Tor's Take

Where I put things that I think about stuff.

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 7

This week each Idol had to pick from of list of songs chosen by the other Idols. There was no sabotage unless you count picking obvious songs that showed zero growth for the majority of the contestants sabotage. However, amidst the expected, was our first Idol moment of the season so there was that.

Caleb Johnson - “Family Tree” - He struggles when he’s not belting so the song didn’t get going until the first verse ended. He looks like what would have happened to the kid from Problem Child if his parents had had enough of him and kicked him out of the house in the middle of the movie. “I’m John Ritter and I said get out!” It bothers me that he’s growing on me. He’s probably the third most deserving of the Idol crown (Jena and Alex) and I don’t want him to be. Damn my open mind!

Jessica Meuse - “Gunpowder And Lead” - I wish I hadn’t seen Skylar Laine do this song 2 seasons ago. That would have made this bearable. She seems incapable of showing attitude. The couple of sassy head bobs were an attempt at something she heard girls do when they show ‘tude. It didn’t work and that wind machine was set to “weather intern on first storm assignment.” How has she not been in the bottom yet?

CJ Harris - “Gravity” - He did a really good job this week but it wasn’t much different than the original. Singing with passion is not a signature style. There’s nothing exceptional about him no matter how much I want there to be. How do you go 2 months without seeing your kid? I’m actually asking. I’ve been trapped with mine for almost 4 years and I don’t know where to begin.  

Dexter Roberts - “Muckalee Creek Water” - This was fine. I don’t know the song so I don’t know what he did differently. The hand gestures at the guitar bothered me. He barely played the guitar. What was it even doing there? Does he like heavy things hanging from his neck? Does that give him comfort like Flava Flav with the clocks? Next week, because they can’t all go home, he needs to perform without the guitar. He can hold a 6-foot sub sandwich. It would be just as useful.

Alex Preston - “The A-Team” - He sounds so much like Ed Sheeran and Jason Mraz that he only does a good job instead a great job when he tackles them. Though, he probably got a page of 3 Jason Mraz songs and 3 Ed Sheeran songs so there was nothing he could do this week. Phillip Phillips was Dave Matthews until Top 3 week when he did “We’ve Got Tonight” and subsequently, “Home.” Alex is good but he needs one of those moments to elevate himself.

Sam Woolf - “Sail Away” - This was his second David Gray song of the season. Even though his performances are getting better, he’s still finding ways to be boring. Impressive. Did he just lip sync the real song? It sounded so much like it. Loved the Life Aquatic makeover though with the red hat and the artsy background. Adding Wes Anderson to Sam is a nice way of seeing if two borings make an exciting. (Nope.)

Jena Irene - “Creep” - Best performance of the season. First moment of the season. She needs to win!

Bottom 2:

  1. Jessica Meuse
  2. CJ Harris

Should Go Home: Jessica

Will Go Home: CJ

Filed under american idol season 13 top 7 ryan seacrest randy jackson harry connick jr keith urban jennifer lopez jessica meuse cj harris jena irene alex preston caleb johnson dexter roberts sam woolf

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 8 (Again)

It’s 80s week which means a lot of terrible, fit-the-decade styling for the contestants. Nice to see David Cook mentoring. He’s one of my favorite all-time Idol contestants. Sam was saved last week which upsets me less because he didn’t deserve it and more because I have to write about 8 people this week instead of 7. I’m tired and writing about 7 people would make me go to bed faster than writing about 8. (I guess I could have skipped that sentence and gone to bed earlier.*)

*And also that one.

Jena Irene - “I Love Rock & Roll” - She should have picked a different song. Sometimes experiments work (last week) and sometimes they don’t (this week). The piano was nice at the beginning but then the band came in louder than Jena was singing. This would have been a good time to do that cool “pulling out the in ear” thing that lets you know an Idol contestant is right on the verge of figuring it all out. “Did you see her pull her ear thing out? She looked so professional.” Maybe next week.

Dexter Roberts - “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” - Dexter went back to what he knows, Friday-night-at-the-bar jamming. No sense being good two weeks in a row. That’s a lot to strive for. I’ll give my thoughts in Dexter-speak. Grms nobba burv ervay donk sumpin ferk snobbidoo yomma. But I’m only saying that because I watched it three times and I noticed those things.

Malaya Watson - “Through The Fire” - There were six notes that sounded pretty good there. Otherwise, it was brutal. She really goes for it whether she hits the notes or not. She has no fear. Her outfit almost distracted me from her vocal. It looked like she stole Santa’s pants in an effort to sing the carol that ruined Christmas. Too harsh? I’ve had a rough day. Give me a cookie and maybe my heart will grow three sizes.

Jessica Meuse - “Call Me” - Hey, she smiled. She can check that off the list. She really just doesn’t know how to enjoy herself. When you ask her what she wants for her birthday, does she answer, “I don’t know, maybe a sweet form of nourishment and an object I don’t already have. Is that what humans say?” I think I’d rather her go back to phoning in a performance over this trying thing she’s been doing lately.

Sam Woolf - “Time After Time” - I think the save shocked him into trying harder this week. It was the best he’s been. He still has a hesitancy to him. He constantly looks down at his hands like they might disappear. That’s it! He’s from the future and he’s trying not to make too big of an impact on the past. He doesn’t want to stop his parents from getting together. That means his grandparents are really his great-great-great grandparents. So crazy. It’s also nice that he and his however-many-greats grandma have the same haircut. I bet they use Gladys over in Building L. She does all the dos in the community.

Alex Preston - “Every Breath You Take” - That was really really good. He took this universally understood to be creepy song and made it adorable. I don’t really like the original and he changed it up in a way that made me really like it. He does sound the same every week but he sounds like Alex so I don’t see why that is a problem. Hint: It’s not.

CJ Harris - “Free Fallin’” - The low notes didn’t sound right but the emotion was there. That and $5 will get you FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS which he can use to get some gum at the airport. Don’t want those ears to hurt on the plane ride home this week. It’s been too long for him. Even his girlfriend wasn’t there for the cameras to cut to so we can see how much we should love him through her watery eyes. I think this is it for him. Too bad.

Caleb Johnson - “Faithfully” - Coming out of the dark, his silhouette looked like he was going to kill teens in the 80s more than sing in the 80s. It was a subdued Caleb and it unfortunately worked. I hate that he’s doing what he needs to do but I guess it’s nice that he listened to the judges about doing a softer song. Shows he’s not as full of himself as I was sensing. He even stayed away from those terrible, dismissive Thank Yous. He’s making a push and I don’t like it.

Bottom 3:

  1. Malaya Watson
  2. CJ Harris
  3. Jessica Meuse

Should Go Home: Malaya

Will Go Home: CJ

Filed under american idol season 13 top 8 ryan seacrest harry connick jr keith urban jennifer lopez randy jackson david cook jena irene alex preston cj harris caleb johnson malaya watson jessica meuse sam woolf dexter roberts

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 8

Tonight the Idols got to show how far they’ve come by re-performing their audition songs. Everyone sounded so much better. It’s almost like being backed by professional musicians and singers makes a difference. This was actually a really good show top to bottom and save might have to be used.

Jessica Meuse - “Blue Eyed Lie” - In her audition, they made a big deal about the way she moved her shoulder while strumming. It looked like she was really trying to do the shoulder thing at the beginning. It’s what the people wanted. Her booties looked more like black socks an old man would wear with shorts in Boca Raton. She sounded great. All it took was her own song for her not to seem bored. Good thing next week’s theme is “The Songbook of Jessice Meuse.” Late April Fools!

CJ Harris - “Soul Shine” - He’s a good singer and a nice guy but that’s not enough for a Top 7 Idol. Watching his wife sing along with tears in her eyes every week is something I’m going to miss. They must love each other so much. Like wolves. FYI - Wolves mate for life. Also, wolves will kill any girl that Ryan brings up to hug CJ. Did you see her face? Scary.

Alex Preston and Jena Irene - “Just Give Me A Reason” - Alex was dressed like he washed up naked on the Gilligan’s Island island and the castaways gave him whatever they weren’t using. Jena won the duet. It ended really good but the start was pretty bad. I loved that Jena cuffed her pants to look more cohesive. Right, Michael Kors?

Sam Woolf - “Lego House” - We’ve established that he’s boring. I thought for sure they surrounded him with a lot of lamps so he could so some really funny slapstick clumsy thing and break them all. Then we’d laugh and say, “That Sam’s alright!” I bet he gets really mad that only his grandfather can pull a quarter from behind his ear. “Sam, your ear is bleeding. It’s just a magic trick. Next time, ask me for a quarter. I’ll give you one. Now get a band-aid.” Anyway, he sounded fine but he also sounded the least progressed of the contestants.

Jessica Meuse and Caleb Johnson - “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” - It was ok. It looked like the most fun Jessica has ever had. That’s why she barely smiled. What did those dive bars do to you, Jessica?  

Malaya Watson - “Ain’t No Way” - I have a hard time looking at her when she sings songs that she’s good at. Big passionate songs. Diva songs. She gets lost in them and makes stank faces with no regard for vanity. It’s admirable but she looks like a killer is chasing her and she just needs you to open the door. Or like she should be holding a sign saying “The World Ends Tomorrow! I Know The Future!” There is such a thing as too much passion.

Dexter Roberts - “One Mississippi” - It was actually very good. He looked dapper. It was also nice of him to point out how good Season 8’s Alison Iraheta was on the harmonies. He made the largest leap back into the competition tonight. I think he might even avoid the Silver Stools tomorrow.

Malaya Watson and Sam Woolf - “Lucky” - This performance was the equivalent of an 8th grade dance. Sam was acting like girls are scary and Malaya was acting like she went to American Pie’s Band Camp.

Jena Irene - “Rolling In The Deep” - That was the closest thing to an Idol moment that there has been all season. It was really really close to being a moment. I felt like the middle went on a little too long. Otherwise, it had that magic that we get once or twice a season. Jena is really making a case to win. I just hope her confidence doesn’t turn to cockiness. It’s a fine line.

Dexter Roberts and CJ Harris - “Alright” - A lot of denim. Even CJ’s wife didn’t sing. That should be all you need to know.

Caleb Johnson - “Chain Of Fools” - My wife can’t look at him. She closes her eyes when he’s onscreen. Caleb has been known to cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Talk to your doctor about Caleb. Caleb is not for everyone. Stop living in a world without terrible 80s rock. Try Caleb. As for his performance, it was not great. When is the chorus the bad part of a song? Why is he so popular?

Alex Preston - “Fairytales” - This song is so good. He reminds me a lot of Phillip Phillips. Now he just needs to find his “We’ve Got Tonight” performance to clinch the American Idol title. Best of the night.

Bottom 3:

  1. Sam Woolf
  2. CJ Harris
  3. Malaya Watson

Should Go Home - CJ

Will Go Home - CJ (Besides Sam, anyone else gets saved)

Filed under american idol season 13 top 8 ryan seacrest harry connick jr keith urban jennifer lopez randy jackson jessica meuse cj harris sam woolf alex preston jena irene caleb johnson dexter roberts malaya watson

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 9

It’s “I’m With The Band” night on Idol which means the band gets to be on the stage with the performers instead of next to the stage with the performers. I’m guessing it was supposed to encourage the Idols to unleash their inner rock star lead singers but it played more like a platform to get more votes for Caleb. Most of the performers barely acted like the band was 10 feet closer to them than usual. Poor theme.

Alex Preston - “Don’t Speak” - The cuffed pants are back this week! I know he had to prove to us that he could do it without them for a week. Cuffed pants can become a crutch. But it’s good to have those ankle knobs back on our screens. Glad there was nothing true about those rumors I made up that one of Sam’s crazy female fans took out Alex’s ankles. Anyway, the opening was really cool with guitar tapping percussion. I also liked the use of Mrazian scatting throughout. It was a good performance.

Majesty Rose - “Shake It Out” - This is a great song and she pulled it off while dressed like a chic diner waitress. In honor of that, the rest of this critique will be done diner style. It was good for her to 86 the fear from last week. Throw some awesome tambourine grooving in the alley and you have a performance as slick as axle grease. Hamburger like a hockey puck, Majesty!

Dexter Roberts - “Boondocks” - I think this was good but I don’t know how much of that is attributed to the song and how much is attributed to Dexter. Based on how the rest of the season has gone, it’s probably not Dexter. He took a chance last week and it didn’t pay off so he went back to karaoke. You know the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, stop! Just stop it, you failure! Give up! Sing a country song exactly like the original, Dexter!” It’s a pretty specific saying.

Malaya Watson - “The Long And Winding Road” - If I am her, I would get the braces removed. You can straighten your teeth later after you compete in a singing contest. It’s not a visual thing. She sings so well but some pronunciations are off (because of braces) which is distracting. She has a real chance to win especially if they stop styling her like the cat lady on The Simpsons.

Sam Woolf - “Hey There Delilah” - The opening was good but the rest of the performance was Sam’s usual boring. He doesn’t sing with any feelings. It’s too clinical. He’s in trouble. Now, let’s talk about the Hawaiian shirt. Was this to “fun” him up like he’s the CEO trying to show his employees he can let loose while on a retreat? You’re still wearing Italian leather shoes, Mr. Woolf! We see right through you!

Jessica Meuse - “Rhiannon” - There was a lot going on with her outfit. The zebra pantsuit was awful. Her flamingo earrings were weird. Second Simpsons Reference - She’s like Mr. Burns in the episode where he wants to turn the puppies into a fur tuxedo. The one where she wear he sings “See My Vest.” As for her performance, singing without the guitar forced her to sing in the moment a little. She didn’t phone it in like the last few weeks. Too bad a lion mauled her at the end. Easy mistake.

CJ Harris - “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” - The opening was really good. The chorus was a little rough when he pushed harder. Every week they talk to him about staying on pitch and he doesn’t do it. Maybe he gets too excited. Maybe it’s the weird Forest Whitaker eye thing he has going on. Whatever it is, he’s going home either tonight or next week.

Caleb Johnson - “Dazed & Confused” - I’m not going to talk about the performance which was a little unnerving. He’s a great singer but he’s not sexy like JLo suggested. He’s Meatloaf 2.0. Tell me you can’t see him doing anything for love except that. Or finding paradise by the light of the dashboard. Is the world ready for the second coming of The Loaf? A resounding Y………..No.

Jena Irene - “Bring Me To Life” - I find myself not writing notes when she performs which is a good thing. She’s picking really good songs right now and has to be a frontrunner. It’s exciting to watch her. Plus, she deserves credit for following Caleb on a night tailored to him and after the praise he received. Favorite of the night! Good job, Jabben!

BOTTOM 3:

  1. Dexter Roberts
  2. CJ Harris
  3. Majesty Rose

Should Go Home: Dexter

Will Go Home: Majesty (and possibly saved)

Filed under american idol season 13 top 9 ryan seacrest keith urban randy jackson harry connick jr jennifer lopez alex preston majesty rose malaya watson dexter roberts sam woolf jena irene caleb johnson cj harris jessica meuse

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 10

The Idols had to pick a Top 10 song from the last 4 years. It allowed for a lot of songs that the audience knew and could sing just off the beat to.

MK Nobilette - “Perfect” - She put pink in her hair. She should have put pink in her mouth. I didn’t mean it like that. There’s no passion to her delivery. This was like a shy high schooler doing Pink at the Talent Show. Her friends tried to talk her out of it. The cute basketball player that says hi to her for some reason is in the front row. The mic makes a feedback noise. It’s not worth commenting on the messed-up lyrics. No matter how much you root for her, at this point, she’s not progressing enough to warrant staying around.

Dexter Roberts - “Cruise” - I don’t think the slowed-down beginning worked but at least he tried something. He sings like I would imagine Boomhauer from King of the Hill would sing. I think I made out “cruise.” Was he saying, “cruise?” It was probably “cruise.” That is the name of the song. I’m going to give him another week for changing the song a little.

Jena Irene - “Clarity” - With her lace-patch/bedazzled jeans cuffed above hot pink Doc Martens, she was a fun hat away from being Six on “Blossom.” There’s no reason she should be anywhere but visiting her hometown in this season’s penultimate episode. She is confident and getting better each week. How good was that “GET YOUR GLOWSTICKS UP!” scream? It made me wish I had a glowstick to get up.

Alex Preston - “Story Of My Life” - Another great performance from him. He sped the song up a bit and took some liberties with the vocal. It was really nice. What made it more impressive was that he did it all without his pants cuffed up. How does he sing in tune without a flow of air over his ankles? Scientists will study this for years to come. Mark my words.

Malaya Watson - “When I Was Your Man” - They style her like Robin Givens on Head of the Class. She sang this very well. It wasn’t full blast belting like she’s been doing. There was restraint. I just wish she had moved from her chair. She stayed seated the whole time. Does she have gout? Doesn’t seem fair for someone so young to have gout and braces.

Caleb Johnson - “The Edge Of Glory” - Schadenfreude. He did not seem like he wanted to sing this song. Letting out a rock wail every few bars did not save it. My only fear is that the poor feedback will actually penetrate the massive ego Caleb has and force him to work harder and last longer on the show. When he does go, I hope his farewell montage is just 30 seconds of his insincere thank yous.

CJ Harris - “Invisible” - This was the best he’s looked. Miles ahead of that Canadian Mountie hat look from last week. It’s too bad his sound didn’t match the look. It was rough. I don’t know the song but it seemed like a strange melody. It was staged like it was going to be an Idol moment. Any time the producers dust off the violinists and let them interact with other people, you expect something great. It just didn’t happen. Could be in trouble.

Producers: We need strings for a song tonight.

Violinist: Can I call my family now or get some food?

Producers: You’re out. We’ll make it work with 4 violins.

Jessica Meuse - “Pumped Up Kicks” - She swayed back and forth the whole song like she had to go to the bathroom. Can singing be meandering? It’s like she types the end of the song into her navigation system, picks the fastest route, and ignores all suggestions for landmarks and scenery. She sings all the words, plays all the notes, but there’s nothing enjoyable about it. “You have arrived at the end of the song, Jessica.”

Majesty Rose - “Wake Me Up” - The arrangement was really cool. She does really well with stripped down, quiet songs. If you looked up “ethereal” in the dictionary, you would find a definition that describes Majesty. There wouldn’t be a picture because that would be a silly thing to find in a dictionary. Even if the dictionary insists on starting to put pictures in place of definitions, why would they go with Majesty first? She’s probably not even going to win. Though I do hope she lasts a long time.

Sam Woolf - “We Are Young” - It wasn’t great but it was better than he’s been in weeks. There was a slight attempt at excitement. It was like James Taylor ordered tea and the waitress brought him coffee. Then James Taylor took a sip of that coffee, spit it out, and felt the effects of that coffee residue. “This is going to keep me awake for minutes! I should write a song about being awake!” Sam will be safe and have a chance to update his software to project more emotion next week.

BOTTOM 3:

  1. MK Nobilette
  2. CJ Harris
  3. Dexter Roberts

Should Go Home: Dexter
Will Go Home: MK

Filed under american idol season 13 top 10 ryan seacrest randy jackson harry connick jr keith urban jennifer lopez mk nobilette dexter roberts jena irene alex preston malaya watson jessica meuse cj harris majesty rose sam woolf caleb johnson

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 11

Tonight’s theme was either “Songs from the Movies” or “Idols Insulting Idols Via Tremendously Cruel Impressions.” A strong majority did well on the first theme but everyone rocked the second one. Teenage mouthwear? Make fun of it! Heartfelt life goals? You suck! Regional way of speaking? Burn her! I don’t know what the producers were thinking but this went about as badly as the live results check-ins.

Sam Woolf - “Come Together” - This song is supposed to be angry and delivered with force and style. He doesn’t have that. I think he’s spent too much time living with his grandparents in their retirement community. There’s nothing threatening about him. He’s a good boy. This performance should come with your choice of soup or salad, a fountain beverage, and choice of pudding for $12.99 until 6pm.

Jessica Meuse - “The Sound of Silence” - The stylists are slowly turning her into Snooki. If they can dress her guitar like JWoww and turn the clock back to 2010, she could win the whole thing. For the second week in a row, she has done a song she plays every night in whatever Alabama bar she has a show at. And she played it with the same enthusiasm of someone who has done a song hundreds of times. Even Counting Crows make it seem like they enjoy playing “Mr. Jones” every concert and how can that be true?

CJ Harris - “Can’t You See” - There was a nice grit to his voice. He sounded really great. The holding of the “Ohhhhhhhh” on the chorus did it for me. It wasn’t even distracting that he was dressed like a park ranger. That tells you a lot about how powerful a performance it was. Maybe next week he can try to move us while wearing a Mr. Met costume.

Dexter Roberts - “Sweet Home Alabama” - This was a fun song, huh? The answer is no. When it comes to this song, I’d rather just not listen to the original. Thank you very much. Adding “Roll Tide Roll” to the chorus does not make it your own. It makes it terrible. I’m not sure why people are voting for him. He’s like every other counRoll Tide Rolltry singer out there. See? All that was was distracting.

Ben Briley - “Bennie and the Jets” - Ben was dressed like he should be answering the door to Oz. And his falsettos belonged in Munchkinland. So he was presenting a painful Baumian territory dichotomy. My favorite of the country boys had a big misstep this week. This was the song that catapulted Haley Reinhart from middle of the pack to potential winner. Maybe Ben thought that could happen for him. It’s nice to think sometimes.

Majesty Rose - “Let It Go” - This song is impossible to sing if you sing it the way it was meant to be sung. But this song was arranged like my 3-year-old had control of my phone and was skipping randomly ahead with her finger EVEN THOUGH I TOLD HER TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT SHE’S DOING. NOW WE HAVE TO GO BACK AND LISTEN TO IT AGAIN FROM THE BEGINNING! WHY!?!? Majesty is heading in the wrong direction for someone who looked like a lock for the finale.

Caleb Johnson - “Skyfall” - I really wish he would stop saying “Thank you” like that. It’s pretty arrogant. Unfortunately, it was a really good song choice and he sounded great. This is like when I find myself bopping along to a Chris Brown song. It’s not fair to enjoy something by someone you don’t like. It hurts my heart. Caleb hurt my heart tonight.

MK Nobilette - “To Make You Feel My Love” - She looks like the Human Torch if he was going to a fabulous dinner party. “Mr. Fantastic is parking the car and the Invisible Woman is around here somewhere. <Chuckle>” Like most MK performances, it was pleasant and nice but not great. She needs to have a moment soon and I’m worried she’s not going to get another chance. I think she’s in trouble.

Alex Preston - “Falling Slowly” - I liked what he did with it. If he was going to have any chance of success with this song, he needed to perform it differently than the Kris Allen (best one) and the Lee DeWyze/Crystal Bowersox duet (pretty solid) predecessors. I look forward to him every week even if he looks like if a wax museum had to make a Frankie Muniz.

Jena Irene - “Decode” - This was the performance of the night and I think if the band didn’t overpower Jorna on the chorus, it could have been the performance of the season. Jembi excels when she does dark and brooding piano rock. Now we get to see how popular she is. If Jangle is in the Bottom 3 tonight, she probably can’t do anything to make it past the Top 8.

Malaya Watson - “I Am Changing” - I’m glad it wasn’t “And I Am Telling You.” I know that’s going to be sung at some point this season. It’s mandatory for a televised singing competition. But we made it another week thanks to Boom Boom Braceface and her Pipes of Power. She’s like a parade that’s all emergency vehicles. Sometimes it’s ok to space out the blaring sirens with a depressed high school sports team that doesn’t want to be on the float. On the plus side, she hit all her screaming notes.

BOTTOM 3:

  1. MK Nobilette
  2. Ben Briley
  3. Majesty Rose (to scare her back to frontrunner)

Should Go Home: Dexter (he should go home but he’s popular)

Will Go Home: MK

Filed under american idol season 13 top 11 ryan seacrest randy jackson harry connick jr keith urban jennifer lopez sam woolf jessica meuse cj harris dexter roberts caleb johnson majesty rose mk nobilette ben briley alex preston malaya watson jena irene

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 12

Tonight’s theme for the Top 12 was “Home.” They were meant to pick a song that represents home for them, whether it is about their town, their family, their friends, or just comfort. Based on most of the performances, these singers must hate their homes. Like really hate them. There was one or two performances that even hinted at someone who deserves to win. Not a good night.

On a different note, Ryan told JLo that she looked “fly, girl.” JLo was forced to bite into a deviled egg with a face that resembled someone eating a live cockroach on Fear Factor. Keith sang passionately out of tune to prove a point. And Harry hated everything. Even, Simon Cowell would have taken his foot off the criticism gas at some point. Unfortunately, Harry wasn’t wrong.

Jena Irene - “Suddenly I See” - This is two weeks in a row that Jena was not great. Dressed like every female in a Kevin Smith movie, Jena put on her happy face and tried to spread joy to the world. Unfortunately, Jena’s voice is not made for chipper. It is made for brooding and haunting. This is like seeing Skeletor in a tutu. It’s fine if that’s what Skeletor wants to do but He-Man is not going to take him seriously when he threatens to take over the world. It doesn’t match up and Jena is running out of time to prove that she’s as good as I think she is.

Alex Preston - “I Don’t Wanna Be” - This song has been done every season on Idol since it was released. All the way back to Bo Bice in Season 4. That’s a lot of covers. Up until now, Alex has picked lesser known songs and it has worked for him. This was a misstep right down to his “This Is How Successful People In The Near Future Will Dress According To 80s Movies” blue suit and giant white shoes. Stop trying to make calf-high cuffs happen. It’s barely working for Blaine on Glee and he’s amazing.

Jessica Meuse - “White Flag” - They curled up her hair and made her look like a realistically-proportioned Bratz doll. She actually did look good though. The singing was a different story. After her major jump in the ranks last week, this was a let down. She missed, by my ear, every note. There was not a single moment of this that was pleasant to the ear. There’s going to be a lot of “white flag” puns and they are all appropriate. We all went down with this ship. She tied us all to the boat and we couldn’t surface. It just got darker as we descended. No hope as the pressure from the water crushed our bodies to jelly. Pitchy.

Dexter Roberts - “Lucky Man” - He trains labs and they just had puppies. This fits as he seems like the kind of guy who would love and hold a puppy just a bit too tightly. The backwards trucker hat bothered me. His stage presence bothered me. Everything he does bothers me at this point. I feel like this was a good performance but my heart has already written him off. Not fair to him but what are you going to do? Vote for an alleged puppy killer? If that’s what you want to do.

Emily Piriz - “Let’s Get Loud” - This was terrible. It was not even good karaoke. I’m not sure who had to the harder job. Was it JLo pretending to enjoy someone butchering her own song? Or was it Keith who had to groove along next to JLo like he really enjoyed her song? Is it on your iPod, Keith? Did JLo steal your phone and put it on there? Lock your phone, Keith. Use the thumbprint thing. There’s no need to talk about Emily here. It was as if she didn’t bother performing tonight.

Caleb Johnson - “Working Man” - I don’t like Rush at all but the fact that they are his favorite band of all time makes total sense. Rush feels like a cocky, overconfident rock band that no one wanted to tell to tone it down. He is the same way but at least Rush had an original form of cockiness. Do you think the stylists try to change him and he reverts back like Kirsten Dunst like in Interview with a Vampire? His skeeze can’t be removed. It’s eternal. Also, his thank yous are dismissive. Take a note. Try to better yourself.

MK Nobilette - “Drops of Jupiter” - She has 4 moms! Each mom only has to watch her for 6 hours a day. That leaves each mom 18 hours to themselves. That’s an awesome ratio. I’d much rather talk about this than her performance. She’s not comfortable on stage though she’s trying. The subtle look down at her guitar to watch her hand change chords. The awkward hand gestures around her unplayed guitar like she was flagging down a passing ship while clinging to a buoy. It’s not there yet and she doesn’t have much time to figure it out.

CJ Harris - “Waiting On The World To Change” - This was how I wanted Dexter to dress. There’s a classy way to do “down home country boy” and then there’s what they put Dexter in. CJ did nothing different with the song. It was a John Mayer copy without being as good as John Mayer. CJ is a nice guy and we all know nice guys finish 11th. (I’ll give him another week.)

Sam Woolf - “Just One” - They gave him a fun hat to undo how boring he is. It was like, “Hey James Taylor, hold this sparkler. Perfect.” He has so much potential but he has yet to put it all together. He’s a good looking kid. He can sing in tune. He can play guitar. His auditions were really good. His grandparents are awesome. I’m rooting for him but he’s James Taylor right now. We already have one of those and he’s been sitting on the shelf at the store for too long.

Malaya Watson - “Take Me To The King” - She talks like Randy Jackson. Same mannerisms and vocal tics. I think she’s Randy’s long lost daughter. I know they showed her dad in the audience but we’ve seen enough episodes of Nashville to know that dads can change in a second. I want credit for this when it breaks. How much can I get from People magazine? That’s gotta be worth 8 bucks and a bag of m&m’s. Her performance was ok. It started off really strong but then ended shouty. I think Lil Dawg is safe, though.

Ben Briley - “Turning Home” - I think of all the country guys (him, Dexter, and CJ), he’s my favorite. He seems like the most musically talented of those guys. This performance was pretty good. Top half of the night easily. He seems fun too. Like someone I’d like to see helping Raylan Givens take down some bad guys. He could be the street smart CI who makes Raylan smirk. Then they get a beer together at some bar. I guess what I’m saying is I’d rather be watching Justified right now.

Majesty Rose - “Fix You” - I really loved this performance. The judges got on her for missing the big notes on the chorus but I loved the attempt. She changed it up in a cool way. Keith spent the whole night preaching that emotion and passion can overcome a pitch problem. Then he didn’t use this opportunity as an example of that. I don’t get it, Keith Urban. She’s my favorite right now.

Bottom 3:

  1. MK Nobilette
  2. CJ Harris
  3. Emily Piriz

Should go home: Emily

Will go home: CJ

Filed under american idol season 13 top 12 jessica meuse jena irene alex preston dexter roberts emily piriz caleb johnson mk nobilette cj harris sam woolf malaya watson ben briley majesty rose ryan seacrest harry connick jr jennifer lopez keith urban randy jackson

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American Idol Season 13 - Top 13

Tonight’s theme was “Song That Defines Them As A Person.” They had to choose a song that represents who they are as an artist. Each performance was preceded by a video intro where the artist was ambushed by a camera and asked to give 5 facts about themselves in 20 seconds. 5 facts about me:

  1. I’ve been recapping Idol for 7 years.
  2. My middle name is the first name of a famous polka singer.
  3. I don’t love ice cream.
  4. I drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.
  5. I wish 5 people were going home tonight.

Dexter Roberts - “Aw Naw” - He said he wanted to pick a fun song. His version of fun must be watching Slingblade drunk and this was his impression of Billy Bob Thornton. There was so much muttering and lack of enunciation. Maybe the song didn’t have actually words. The title doesn’t. Why should the rest? He looks like the nicest bully. He would take your lunch money and then share some of the sandwich you were supposed to buy. Might be safe.

Malaya Watson - “Runaway Baby” - Joshua Ledet did this back before his 40 standing ovations ruined him for me. It’s a hard song. She ran out of breath by the fifth word and Harry Connick, Jr. visible winced when the camera was on him. My wife wanted to know how she can sing with braces. I don’t think the braces go all the way back to her vocal cords but who knows? She might have a terrible orthodontist. It looked like she was wearing a gold medal. I guess she got it for BMXcruciating Singing. BOOM!

Kristen O’Connor - “Beautiful Disaster” - Malaya should have gotten the silver. Kristen was robbed. She sang this song about herself. It was definitely more the latter part of the title. It was horribly out of tune and it could not end fast enough. Her mouth is gigantic. If she inhales too sharply while singing she could swallow the first two rows. In serious trouble. 

Ben Briley - “Folsom Prison Blues” - It was the fast version of an uptempo song. Maybe next week he can do all of “It’s the End of the World (As We Know It)” in under 90 seconds. This is the platform to push yourself. Ben was actually good though that could just be in comparison to the first three terrible performances. I like that they changed his baseball hat to a more fashionable leather baseball hat. A leather baseball hat is hard to pull off. If the Sons of Anarchy guys had a softball team, they would wear leather hats.  

CJ Harris - “Radio” - I wanted to enjoy it as much as his cousin but I did not. There was nothing in that song to shine. Boring can actually be worse than terrible. I’m going to blame Hootie for writing a boring song and hope CJ does something better if he’s back next week. I liked him in the audition rounds. Won’t make it much longer.

MK Nobilette - “Satisfaction” - She definitely has more confidence than in any previous week. That comes from the backwards hat. When she turns it around, it’s like a switch. It gives her that extra boost she needs to sing her way into our hearts. Though I don’t think she turned it far enough because she missed her falsettos. Also, her mom loves her so much. I don’t think anyone’s mom loves them as much as hers.

  • MK - “Mom, why are you crying?”
  • MK’s Mom - “Because you’re acknowledging my existence”

Majesty Rose - “Tightrope” - She’s in my Top 2 right now. She even made me like this weird song. It sounded like an audience participation dance song that the wedding DJ teaches you to do. “Pretty good Tightroping, Aunt Verna!” Another positive - If she goes on to win American Idol, she can take the “Most Popular Gap-Toothed Celebrity” prize from the putrid Michael Strahan. If that happens, the fact that she’s a good singer is gravy.

Jena Irene - “The Scientist” - It’s weird that she’s doing this song without a piano. This is a good piano song. I think it’s cool that she mispronounces “progress” like she mispronounces her own name. She doesn’t seem to know how to use her unique sound in a song she didn’t write. Can she do originals every week? If she makes it to the end, her album can come out on the night of the finale. It won’t give people a chance to forget her like Lee DeWyze.

Alex Preston - “A Beautiful Mess” - He’s using Alex of Alex and Sierra’s guitar. It’s a big statement to have the backing of the ultra-popular X Factor winners. He’s coming in with millions of votes without singing. I’d be surprised if he finished outside the Top 3. I love hearing him sing and the song choice was great. I just didn’t like his cuffed pants. They were cuffed up to midcalf like he was walking through MK’s mom’s puddle of tears.

Jessica Meuse - “The Crow And The Butterfly” - She’s been ok for a few performances. I’m surprised she got here but then she did this and it was fantastic. The only problem was she didn’t move. It’s entirely possible she stepped on a landmine. If that’s true, I’ll bump this up to the best performance of the night. Shout out to the bomb squad for disarming it in 90 seconds. That’s some real Hurt Locker stuff right there.

Emily Piriz - “Glitter In The Air” - My daughter has made me listen to this song just shy of 4000 times in the last few weeks so I know it pretty well. Here are my thoughts: My wife has to rinse the garlic sauce off my daughter’s water chestnuts and baby corn when we get Chinese food because it’s too spicy. That’s what this song was like. All of the flavor was rinsed off. It’s still the song and it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t how it should be. What I’m saying is she sings like wet vegetables.

Sam Woolf - “Unwell” - He’s one of the frontrunners up to this point. He’s really good but I’m worrying that he’s James Taylor good. Nobody disputes that James Taylor is super talented and sings in tune. But he’s soooooo boring. Hey James Taylor? I’ve got a friend? Great! Thanks! Oh you saw fire AND rain? Was this in the same year? Slow down, buddy! I guess I hope Sam changes it up a little.

Caleb Johnson - “Pressure And Time” - He’s our throwback rocker. He comes out in a bedazzled blazer like a Ken doll ambushed by a 5 year old with a glue gun. He looks like if they let one of the Chipmunks (maybe Theodore) join Motley Crue. My favorite part was when they cut to Taylor Hicks in the audience and he sort of nodded once to the beat. Taylor Hicks never stops moving so he was making a conscious effort not to let anyone think he was enjoying this performance. SOUL PATROL! MAINTAIN CONTROL! He needs to do something different to keep people voting for him. This old sound is not going to do it.

BOTTOM 3:

  1. Kristen O’Connor
  2. CJ Harris
  3. Malaya Watson

SHOULD GO HOME: Kristen

WILL GO HOME: Kristen

Filed under american idol season 13 top 13 sam woolf ryan seacrest harry connick jr jennifer lopez keith urban randy jackson caleb johnson emily piriz jessica meuse alex preston jena irene mk nobilette majesty rose cj harris ben briley kristen o'connor malaya watson dexter roberts alex and sierra