girl" by No Doubt and "It's Only Love" by Bryan Adams. So one song suited for her, and one song suited for him and duet.

Sam Woolf & Phillip Phillips Perform
At first Sam sings Phillip's hit song "Home". Then Phillip joins Sam on stage and sings his new song "Raging Fire". I love this song. I kinda think that he sang this song earlier in the season on one of the results show, but whatever, it's a good song. Sam just stands there with his guitar and sings "backup" for Sam. It's mostly Phillip's performance.

Jennifer Nettles & Jessica Meuse Perform
Sans Sugarland a solo Jennifer Nettles comes out and performs her hit "That Girl". She starts off all by herself on the stage. After she performs on her own Jessica Meuse comes out and with Jennifer Nettles they perform Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball". Their voices sound outstanding together.

Jennifer Lopez Performs
With her new CD set to come out pretty soon, Jennifer Lopez sings her new single "First Love". So that's two performances for Lopez this season. I actually don't mind this song. It's a heck of a lot better than that nonsense song "I Luh Ya Papi". That single didn't do anything for her. Then at one point JLo goes into a dance solo and goes crazy on stage with backup dancers and on tables. Good for her for being able to do that, looking at her do that gives me a sharp pain in my back. 

KISS & Caleb Johnson Perform
Together with KISS, Caleb performs "Love Gun" and "Shout It Out Loud". KISS is a legendary band so it's pretty cool that Caleb got to join them on stage. They just rock out, like they are known for. Caleb lets it all loose.

Bad Lip Reading Bit
I kinda love this bit. They do bad lip reading for the NFL and football players and it's hilarious. I recommend it if you haven't seen their former videos. So in this case they take some really random moments and decide to put in fake voices and expression in and the real voices out. It's pretty fantastic. It all matches so perfectly but really doesn't at all.

Aloe Blacc and Idol Guys Perform
Together with the Top 13 guys, Aloe Blacc performs his single "The Man". Obviously some of these guys sound better than others, but that makes sense given that they were all eliminated at one point, except Caleb.

Ford Commercial/Video
We have our last FORD video of the season, and I'll give it as much attention as it deserves...
The only good part about FORD is that they are giving away a car to each of the people that inspires Jena and Cale the most. So that's kinda cool.

Demi Lovato and Idol Girls Perform
Demi Lovato comes back to the Idol stage after awkwardly coming by a few weeks ago when she was there to say "Hi" but ended up kind of judging some performances, that was really odd. Anyways, she performs her single "Don't Really Care". Then the Top 13 girls comes out and perform "Neon Lights" with Demi. Actually MK Nobiliette is sick so she is not there, it's unfortunate that an illness took her away from being there. The girls, sans Jena start off the song on the side stage, and then Jena joins Demi on the main stage to finish up the song with the rest of the girls.

Jena & Paramore Perform
Jena starts off this segment singing the song that actually started people to really to take notice of her "Decode". It was the moment that Jena herself has referenced as the performance that made people forget that she was a wildcard and actually a contender.  After about a minute Paramore comes out on stage singing their new single "Aint' It Fun". Jena joins them after a minute or so. This is right in Jena's lane, hopefully she'll follow this kind of style. Towards the end of the song a ton of huge balloons reign down from the ceiling. They are huge and I almost couldn't see Jena and Paramore performing at one point. They dominated the whole stadium.

John Legend and Malaya Performs
Singing his new single "You and I" is John Legend. He sings that song and then after Malaya joins John on stage to sing his hit "All of Me". It was a sweet duet.

Jason Mraz and Alex Perform
Jason was a guest mentor this season and did a really fantastic job. Tonight he sings his new song "Love Someone", Alex kind of backs him up at first then sings a couple verses from the song as well. Jason Mraz is someone that Alex needs to model himself after, if he stays in that lane he can do well post-Idol.

Ryan Seacrest(Kinda) and Richard Marx Performs
Yes! it finally happened, Ryan in a mock-performance sings "Right Here Waiting". Luckily, it only lasted a few seconds before Richard Marx rescued Ryan. Seacrest tried to back him up, it was pretty adorable. Seacrest has been doing this job for 13 years, he's allowed to take a moment of his own in the midst of everything else. . He said "I apologize at home".  Nice moment.

Darius Rucker, CJ and Dexter Performs
No longer associated with the Blowfish, no longer called Hootie, but never forgotten, Darius Rucker performs his song "True Believers". After that CJ and Dexter combine to sing with Rucker on his song "Alright". I like Dexter and CJ in small doses, so this was a fine performance.

Lady Antebellum Perform
Next on the Idol stage Lady Antebellum sings their new song "Bartender". They don't get any accompaniment by Idol alum. But it was still good.

The Judges & Randy Perform
Given that last year Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj refused to perform together with Randy and Keith, this is a nice treat to see all the judges and (I guess) Randy performing together. Keith on guitar, Randy on bass, Harry on piano and Jennifer on lead vocals sing "True Colors".  The guys sing back-up for Jennifer on that one, Jennifer sounded lovely being so subtle and delicate. They then move onto Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" and the boys are more lead vocals and Jennifer picks up a tambourine. They all sound great together, it's really enjoyable to see them really having fun and doing something other than judging together. Sometimes in the course of a long season, and a ton of judging, and agreeing or disagreeing with them, you forget that these are some talented musicians and artists, it was nice to see that. Plus Keith is the man on guitar, he is amazing and at one point Harry was playing two different pianos at the same time. Very talented.


After months of performances, hours and hours of television, hundreds of contestants, and a ton of  minutes wasted on watching Jennifer Lopez dance or seeing her facial expressions rather than being able to watch the contestants sing WE ARE READY!!!

Caleb Johnson 

Final Thoughts
*Wow. I know that I thought that Caleb was gonna win due to momentum, but in my gut I really thought that Jena would pull it out. Caleb really had a wonderful run throughout the competition. He tried out 2 times prior to this season and never made it to the Top 24.  Last year Candice Glover returned after being rejected and ended up winning, now Caleb has done the same. He deserves the win.

*Jena had fantastic run on this show. She went from being the wildcard to placing second on American Idol. The odds just weren't in her favor. No female had beaten a man in 7 years and only 4 out of the previous 12 winners had won after going first. Plus Jena was in the Bottom 3 during Top 11 week, and there have only been a couple of Idol winners to ever land in the Bottom 3 and still win. Caleb never was in the Bottom 3. She had a lot going against her and those few things might have tipped the scale in Caleb's favor.

*I'd be curious to know what the results were, and how close was it. Given that Caleb had never been Bottom 3 and Jena has riding on top for awhile I'd be interested to know if it was as close as it seems or if it was a no brainer for Caleb.

*Last night's episode was the lowest rated episode of American Idol ever. Sure there were other options, The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, but Idol only had 6.6 million people tune in. I don't know what the number is tonight, but if these numbers continue like they are then next season might be it's last. 

*Finally, I'd like to Thank each and every person that has come to this blog. Whether it be one time, or multiple times a week, we appreciate you reading our thoughts and our opinions about this (sometimes) crazy show. It's a lot of time devoted to a TV show but we enjoy it, and are glad that you do as well.

Please come on back here from time to time for some Idol news and then we will return with our regularly scheduled blog in January of 2015. So until then, see ya!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Season 13 Finale: Final Performances

Welcome back. Well it's been a long season, over 3 months of singing, contestants, eliminations, a few shockers, a ton of Jennifer Lopez dancing, and a sprinkle of nonsense here and there, but overall we have two pretty great performers left in Caleb and Jena. They have been the most consistent contestants week to week, which is a good reason why they are still here. They both deserve a place at this finale.

A couple quick Idol History Notes: Last week we mentioned that the last time a female beat a male in a finale was Season 6, when Jordin Sparks beat Blake Lewis. Another interesting note is in the last two seasons, the winner is the person who sang second, Phillip Phillips and Candice Glover. Out of the 12 prior Season Finales 8 out of 12 winners sung last. So it's not impossible to win if you go first, Scotty McCreery, Lee DeWyze, David Cook and Ruben Studdard each prevailed while going first, but the odds aren't in the first performers favor.

For this season we learn that Jena won the coin toss but decided to go first. That's risky. We'll see what happens this time around with that choice.  So as always, let's get to it:

I'dol Be The Judge Rankings-Season Recap
We usually post our power rankings here, but given that this is the finale you never know what can happen. So in lieu of that, posted below is how Jena and Caleb fared in our Power Rankings all season long. You'll see that although Caleb hasn't been ranked lower than 4th all season long, Jena has progressively gotten better and better and finally has staked claim as our #1 in Power Ranking. We do these power rankings paired with all the remaining contestants and never do the 2 contestants side by side, so it's interesting to see their two journey's next to each other and see what kind of path they took to get to the finale.

Top 13 Week-Jena #8, Caleb #4
Top 12 Week-Jena #7, Caleb #4       
Top 11 Week-Jena #8, Caleb #3                                                                             
Top 10 Week-Jena #5, Caleb #1                                                    
Top 9 Week-Jena #4, Caleb #2
Top 8 Week-Jena #3, Caleb #2
Top 8 Week(Redux)-Jena #2, Caleb #3

Top 7 Week-Jena #2, Caleb #3
Top 6 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #3
Top 5 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #2
Top 4 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #2
Top 3 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #2

Performance #1-Producer Simon Fuller's Choice

(Dog Days Are Over-Florence & The Machine)
I think this was a good song choice, I don't know if she hit as much as I wanted her to. There were a few moments in the beginning/middle that she missed the microphone or just wasn't on it as well as I wish. She hits those high notes like crazy though. Really well done on that. I think it wasn't her best performance but it was still quite good. I still give her credit for going first, that's a big risk. B+
Keith=Great song choice. The way that she owned the stage is so good, sign of a real pro. A few issues with breath control, but that's because there is so much adrenaline going.
Jennifer=The electricity in the room makes the performer a little overwhelming. Did a really good job, sounded good. Loosened up and owned the stage by the middle of song.
Harry=It was fantastic. Favorite part was when she was walking on stage in time and really enjoyed how she owned the stage.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Her adrenaline and excitement got to her a little and she was a little off, but it was still really good.

(Dream On-Aerosmith)
If Simon Fuller's intent is to make Caleb current then he did a bad job with this song choice, it's about 30 years old. But with that being said Caleb did a really great job with it. Everyone knows that huge Steven Tyler note in the song and Caleb really nails it. Keith and Jennifer give Caleb a standing ovation. A-
Jennifer=That's what you got to do. Gotta deliver and seize the moment and he just did that. Right song. That might have did it right there.
Harry=As powerful as the ending in his low register he needs the same focus and energy for the beginning. Phenomenal but needs it for the low intense part too.
Keith=Literally had me from opening song. Had a great arc to the song. Stayed really quiet in beginning and ramped it up by end.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. I think Caleb did a great job. I have to believe there are more current songs that could have been picked for Caleb, but given his track record this season I'm not surprised by the choice.

Our Choice of Winner of Round 1=Caleb

Performance #2-Contestant's Favorite Performance

(Can't Help Falling In Love)
Ya gotta think that if her hometown didn't pick Creep as their selection for Jena last week that Jena would have chosen that this time. I love this song and her version a couple weeks ago, but it gave her a big moment just a couple weeks ago, not a lot of time to have people put the prior performance out of their mind and take in a new one.  That being said, Jena does such a beautiful job again, along with string accompaniment. Really quite lovely. Again, this is a take on the Ingrid Michaelson version, but it has even more to it. Her voice is ridiculous. Keith gives her a standing ovation. Nothing but cheers from Jennifer who gave her a kiss last time. A
Harry=Can clearly hear the influence of other performers that perform this song. But what separates her is that she puts that aside and come out with a unique interpretation on it. Absolutely beautiful.
Keith=Did this song 2 weeks and was so good, showed in this moment that she is a leader and is a trailblazer.
Jennifer=Soul comes through on that song. So incredibly talented and it's overwhelming. Such a battle because both of them are so different. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100% It was so beautiful and the judges tell her that. She is so good behind that piano and so good on stage when she is moving around, basically she is good at most everything she tries.

(Maybe I'm Amazed-Paul McCartney)
I think that this was a smart song choice for Caleb. It allows him to show his tender voice and really powerful one as well.Some of the runs he does are pretty intense and right on point. He hits some falsetto again and nails it. I think this song benefits from being sung a little less intensely, but that's Caleb, so I'm sure that's hard for him to do.  B+
Keith=Such a deep emotional song. Don't get caught up in the gymnastics and lose the feeling.
Jennifer=His power is so undeniable that if he holds back then his should comes out. Required a little more heart and less of the powerful thing.
Harry=I think that the first round goes to Caleb and second round goes to Jena.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For the most part. Caleb got to show his tender side but he could have had even more.

Our Choice of Winner of Round 2=Jena

Performance #3-Original Song/Winner's Single

(We Are One-Jena Irene)
The fact that this song is written by Jena is amazing. She completely owns the song, literally and figuratively. This song could have been on the radio already, it fits completely into what the Katy Perry, Pink's and Rihanna's of the world are putting out there. Jena's final performance was pretty flawless, she moves around the stage, sings well and really enjoys herself out there. A-
Jennifer=Thought that the song really suited her.
Harry=Strong as in the studio. Nice work.
Keith=Perfect song for her.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. The judges had to rush with their critiques due to the show being close to over but they seemed to enjoy it.

(As Long As You Love Me-Caleb Johnson)
Again this song was written by Caleb himself, so that's pretty cool. The song is what you'd expect, big rock moments, crazy runs and a chance for Caleb to go nuts. This is a perfect song for Caleb. I love hearing Caleb performing something so current and from this decade. It was an excellent job by him. A-
Harry=This was Joe Frazier versus Muhammed Ali tonight. Good Luck America.
Keith=It's been an amazing night.
Jennifer=Gave it everything. Felt that he put it out there. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. They didn't really give great feedback on this song in particular, they mostly gave a general view of the whole night, but I really liked this song.

Our Choice of Winner of Round 3=Jena(by an inch) 
*Explanation Found Below*

Top 13 Perform
Right at the end of the show the Top 13 join Jena and Caleb on stage and sing the song that's been the eliminated contestant's song "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. I kinda wish we had a few more seconds of feedback from the judges on the last performances, especially Jena who the judges really didn't get to say anything about. But, it is what it is.


Should Win-Jena Irene. I think she nailed the second round, nailed her last performance, but Caleb's first performance and last one were really good as well. Jena has been close to or at the top of the leader board for weeks. She has had many weeks of just unbelievable performances and vocals. Her overall resume is a strong one and deserves to be recognized. She should be crowned the Season 13 American Idol winner.

Will Win-Caleb Johnson. I don't know, this isn't a clear cut choice like last season was. I just feel like the momentum was all with Caleb tonight. I think that Jena didn't have a huge lead over Caleb prior to the episode and although they tied the first 2 rounds and Jena's final song was a little stronger, Caleb just had a little something extra on his side. Not saying that he wouldn't deserve the crown just as much as Jena, but Jena probably just barely beat Caleb 2 out of 3 rounds. But momentum is key in this case and Caleb had it throughout the night.

Final Thoughts

*This was a pretty outstanding finale. I think each of them delivered absolutely great performances. Caleb's first performance and last one were fantastic and Jena's second and final performance was fantastic. This looks like it will be a very tight race. Both of them deserved to be in the finale and had an impressive resume to get to where they are, so neither of them were far and away the front runner. I think whoever wins will have deserved it.

*I think Jena winning the coin toss and choosing to go first was costly. I think that as good as Caleb's first performance was, it wouldn't have come off so big if Jena had gone right after him with her first performance. I'm not saying she is going to lose just because of it, but I think it was a bad risk that I would love to know why she did it for. Last season Kree Harrison also won the coin choice and elected for Candice Glover to close out the show, we all know how that turned out. Maybe I'm making a big deal of it, maybe not, I'm just saying if it's as close of a final battle as the judges and I think it is, a coin toss and order of performing could make all the difference.

This has been a really great season, and we'll finish up with our last blog of the year tomorrow night after the 2 hour finale. We have a few "awards", some recaps of the season and then our full blown recap of the show. So expect a decent sized blog tomorrow. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the show. So come on back here tomorrow and until then, see ya!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Top 3 Results

Welcome back. Last night was American Idol's 500th episode and tonight is our 200th blog post about American Idol on I'dol Be The Judge. That's a lot of recaps, discussion and thoughts about one particular show. Before we get to the finale and finish the season with our 201st and 202nd post we have to know which two finalists will be most featured in next week's recap.

We predicted that Alex will be eliminated tonight with Caleb and Jena getting to the finale. Alex had a pretty great night last night. His version of "Stay" and "Pompeii" were two of his best performances, but unfortunately his last song didn't really rhyme like those two did, so it didn't work out that well. Seriously though, his last performance of "Story of My Life" was pleasant, but Caleb's out of (but kind of in) control performance of "Dazed and Confused" was his last performance and might have left just enough of an impression on voters to propel him to next week's finale. We think that overall Jena had the most solid night,  and her last song of "Creep" was amazing, thus, sending her into the finale next week.

This week's episode is one hour long. I didn't know this until a minute before the show started. Lot's of time to stretch things out. We'll see how it all goes down, let's get going:

Randy Jackson's Take
Jena's version of "Creep" was amazing.  Whoever goes home will have just missed the finale. Doesn't know how America will vote. [Editor's Note: He really just said that "whoever goes home will miss the finale". In other news the sky is blue and 1+1=2....Jeez Randy. There are 3 people left and next week is the finale, we understand.]

Jena's Hometown Visit
Her hometown is in the state of Michigan, she lives in North Farmington. She got to fly in on a small, private plane and was greeted by her family. She gets to go on local news shows, drive in a Limo and visit a lot of fans at some local establishments. She then gets to go home and visit her grandparents and all of her family. We see her room and see her downstairs basement where she learned to play piano and continues to play, she even plays a few bars of an original song. She then gets to perform in front of thousands of people. Very cool. Ryan tells Jena that on the finale she will join forces with Paramore. Jena has been compared to and thought to be like the lead singer of Paramore, Haley Williams, so that's a nice fit.

Guest Performance
Season 10 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery is back to perform, but not before a little catching up with some other Idol Alum. Elliot Yamin from Season 5 and Danny Gokey from Season 8 are former 3rd place finishing American Idol contestants. They give a little update on their lives now, personally and professionally. Scotty performs his new song "Feeling It". Scotty still has that deep voice but he is a far superior performer on stage than in his Idol days.

Alex's Hometown Visit
His hometown is in the state of New Hampshire, he lives in Mont Vernon to be exact. He first stops at a local radio station. He then takes a huge stretch limo home. His family is outside waiting for him. Lots of hugs and kisses go around. Family and friends welcome Alex in his own home. His high school band "Undertow" comes by to welcome Alex back as well. Right outside of Town Hall at least a thousand people are waiting for Alex. The governor calls May 14th Alex Preston Day. Alex performs in front of a couple thousand people. For some reason during the video package the camera is locked on Jennifer Lopez's reaction as we have split shot of her face and Alex's hometown visit. She is just watching the thing, she's not getting too emotional or anything. Producers probably want her to cry or something, but it's not happening, they can focus on Alex but focusing on her is absurd. Ryan tells Alex that he gets to sing with Jason Mraz next week at the finale.

Caleb's Hometown Visit
Caleb lives in the state of North Carolina, in the hometown of Asheville.  He goes to the rock academy and visits a group of kids rocking out. He then visits a local radio station and shakes hands with a few fans. He then goes home and visits his brother Houston, who is a bigger version of Caleb, pretty funny. He then visits the Biltmore Estate which is a big Asheville landmark. He then gets to jam with his former band and plays in front of a big group of people. The mayor of Asheville declares May 14th, Caleb Johnson Day. He goes to visit a local pub/restaurant and performs there as well. He then participates in a parade in downtown Asheville and eventually gets pretty emotional. Ryan confirms that Caleb gets to perform with Kiss next week at the finale.

After 53 minutes of non-results it's time to get to the results.

First Into The Finale= Jena Irene

Second Into The Finale=Caleb Johnson

Going Home=Alex Preston. I think Alex could have been fine in that final spot over Caleb, but Caleb deserved to be there as well. Alex put up a good fight last night, he really did. I do think that last performance of Caleb's being so incredible and Alex's being kind of subdued in comparison was the difference maker. It was a great run for Alex. He is up for one of the better 3rd place finishers in Idol history.

Our Season Predictions
Bottom 3/2 Predictions=None Tonight. 19 of 26 This Season.
Going Home Predictions=1 of 1 Tonight. 6 of 12 This Season.

Final Thoughts

*A Jena and Caleb finale. We predicted this several weeks back, with both of them being at the top of our Power Ranking list for most of the season. Both of them deserve a spot in the finale. They have been the most consistent performers week to week. I think right now Jena has a slight edge over Caleb, but it's not by that much. If Caleb's voice is all the way back, and he gets the last spot of the night, the spot right before the main voting block begins then he can do to Jena what he did to Alex. It's not gonna be an easy win for either of them.

*In the history of American Idol there has been now 8 seasons with a male versus female finale. Seasons 2, 7 and 8 were male versus male. Seasons 3 and 12 were female versus female. The seasons in which it was like this season, male versus female were Seasons 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and now 13. Out of those previous 7 seasons only 3 times has a woman won over a male. Those winners were Kelly Clarkson(Season 1) over Justin Guarini, Carrie Underwood(Season 4) over Bo Bice and Jordin Sparks(Season 6) over Blake Lewis. A woman hasn't beaten a man in 6 years, Jena is going to look to break that streak next week.

*I really enjoyed watching the hometown visits this year. Last year, stupidly, the Idol producers put the hometown video packages on right before the contestants performed on Performance night. Last year's hometowns were pretty darn emotional and it kind of messed with their heads. This year they smartly put the full video packages on Results night. Much better idea. Jessica Meuse also got a hometown parade and recognition from her hometown Slapout, Alabama, but they didn't show that tonight, they showed us a second or two of it yesterday.

*Programming Note: Next week's 1-hour performance show is on Tuesday night and the 2-hour results show will be on Wednesday night.

*Our favorite performance was from the now departed Alex Preston. His version of "Stay" was pretty incredible. Check it out if you haven't already:

That's it. The finale is set. Only 1 more week of American Idol and we are done until next January. Please come back here next Tuesday for our take on the Finale performances. It should be a great battle. So until then, see ya!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Top 3 Perform: Randy Jackson, Judge's and Hometown Picks

Welcome back. Tonight is the 500th episode of American Idol and also the penultimate performance episode. We are so close to the end. We have 3 contestants left and tonight's performances will determine which contestants makes the Finale. Alex, Jena and Caleb have been the most consistent performers since the Top 12 and each deserve to be here, it'll be interesting how everything shakes out.

Tonight the contestants will be singing 3 songs. One song will be Randy Jackson's pick, one will be judge's pick, and one song will be selected by a poll conducted only from their hometown. Right before the performances we are told Caleb has been dealing with bronchitis and has a small vocal cord hemorrhage but according to the American Idol doctor he is cleared to perform. Drama, Drama.

According to reports, next season American Idol's results show will be eliminated and everything will happen in one night, anything can happen between now and then, and if FOX under-performs as much as they did this season, then maybe they will reconsider, but I'm pumped about the 2 hour format. Results shows are silly and are time wasters. But anyways, let's get to tonight and get started:

I'dol Be The Judge's Power Rankings
With the elimination of Jessica Meuse from the competition this drops Alex to the bottom of our list. At this point each of the contestants have been at the top of our leader board, so it's really anyone's game.
1. Jena Irene-Same From Last Week
2. Caleb Johnson-Same From Last Week
3. Alex Preston -Same From Last Week

Guest Performance
Um, I looked down for a minute and when I looked up all of a sudden everyone was taking Selfies because for the guest performance of the night DJ's The Chainsmokers came out and "performed" a song called "#selfie". It's an absurd song and everyone, including the judges and audience, pulled out their phones and were just takeing selfies all over the place on tables and everything. Idol has been doing these "selfie" things all season and it's absurd. Maybe if I was attending a Bar Mitvah that would have been a fun time but I'm really not here for people on my screen to be taking selfies. It's not good TV at all.

Round 1: Randy Jackson's Picks

Caleb Johnson
(Never Tear Us Apart-INXS)
To be current Randy chose a 1980s song. OK. Very current, so that means I'm a newborn baby. Anyways moving on from semantics, Caleb can't talk or do interviews, he can only perform his 3 songs, he didn't even perform during dress rehearsal. Caleb pushed his voice as far as he could. If I didn't know he was sick I would say he was holding back a little, but given his illness I'd say he did really well. But since I'm watching and looking at everyone the same I'd say he did a real solid job with a tough song. B+
Keith=Great song choice. Has that blues-soul thing in his voice. Hears the voice go in certain spots but he is such a pro.
Jennifer=Can see he wanted to do more. Him his on his worst night is better than most people on their best. Still a stellar performance.
Harry=That song forced him to work within confines. Real concern is that he doesn't hurt himself tonight.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. His worst is still pretty darn good, and I don't think that was his worst.

Alex Preston
This is a current and modern song and it allows Alex a chance to do an uptempo song.Alex starts in his usual perch with his guitar, but with some backing drums Alex joins in and plays drums himself. He throws the guitar behind him and actually doesn't go back to the guitar, this is a first for him. Wow. I was actually gonna mention how Alex doesn't change things up, but tonight he really did.It was a little shaky when he transitioned from one thing to another, he missed the microphone a little, but I liked that he changed it up and tried something that we haven't seen. He has his eye on the prize, which is the finale/winning and he is doing what he can to get there. A-
Jennifer=Can see what his doing. He is creating moments. It was a different Alex, much different and elevated. 
Harry=That song gave him do everything he needed to. It was current and great. Can see the wheels turning a bit too much. Felt a little piece mealed.
Keith=Despite a few hiccups of going from one instrument to another and moving around stage, when he was playing the drum he became so solid as performer.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. Alex really went outside his usual comfort zone and tried to switch things up and push himself. It was a good call on his part.

Jena Irene
(Titanium-David Guetta feat Sia)
This was a song choice that Jena admitted that she wanted to sing a week or so ago, so it's definitely inside of her comfort zone and song personality.  The song started a little low.  Jena was up in the air on a pedestal thing and it didn't allow to get her usual stage personality going. I didn't like that staging choice at all. Her voice is so good and does carry her pretty far. She hits every note and hits some really tough high notes to boot. She just goes for those big notes and doesn't really falter. I wish the first part of the song was like the second part, but still she kicks those high notes in the butt. B
Harry=Another great song choice.  This song has a ton of high notes, it is a high risk, high reward song. It's great to see her week to week to see her get better on stage.
Keith=Is a killer performer but also has fun. Is inspiring to mix the conviction and approach with fun.
Jennifer=Hit all the high notes. One of most difficult songs. The beginning felt a little shaky and never saw her fully loosen up. Not her best but not worried about her.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep, especially with..Jennifer. I think the beginning of the song was a little too low but by that middle end she killed it.

Round 2: Judge's Picks

Caleb Johnson
(Demons-Imagine Dragons)
This is a modern song, it's nice to hear something more current.  Caleb decides to take the song in a different direction, especially the first verse, I don't think I liked it too much. I feel like he changed it just for the sake of changing it, I don't think it added much. The whole song was in a different style and direction than the original. I liked that it focused more on his voice rather than the band, which the original song does a little. Caleb did a nice job with it. I don't know if I loved the arrangement, but his voice carried him through. B
Keith=Feeling for him right now, loves that he is working through that. Killed that song, noticed a real Steve Perry vibe.
Jennifer=As a performer he seemed a little shaky and sang the emotion of the song, especially by the middle. 
Harry=Has come so far in this competition. Wonders what record he will make. Caleb tells him that he wants a rock album, soul and all original songs.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Harry gave no opinion or critique. I think Jennifer was trying to say it was a little shaky at first, but they didn't really say anything about the arrangement.

Alex Preston
I had a feeling that Alex would take this song really acoustic and he did. He got some violin accompaniment and very gentle drum background. Alex hits some really lovely notes. He changes things up a little to take to this song in his own way. I really loved the arrangement on this song. He hit that really long note in the middle of the song so effortlessly and really delivered on the last note as well. Jennifer and Keith give Alex a standing ovation. A-
Jennifer=Knew he would sing the heck out of the song. So beautiful. All yours, forgot about Rihanna.
Harry=Beautiful. Really strong. Wants to know what he'll do in concert. Alex tells him they will be fun and a lot of rocking out.
Keith=Owned that song from beginning to end. He mixed up the falsetto and the full voice so well. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Absolutely. Alex delivered a beautiful performance. I thought it was gonna go one way, but it ended up being a lot more.

Jena Irene
(Heart Attack-Demi Lovato)
This is a pretty perfect song choice on paper. Jena is so current that this song sounds like something she can sing right now and throw on the radio, if she is so fortunate. Demi Lovato is someone that is right in Jena's lane and Jena delivered appropriately. The song again started a little low, but after the first line or two she just did everything she was supposed to and more. The way her voice maneuvered around some of those high notes and low notes was pretty flawless. A-
Harry=Even in songs where there isn't a lot of ways to be original . Needs to have same energy from first note that she does in the end. Asks Jena what she wants to do on stage. Jena wants to rage with the crowd and connect with the audience.
Keith=It was great. Always so right on with her pitch and range. The notes just keep coming. Loves when she is with the band on stage.
Jennifer=Felt very loose and in control. She was free and perfect. Great song choice, if they say so themselves.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. She really nailed this song and performance. Would have loved that first few sentences to kill, but from then on it was pretty perfect.

Round 3: Hometown Picks

Caleb Johnson
(Dazed and Confused-Led Zeppelin)
This is a huge song, as are most Led Zeppelin songs. The band is really going crazy. Jennifer and Keith stand up after about 30 seconds of performance. Caleb wasn't on pitch the whole time, but the band kinda made up for him.  Jennifer is dancing a lot and really rocking out. I would have loved to see Caleb a little more. Caleb ends the song by bashing the mic stand over and over and dropping the microphone. His performance level was crazy. He put it all out there. Can't say he didn't. Knowing what he has going on and everything in between he pulled off a great performance. A
Keith=That was insane. If ever there was a complete moment of miraculous healing that was it. 
Jennifer=A true Idol moment. That was bananas. That was ridiculous. 
Harry=It was really great. This show is about opportunities and Caleb took advantage of the opportunity. It was absolutely fantastic.
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. Caleb put it all out there. Every ounce of himself and I give him much respect for that.

Alex Preston
(Story of My Life-One Direction)
This was a pretty predictable song choice. The hometown could have chosen any song basically and they chose one doesn't allow Alex to have huge moments. I wish that his song was a little bigger for this kind of moment. This is his last song of the night, before most people vote. Sure it was lovely and Alex sang very well, but unfortunately this was on the lower end of the performance excitement scale while Caleb's performance was at the higher end, so in direct comparison it was boring. But, Alex sang well and did a really nice job with it. I give his hometown an F for predictable song, but a decent grade for Alex overcoming it. B
Jennifer=It's gonna be hard for the audience. That was a great job.
Harry=This song strikes a chord with people. He sang it in Top 10 but gave a strong performance this time.
Keith=It was hard to come out after his last performance, it came down from that one.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. It was a bit of a let down after his prior performance and after Caleb's last performance, but he still sang prettily enough.

Jena Irene
Jena's high school voted for this song and it's one she already did, but unlike Alex this song provides Jena more opportunities.. Jena delivered so well last time with this song selection so it's tough to do much better. Probably knowing this Jena basically does the same performance with her sitting behind the piano. Her voice is so good and makes you almost forget that she did this song a few weeks ago. I take a little away from her grade because she didn't do much differently than she did before, but she still killed the song. Jennifer and Keith give her a standing ovation. A-
Harry=Something when she sits behind the piano, coupled that with how she does the other things. Doesn't envy the audience at home. That was terrific.
Keith=So belongs here. You're progress from auditions to now is mind-blowing. Gravitated toward production, band, how she dresses, everything has grown from leaps and bounds.
Jennifer=It was brilliant. So young, but it's so easy for her. So hard to beat.
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. Jena was brilliant and had 3 really great performances tonight.

Going Home Predictions
Alex.  This is tough. Probably one of the hardest picks of who will be in the finale next week. Alex delievered on his first two performances but was lacking in the third. Caleb was lacking in his first two performances but killed his last song. Jena really was the most solid of the night and provided many great moments. I think Jena is a lock and the battle is between Alex and Caleb. Will the person make it that did better as a whole, or will the person make it that did better at the end? We shall see.

Final Thoughts

*This is gonna be an interesting vote tomorrow. Alex, Caleb and Jena each had so many great moments and performances tonight. The judges said it a few times but the audience will have a tough time. I know that at one point in this competition I thought each one of them could win. They each have had so many big performances along the way. Whoever goes home tomorrow is gonna be a tough person to lose. But that's the competition, only one can win.

*I can't say any more of how much I disliked the opening of the show. If they were gonna try and stall for time, and really stretch out the 2 hours then have better performances. The fact that they had that selfie party thing going in the beginning was absurd. This was the 500th episode of American Idol. I know they brought back this season's Top 12, but why not have some Idol alum come and perform. Or show us more moments from Idol past. Idol has produced a ton of stars, they should have really tried to utilized them more. I know that they had few seconds of pre-taped material from some past winners, but I'm sure there is some Idol alum that could have come out instead of that selfie nonsense.

*I am doing something I haven't done a lot this season, complimented Randy Jackson. I know it was probably more producers pick than just Randy Jackson, but his picks were really quite good, even though INXS isn't current. If choosing songs is something Randy wants to do next season than that would be different, but in the capacity of mentor he probably shouldn't be doing that anymore.

That's it. Tomorrow we will find out which 2 contestants will make the finale and which contestant will come up just a little short. We'll also check out a little more footage from when the Top 3 went home. So come on back here tomorrow and until then, see ya!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Top 4 Results

Welcome back. Last night provided a lot of great moments for most of the contestants. I'd say everyone had at least one amazing performance, but overall Caleb and Jena had the more consistent night, so we chose Jessica and Alex as our Bottom 2, with Jessica being the one going home. She did provide one great performance in "You and  I" but her other two weren't that unbelievable and she had been in the Bottom 2 very recently and consistently.

According to an interview Jessica did after the performances, every contestant had to find a new song only a day before the live shows. Supposedly they were going to do original songs but the producers couldn't get things cleared, so everyone had to find something new. Jessica stated that "So What?" was the song she had to learn in a day, and that was one of the two songs that the judges weren't very happy with, so that could be a big deal.

The 3 contestants that are not eliminated tonight will get their hometown visits, which usually includes a parade, a key to the city and free doughnuts for a year. I'm not actually sure about that last one but ya never know and I'm sure it'd be much appreciated. So let's get to the show and see who lands in the Top 3 and who comes up a bit short:

Ford Commercial
The contestants were playing guitars with each other, they went to a record song and got around by driving around in a...FORD car. Surprising.  Meh...

Randy Jackson's Take
Jena=Was on fire, one of greatest performances in Idol history. He think
Caleb=The judges loved it, he loved it. Came into his own, grown immensely.
Jessica=Mixed results. Very end nailed something great for her, and great song for her.
Alex=Good night last night, in the end it was the money, if he stays the end song was what did it for him.

Results #1
1st Safe=Jena

Day Off Video Package
The Final Four got to enjoy the day in the park with some pizza, but with the cameras rolling and some "unscripted" conversation. I'm sure there were no prompts by the producers. They just ended up talking about the Top 3 going home and enjoying their time there. Very natural.

P.S, in case you missed it, most of those last few sentences were covered in sarcasm.

Results #2
2nd Safe=Caleb

Bottom 2
2. Jessica

Results #3
3rd Safe=Alex

Going Home: Jessica. She had a very strong run on the show and I am so happy her final song on the show was her original "Blue Eyed Lie", she killed it despite crying and being incredibly emotional. Her voice is one of the more distinctive sounds of the season. I am happy she got this far. I think that Alex's run was just a little more consistent and he had more of the judge's support. Jessica got really far despite a lot of the harsher criticism coming from the judges. I am so glad we got to hear so many great songs from her.

Our Season Predictions
Bottom 3/2=2of 2 Tonight. 19 of 26 This Season.
Going Home=1 of 1 Tonight. 5 of 11 This Season.

Final Thoughts

*With Jessica's elimination it's now guaranteed that at least one of Caleb or Jena is going to make the Finale. I think if it's not both of them there then the other one will win it. They have been riding high for week after week. It's gonna be tougher for Alex, but if he really delivers next week it might propel him at least to the finale. Right now I'd say Jena is in the front runner spot, followed closely by Caleb and then a good gap and then Alex.

*Next week the Top 3 will have zero say in their song choices. The first choice belongs to one of the judges. The second choice comes from "mentor" Randy Jackson (yikes!). The third choice is a reprise of a song they have already sung selected by their hometown. So if Caleb didn't like not having a chance to choose 1 song when the home audience chose songs from him last week then I'm sure he won't like all 3 choices not belonging to him.

 *American Idol has been renewed for Season 14 and according to multiple reports all 3 judges will return. I really don't mind this panel. Jennifer Lopez is a lot more tolerable with Harry and Keith than she ever was with Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler.  The producers just need to stop focusing on her dancing and focus on the performers singing. The only personnel change that I need to see happen is Randy Jackson removed from "mentor". I have seen and read countless exit interviews from eliminated contestants and not one of them mentions Randy influencing or guiding them in any way, the fact that we barely see him in any video packages proves that he really isn't doing too much. I would love a real mentor to help these contestants, maybe a rotation of Idol alums like David Cook, or Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Melinda Doolittle. People still involved in the Idol world from time to time and know what they are talking about. I think the new contestants would gain a lot from them.

*Our favorite performance of last night, and maybe the season was Jena's version of "Can't Help Falling In Love". It was pretty incredible. Even Jennifer Lopez couldn't help falling in love with Jena. Eh. That was lame, but the performance was far from it. Check it out if you haven't thus far:

That's it. Come on back here next week for the theme of "Everybody Picks Songs for the Contestants But The Contestants" or something more snippy. We are getting real close to the finale. It's crazy. So until next time, see ya!