Thursday, May 8, 2014

Top 4 Perform: Break-Ups/Make-Ups & Dedications

Welcome back. Last week in a weird twist possibility that actually didn't happen Sam Woolf was eliminated. The reason it didn't happen was because two contestants decided not to change the format(which I completely agree with). Those two contestants ended up being Jena and Alex. I applaud them for not switching things up and having two people eliminated tomorrow, making it just the regular format of one person going home per week. We'll never know if the twist came about because it was Sam being the one eliminated or if the producers actually had this twist in their plans the whole time, but I think the fact that they didn't announce the twist on or right after the performances on Wednesday night proves that they waited until they learned who would be eliminated before coming up with the "twist".

Anyways, getting to tonight, the contestants will perform 3 songs. One will be Break-Up songs, one will be Song Dedications and the other will be Make-Up songs. We'll see how it goes, let's get to it:

 I'dol Be The Judge's Power Rankings
With Sam's elimination the only contestant left that has been near elimination since Top 11 Week is Jessica Meuse. We don't know officially who was in the Bottom 2 with Sam last week, but Jessica was there the previous couple weeks. At this point any of the contestant's left could win and pretty much any of them could be eliminated if they have a tough night. The eliminations this season have been to week to week, making every remaining performance incredbily important.

1.  Jena Irene-Same As Last Week
2. Caleb Johnson-Same As Last Week
3. Alex Preston-Same As Last Week

4. Jessica Meuse-Same As Last Week

Top 4 Perform: Break-Up Songs
 Caleb Johnson
(You Give Love A Bad Name-Bon Jovi)
This is an old-school choice for Caleb, I wish he did a more current break-up song given he did an 80s and 90s song last week but it's not a bad thing he chose this song, because it's a really good song. He didn't do much to change it up, he did a nice job and sang well. We again see Jennifer Lopez dancing in her seat, she must be getting paid extra for all the camera time she receives when she isn't judging. Caleb did a nice job to start off the night. I wasn't completely excited by it but it was still a good performance. B+
Keith= Really loved when he took it to his own place and made it not a cover.
Jennifer=Always feels like she is in a rock concert. Ready for prime time.
Harry=Thought it was fantastic. Wants him to think about using different runs and licks because it's tough to do when you sing so many songs in a row like in concert.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. Caleb did a real nice job with it, but it was almost a straight cover.

Jessica Meuse
(Since U Been Gone-Kelly Clarkson)
Singing a Kelly Clarkson song or almost any song by a past Idol winner or contestant is tough. The first verse of the song was rough for Jessica but once the chorus kicked in she got in the groove a little. It almost was a little too low for her. She had the attitude and her voice is always on point. It wasn't a straight cover, she added a lot of rock flavor to it. Just the first part of the song was rough for her. B-
Jennifer=One of favorite Kelly Clarkson songs. Felt that she felt the song and the attitude was right. Don't think it was the best song choice, didn't compliment her vocal style and ability felt a little low in the beginning.
Harry=Not her best performance. But can feel that she feels it. Needs to make the performance even more heightened needs to keep push it even further.
Keith=Confidence is where attitude comes in. Half way through the song she was rocking.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yeah. It wasn't her best, but by no means her worst.

Alex Preston
(Too Close-Alex Clare)
He makes this performance much more acoustic and a little less hard as the original can get. He was really into the performance he was very focused. He has a lot of focus on his guitar playing rather than major band accompaniment.  It was kind of a groovy performance. I loved the way he ended the song with a very cool run. This was a really solid cool performance. B+
Harry=The audience and him really likes him because he spends so much time deconstructing and reconstructing the song. Loved that he changes things up every week. 
Keith=Occasionally he misses a little weight in his performance. Needs to command the phrasing a little more.
Jennifer=So unique. Only concern is that he switches things up so much that he needs to create more moments.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. They want him to make more moments, but they liked this particular performance.

 Jena Irene
(Heartbreaker-Pat Benatar)
This song is very in the vain of what Jena has done all season, she has done some outstanding versions of songs by Heart and a couple other 80s rock bands and Pat Benatar is right in the middle of all that.This was a very smart song choice right in Jena's wheelhouse. You can't ever say that Jena doesn't put it all out there, she goes full throttle and then there was a moment that the band faded and her voice just pierced through, that was really cool. This might have been a safe kind of choice for Jena but she killed it. B+
Keith=There's no question about her vocal ability and voice and great range. Didn't have a full energetic release within the song. The moves weren't born with the music not just choreography.
Jennifer=Really feel that it was a controlled performance. Loved seeing her give a commanding performance.
Harry=Vocally it was 10 out of 10. Wish the feeling would drive her to do whatever she sings. There was a bit of a disconnect.Jena tells him it's her heels, he tells her to take them off.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. They felt there was a bit of a disconnect with her performance I thought it was pretty darn good all around.

Top 4 Perform: Dedications

 Caleb Johnson
(Travelin Band-Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Caleb dedicates this song to his band back at home. Caleb really got into this performance. He went way high, went crazy on stage and really rocked out. He was really comfortable on stage and just was working with the band and got really into the performance. Really good. A-
Jennifer=That song is so in his wheelhouse. Tough to beat.
Harry=Great job. Really fantastic.
Keith=No coincidence that when the band got going Caleb got going. Excellent.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. Caleb is a tough act to follow.

Jessica Meuse
(So What-Pink)
Jessica dedicated this song to those that didn't believe in her. This is a really fun song and I like the song choice, it has built in attitude. Jessica is without her guitar she just rocks out. There is a part of the song where it gets more mellow and then really hard really quickly and Jessica did the transition really well. This was by far a better performance from last performance but she probably can do even better and has in the past. B+
Harry=Thinks she is terrific has a unbelievable song, but these weren't the best song choices for her.
Keith=Totally agrees with Harry. Song didn't suit her. Has an incredible voice. Needs to find a better song for her.
Jennifer=Hoping that her third song kills. Loves the song but not for her.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Not really. They really disliked the song choice, I didn't mind it too much, I felt it was missing something but I liked the attitude and rock vibe that was coming from her.

Jena Irene
(Bad Romance-Lady Gaga)
This song was dedicated to her fans.  Gena starts the song on one knee and sorta was cool. She made this song more electronica and very current. She really didn't sing this song in the same style or beat or range as the Lady Gaga version, and I love that it's so different. I didn't see much wrong with her performance but this one was really good. There were a couple pitches issues, but this was a really high octane performance. A-
Keith=Liked that she changed the melody for the chorus because it allowed the whole song to be potent and powerful. Really really good.
Jennifer=A force to be reckoned with. Gives Caleb a run for his money for big performances. Didn't like that she changed the melody too much. Came out of the song right at the end.
Harry=Nice job. Really strong. Interesting choice not to go too high if it makes her sound like she is yelling.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. It was a bit of a mixed review from the judges. I liked that she changed the song to make it her own.

Alex Preston
(I'm Yours-Jason Mraz)
He dedicated this song to his girlfriend and fans and Jason Mraz. Alex doesn't do too much to change this song, he sings it pretty straight. Alex's voice is really pleasant and this song keeps him in a certain pocket and just let's him stay right in tune and on the money the whole time. Not exciting but solid enough. B
Jennifer=Love watching him do what he does. Worries about him in the competition. He didn't take the song in a different direction. Needs to surprise us in some way.
Harry=Except for certain chords he sang it almost like Jason's tune. Wanted to hear something different. Needs to put his Alex spin on every song. His strength is deconstructing songs.
Keith=It's tough being a contestant on the show. The last bit of the song was really good and was liberated but that was more towards the end.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. It was a solid performance but it was almost a straight cover. Nothing too exciting.

Top 4 Perform:Make-Up Songs

Caleb Johnson
(Maybe I'm Amazed-Wings)
 I like that this was still a rock song and he had his flair for doing certain notes but it was mellow at moments and he did a good job with that as well. He made the song a little more current and did a few things to the song to make it really fit everything he has been doing. I liked that it allowed Caleb to try different things out and prove that he isn't just one thing. Keith and Jennifer give him a standing ovation. A-
Harry=Nice to hear him sing softly. That was absolutely phenomenal.
Keith=Clapping for Harry's critique. That song is killer. Nailed it.
Jennifer=Kept pushing him to sing a slow song. This was right in his comfort zone. Best performance since the beginning. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. Caleb did a wonderful job tonight. I don't know if it was his best, but it certainly is up there.

Jessica Meuse
(You and I-Lady Gaga)
I liked this version from Jessica a lot. This song has been done really well by Haley Reinhardt a couple years ago, but this was different because while Haley was on the piano Jessica is up there with her guitar. Jessica nailed every line, every emotion and sang the song just beautifully. Her best performance of the night. A-
Keith=That was the perfect song choice, vocally and melodically. Heard her. Killer.
Jennifer=It was perfect for her. Highlighted the great strengths in her voice.
Harry=Came out swinging. That was perfectly suited for her and she killed it. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. She killed the song and I'm glad the judges appreciated her.

Jena Irene
(Can't Help Falling In Love-Elvis Presley)
Jena is back on the piano, somewhere where she hasn't been in a number of weeks, it's nice to see her there. She delivers this song in a much more Ingrid Michaelson way then the Elvis Presley version and that's a great choice. It was very slowed down and focused solely on her voice, which is very on point and pretty. She hit some notes just beautifully. It was really lovely.  Her vocals and performance couldn't have been any better. Keith and Jennifer give her a very very deserved standing ovation and Jennifer even gives Jena a hug and a kiss. A+
Jennifer=So lucky to be present for this song. She reinvented that song. So moved. It was so beautiful. That was something else. So glad to witness that.
Harry=That took such immense courage to perform that song in any way. Rare to see something as great as that. It was incredible.
Keith=She is a species on herself. She is so unique. It was spell-binding. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100%. That might have been the performance of the season by anyone. Jena really killed that song and woke it from the dead and killed it again. So ridiculously good. 

Alex Preston
I love the song choice, it's never been done on the show before. Alex is again in the middle of the stage with his guitar, I don't think he has ever done anything differently. This song really suits Alex's voice and style. It was a bounce back performance from his previous one. A- 
Harry=He needed that last performance. People remember the last performance more than anything else. Don't know who is going home tomorrow.
Keith=Has a particular vulnerability perfectly suited for that song.
Jennifer=Perfect song, sang it beautifully. Needed that tonight. Integral to this competition.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. He needed that performance, given that his other 2 were good but not outstanding. I don't think this was as good as Jena or Caleb's last performance but it was still really good.

Bottom 2/Going Home Predictions
1. Jessica Meuse
2. Alex Preston

Going Home
Jessica Meuse. I think her last song was just beautiful but I think Alex has had a few more great performances, including the last performance of the night. Maybe if she had the last slot then I'd say something different, but his last performance mixed with her mixed reviews on 2 of the 3 songs makes me feel she is going, and I think that the judges are leaning that way as well.

Final Thoughts

*Out of the 12 performances I'd say more than half were just outstanding, a few were really very good and there were a couple of just decent performances. Jena's version of "Can't Help Falling In Love" was so beautiful. Caleb killed it on "Maybe I'm Amazed". Jessica did a fantastic job on "You and I" and Alex did a great job on "Yellow". Everyone had at least one fantastic performance. Jena delivered on all 3 performances, Caleb on 2 performances and Jessica and Alex on 1 and 1/2.

*I would be remiss if I didn't mention Caleb's insensitive remarks a few days ago during an interview. I guess in response to fans that bother him on twitter he called them "retards". That was really bad on him, he has since apologized, but you do have to wonder if those remarks will cost him at all. Based on performance he shouldn't be going home tomorrow, but if people are upset at him then he could be in some danger. 

*I am getting tired of watching the judges dance in their seats and rock out, I want the camera focused on the contestant. I don't get why that's a challenging thing for the director.

*Tomorrow we will find out the Top 3, they will be able to get the hometown visits and get a parade and all that. Should be interesting to see who gets to go back home for a good reason and who just goes home.

That's it. Come on back here tomorrow for the results of the next eliminated contestant. I don't believe there will be any twists, but ya never do know. So until then, see ya!

1 comment:

  1. I am trying so hard to be objective with the final 4 but am getting frustrated on some of the bias with the judges. First, I am a musician and do not think that Jena did anything spectacular with her final performance. However, Jennifer decides to go bananas showing again her extreme push for Jena to win (blatant alert). Jena's song is very slow and very easy to ad lib like Jena did - nothing too special there and probably the easiest for her to prepare for. Second, all of Alex's performances are sounding the same lately and that's simply because it's his style and all he knows (put on his childhood length pants, stand there, squirm, and sing slow/medium tempo songs with his guitar). The judges commented on his 1st two performances that he needs to do something to stand out. Then, his 3rd performance which sounds the same as the 1st two gets rave reviews. Very odd. Oh well, Caleb is great as always and Jessica gets extra criticism, as always. I think Jessica will go home unless an unexpected surprise that Alex does. Jena and Caleb are the two better performers and are completely safe.