Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top 6 Perform: Country & Rock & Roll

Welcome back. With last week's elimination of Dexter Roberts we are left with our Top 6. For the first time this season the contestant's will be singing 2 songs and be judged for both. Although the contestants have sung duets those "supposedly" haven't been judged and shouldn't be held for or against them when voting. In essence they were time wasters. Now, the contestants are going to sing 2 full songs on their own. Tonight they will sing one country song and then they will sing one rock and roll song. It should be interesting to hear some of these contestant's sing country, when they never have, and we'll see how more country-fied artists like CJ and Jessica do with some rock and roll. So let's get to it:

I'dol Be The Judge's Power Rankings
Despite not being in the official Bottom 2 CJ is still at the bottom of our list. He somehow gets by week after week and the judge's (mainly J.Lo) just eat it up. Jena had the best week last week by far and deserves the top spot on our list. Caleb and Alex are right near the top. Jessica had a tough time with the judges and her song choice and despite being in the Bottom 2 she can change it up quickly, while Sam continues to do the same thing week after week.

1.  Jena Irene-Up 1 From Last Week
2. Alex Preston-Down 1 From Last Week

3. Caleb Johnson-Same As Last Week
4. Jessica Meuse-Same As Last Week (Officially Bottom 2)
5. Sam Woolf-Same As Last Week
6.. CJ Harris-Up 1 From Last Week

Top 6 Perform Rock and Roll

Jena Irene
This is a cool song choice by Jena. She always gets into every performance and this one was no different. The band was up on stage with her and she plays around with them and works the stage like she owns it and then she sings with one of the back-up singers pretty flawlessly. This type of performance is right in her wheelhouse. She made the song even more rock than the original, I thought it was pretty amazing. A
Keith= Great way to start the show. Perfect song for voice and range. Killer performance. Only thing that could want is that she can release even more and cut loose.
Jennifer=Last week was a pivotal week, and it'll take any thing extra to push herself will help her win.
Harry=Great to sing that song. Such a strong voice and great match.
Do The Judges & I Agree? We do. Great way to start the show, she nailed it.

Sam Woolf
(It's Time-Imagine Dragons)
This is a rock song but not as fast and hard rocking as "Barracuda" was. Sam does a nice job with it. He sings on pitch and seems more focused on staying connected. I wish he let go a little more with his voice. It was a good song choice and that helped his performance, especially there was a really high note towards the end and he nailed it. One of Sam's better performances. B+
Jennifer= Got goosies on that one because she believed him in that song.
Harry=Perfect song choice. Great to see week to week how humble and sweet he is and keeps adding layers.
Keith=Good performance. 2 moments the high notes and last notes he just tapped into something. Has real pain and frustration and can tap into that because it will all explode.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Sam was probably the best he has been, he loosened up, but can probably do more. 

CJ Harris
(American Woman-The Guess Who)
I like that CJ was forced to sing something other than country or mellow songs. I hate that before CJ even sings Jennifer is going nuts for him and dancing in her chair. This was more the Lenny Kravitz version of the song, rather than the original, so that was a smart choice on CJ's part. He still sings out of tune from time to time though. B-
Harry=Thought it was a good performance. Good song choice. Needs to keep working on intonation. Needs to sing more in tune and focus. Has done better. Pretty good.
Keith=That song was all attitude and CJ is a sweet guy, it was disconnected in that way. Needs to find that emotion somewhere.
Jennifer=Love the look, looks the part. Pulled it off. Started off a little shaky in the beginning but then it came together.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He did a decent job, but nothing spectacular.

Alex Preston
(Animal-Neon Trees)
This song has never been performed on the Idol stage before so it's refreshing to hear something new and fun and current. I really like this song choice for Alex. I don't know if anyone else could pull it off as well as he did. He didn't change the song up or doing something crazy with it, he added his own personal style to it, and that's good sometimes. Sure he has sounded better at times, especially when he changes things up and personalizes it. B
Keith=Wanted him to release a little more. The band and song was on top of him a little. Wasn't quite dominating in that song.
Jennifer= With a song like that you expect much more, and there was something missing. It was a little contained.
Harry=Consistent and always a sensitive thoughtful performer. Can get a bit of a pass because he is so good all the time. Almost seemed he couldn't get centered and catch his breath. 
Do The Judges & I Agree?  Sorta. I can see what they are saying in that he didn't get  into the song as much as he should have. When you see Neon Trees perform that song the lead singer goes pretty much all over the place, Alex kinda stayed in one zone and one mode. 

Caleb Johnson
(Sting Me-Black Crowes)
There is nothing better than Caleb with the band on stage with him. He is one of, if not the most consistent performer that we have left. This was right in his zone and it couldn't have been much better than what he did. That last note was super high and very rock and roll and he nailed it. Jennifer gives Caleb a standing ovation. Caleb put everything out there and just delivered. So good. There was a point where he lost his microphone and it rolled away but Caleb continued on like nothing happened and just went with it. It for sure wasn't planned, it just sorta happened but he didn't lose a note or moment. He's a true performer.  A
Jennifer= He lost his mind out there and is just a true performer. Did an amazing job. Created a moment.
Harry=Perfect song choice and coupled it with an incredible performance. Virtually impossible to beat.
Keith=Killed that song, even though he had a moment when the mic went one way he went another he just owned that song and performance.
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. He really killed that song and laid it all out there. When the judges say that some of the contestants need to let go they should look at Caleb and see what he just did.

Jessica Meuse
(Somebody To Love-Jefferson Airplane)
This song has never performed on the show before and that shocks me because it's one of the greatest songs ever. Jessica seemed really into the performance, she had her comfort zone of the guitar with her, the band was out on stage with her and Jessica hit some crazy good notes. She was right in the pocket at every turn. This was a perfect song choice for her. B+
Harry= Presented her voice in the strongest way possible. Did everything what was asked of her. Super strong.
Keith=Vocally strong and played to her tonal strengths. Would love a little more release. 
Jennifer=Needs to be more free and wants her energy of her body to match the energy of her voice.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Maybe. Other than Harry they didn't give her a lot of credit for the song, they gave her feedback and tips to improve but didn't go too far into how well she has progressed.

Top 6 Perform Country

Sam Woolf
(You're Still The One-Shania Twain)
This was an interesting song choice. I know that this song is from a country singer but this was a song that brought her Pop fans, so it wasn't full country. Sam looked a little shaken on stage at times. He goes to the fans at one point and tries to move around. He is a sweet kid and this was a sweet performance, but it didn't provide me with thinking that it was spectacular. It was good.C+
Keith=Good song lyrically. Needs to relax more. That song is like a lullaby. Has some moments.
Jennifer=You're so cute it's crazy. Good song, sang it well. Needs to get better at tapping into moments.
Harry=Found the people, and not singing it so perfectly, didn't have any dynamics. Needs connection to the people, and now needs it for the lyrics.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. They never full out say he does something wrong, like didn't connect, they just say he needs to work on it. So they kind of agree that it wasn't great.

Caleb Johnson
(Undo It-Carrie Underwood)
This was a smart song choice by Caleb, because it was country but had some rock in there as well. He proved that it doesn't matter the genre, he is gonna go all out. It's tough to top what he did earlier in the show but this was a really solid performance. B+
Jennifer=Hard to top the last performance. Did a great job with the song. This was a great performance but the first one was so epic.
Harry=The magic happened on the first song, and this one seemed a little forced, but this was a great night. Difficult not to compare the two.
Keith=Can't wait to hear what country song he sings later...
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. He put so much emotion and craziness into the last performance so it would be tough to top it, but this was still solid.

 Alex Preston
(Always On My Mind-Willie Nelson)
This was like a lullaby and super sweet. He made it his own, but kept a ton from the original. I think the band messed him up a little, and he went off tune a bit in the middle of the song. It was really effective when he was on his own without the band. It wasn't a ton of band accompaniment, but enough to mess him up for a second. He rebounded really nicely though. B+
Harry=Feels lucky to have heard him sing this song. Exactly what it should have been. Sang it beautifully, changed it a little. He is an artist and did a terrific job.
Keith=Has a really strong style. That song is heartbreaking and would have loved a little more heartbreak in the performance, heard it but didn't feel it.
Jennifer=It was really beautiful. Had the perfect balance of changing it up but keeping true to the original.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. He did a nice job at changing it up but being true to the original version. He seemed more comfortable and at ease.

 Jena Irene
(So Small-Carrie Underwood)
I thought the beginning of the song was a little rough, it didn't flow for a second, but then she got to the chorus and meat of the song and she sounded so beautiful. Jena was very tender and sweet with the song, which is a stark contrast with how hard and energized she was for her first performance. That's a good sign for her that she can tap into both and do well with both. A-
Keith=Such a good singer. You're everything that Idol is about. Gets better and better every week.
Jennifer=The power of the vocal just takes over and makes her get into the story and the song. Got goosies again.
Harry=This song has a tough melody. Didn't really where she was going with it. A lot of people love her because of her fantastic voice and consistent performances.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. Harry didn't think it was so great but Harry and Jennifer did.

 CJ Harris
(Whatever It Is-The Zac Brown Band)
This is the style of song that CJ prefers to sing, but it doesn't take him out of his comfort zone. There were a few times that he didn't finish his sentences, like it just trailed off. One of the runs didn't work out so well and fell a little flat.  C
Jennifer=More his style. Expected more from him. Didn't hit the mark.
Harry=Wasn't his best performances. Needs to pick a song that will kill. That song was too easy and mellow. Can't get by with performances and song choices like that.
Keith= Love him as a guy. That song is a great song for the original not for CJ. Sang sharp a lot of the time. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. This was not a good song choice and not a good performance.

Jessica Meuse
(Jolene-Dolly Parton)
This was a perfect song choice, maybe a little predictable, but Jessica put a rock flair to it, it wasn't the original Dolly Parton version. I might have liked her doing the Dolly Parton version rather than have the band go pretty much all out. My favorite part was when the band was a little softer and we can really focus on her voice. I think it was a calculated risk and I don't know if it fully worked. B-
Harry= Did it again, stood there a delivered in a strong and convincing way.
Keith=It was a strong vocal and performance. Hated the arrangement of the song. Didn't need the darkness and weight of the band. 
Jennifer=Thought her vocal was really strong. Felt the connection behind her eyes. Her voice is magnificent.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda.  Her vocal was so good, but I didn't like the arrangement, like Keith. I think she could have sang the original version really well or changed it up slightly. I think she did a little too much with it.

Bottom 2 Predictions/Going Home
Bottom 2
1. CJ Harris
2. Sam Woolf

Going Home
CJ Harris. I think he needed to step it up for country week and he didn't. He got mild reviews on his first song and not so great reviews on his last song. He probably should have been gone a few weeks ago, but I think after tonight he really should be the one going home tomorrow.

Final Thoughts
*There were so many really great moments tonight. I thought Caleb killed it, Jena was really powerful, on both of her songs, Jessica stepped it up after a disappointing week last week and Alex was very sweet on one of his performances.  Sam did a decent job but nothing outstanding and CJ is in some trouble. He is the most country and blusey contestant left and needed to stand out. He needed to do to country what Caleb did to rock and he just didn't.

*I say it week after week but that Super Vote update thing is nonsense. It needs to go, as does us being shown the judges dancing in their seats, mainly Keith and Jennifer, but mainly Jennifer. I want to see how these contestants perform not the judges.

*Overall a pretty strong showing tonight. Not too many complaints, not as many nonsense moments or filler moments. Last week was crazy with all the drop ins and time wasters. This one was more focused, probably because the contestants had to sing twice.

That's it. A good night tonight. It'll be interesting to see how the votes go. We are getting down to some really good contestants left. So come on back here tomorrow. Until then, see ya!

1 comment:

  1. A few random comments of my own. (1) I was surprised that they chose to do Rock and Roll before Country (opposite from the theme). (2) The constant close-ups of Jennifer (compared to Harry and Keith) is over the top. (3) It's interesting that Sam was saved (wasted in my opinion) and now he is staying while others get knocked off. I never understood the save being used unless a powerhouse favorite, like Jessica in a recent season, gets voted off unexpectedly. Sam is a middle of the pack guy and should have never been saved. Luckily, nobody after him was a shocker. (4) I don't understand why we have to see the contestants getting their make-up touched up before the commercial break prior to their performances. I can see this as something different for one show only but for every show? (5) The obvious final two if America gets it right should be Caleb and Jena. I would rank the other 3 as Jessica, Alex, and Sam in that order to round out the others. Caleb/Jena/Jessica should be the 3 that get the home town visits. However, I think the voters are going to sway towards Alex or Sam unless Jessica pulls off a "moment" which I think a lot of people have been waiting for but may not happen.