Ryan is wearing a nice blue suit with a black tie and a white shirt and white pocket square. JLo is in an ice blue, tight dress whose short sleeves have little gathers at the shoulders. The bodice has shiny nude inserts in the shape of long, skinny triangles angling over her shoulders, pointing in the general direction of her bosom, as though anyone needs a reminder to look there. Her hair is in a wind-blown French braid, and she has blue eye shadow.
The Top 10 will sing any song they like from the Billboard Top 10 lists from 2011 and onward, which means I will probably not recognize a single one. I also don't recognize what nay-nay (or nae-nae) is, though HCJ insinuates that it's not something for polite dinnertime conversation.
The kids all visit Ryan in the radio studio, but except for announcing their song choice and wearing backwards hats, nothing interesting happens there, so I'm going to skip all those parts.
#1. MK will sing Pink's Perfect. Her hair is gelled up in swoopy curves with sparkly red highlight streaks. She's wearing an interesting tee which has flowers toward the neckline and a half of a face toward the hem. Her pants are black on black plaid. MK is more comfortable on the stage than she has been previously, and I really like the quality of her voice, but there is something off about this performance, though I can't quite put my finger on what that is.
Keith: Loves how MK looks, and wants her to loosen up more
JLo: Saw more emotion in that performance than in others
HCJ: Not one of MK's stronger performances
Commercial Note: I am still never ever going to watch Surviving Jack. The ads upset and annoy me all by themselves.
#2. Dexter will sing a song by Florida-Georgia Line. He's wearing a blue Henley whose front hem (and only the front hem) is tucked in behind his belt buckle. I think this is the first time we've seen color on Dexter, and it looks good. He is also not wearing a hat, which I applaud. The song? Hard to tell. It's standard country fare, and Dexter mumbles so much that I can't understand a single word of it. But the audience seems to enjoy it.
JLo: That was... long pause... good
HCJ: Not a good performance, too generic, no joy
Keith: Good song choice but not a great performance
#3. I think that Ryan says that Jena's song is something called Zeg, but it turns out that she's singing Clarity, by Zedd. She's wearing a black and white print belly shirt, and the low-slung, baggy survivors of a Bedazzler explosion at the jeans factory. And pink boots. Her hair is very straight tonight. Whatever this song is about, it involves audience participation in the form of waving glow sticks. The song does not interest me in the least.
HCJ: This song is in Jena's wheelhouse.
Keith: Best performance of the night so far
JLo: Rendered enthusiastic and incoherent
#4. Alex will sing Story of My Life, by One Direction. In the lead-in, the handlers are using a lint roller on Alex's leather jacket, which begs the question: Are there cats in the Nokia Theater? The camera focuses on Alex from the back, with a strong spotlight silhouetting him, and then it swings around to the front. Alex's pants are rolled up, and as usual, he fidgets like he has to go to the bathroom. All I know about One Direction is that Taylor Swift dated one of them (possibly South West), but I think Alex is doing well with this song. He's awkward as hell, and goofy looking to boot, but I really like his voice.
Keith: Made the song his own
JLo: Beautiful vocal, reminiscent of Buddy Holly
HCJ: Hit the artistry bulls eye
#5. Malaya will sing When I Was Your Man, by Bruno Mars (aha- a title I recognize, at least). She's wearing a black and silver glitter blazer. Her hair is huge and curly, and she has pale pink lipstick. Malaya starts sitting by a piano (not playing it). She's singing with more restraint than I've seen in any of her performances. She builds up to the big notes, rather than hitting the stage at 11 and going up from there, and is handling this song exactly right (except for that one wonky note).
HCJ: Sincere interpretation, and some sound advice about runs
Keith: Great job, great control
#6. I would raise an eyebrow when Caleb says he's singing The Edge of Glory, by Lady Gaga, but he killed Adele last week, so we shall see. He's wearing a black leather jacket over a black tee with screen printed skulls, and gray acid washed jeans. Gray acid washed jeans. I'll let that soak in for a moment. Caleb is singing without a guitar tonight, and he's Meatloafing it up out there, but he's doing a pretty amazing job with this song.
HCJ: A+ for originality
Keith: Interesting song choice but not sure about the beat
JLo: Not as much feeling as she was hoping for
#7. CJ will sing Invisible, by Hunter Hayes. He's wearing a gray on black print blazer (little flowers, I do believe), a gray tee and white jeans. And no hat. There's a string section on stage with him, but I think CJ is off tune throughout, and I'm pretty sure he didn't open his eyes until the very end of the song. This whole performance sounded weak to me, CJ's worst to date.
Keith: CJ was much better in rehearsal
JLo: Rooting for CJ, and knows his heart is in it (his voice? not so much)
HCJ: Tries once again to explain to CJ the importance of singing in tune
#8. Jessica is singing Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks. It's interesting to me that Jessica is 23 but she looks 35, while Majesty is 22 and looks 15. Jessica's pinked-up hair is in Farrah Fawcett Mode tonight. She's wearing a dark jacket over a light shirt, and playing her guitar. Though I couldn't really hear the lyrics, I understand this is a dark song with a sprightly beat. Jessica sings it nasally, with a huge smile throughout.
JLo: Happy with the performance
HCJ: Wonders about grinning through a dark song
Keith: Thought it sounded like 60's country pop
#9. Majesty is singing Wake Me Up, by Avicii. Majesty is dressed like a normal person in a white sweater with wide red stripes, and jeans. Her anti-gravity hair floats around her head beautifully. This performance is a huge improvement over last week's. The song is country adjacent and it's a good choice for her. I still like Majesty's voice more when she sings softly, but this is really nice.
HCJ: Smart choice, loved it
Keith: Disagrees with Harry, wanted a harder edge
JLo: Showed fear for the first time, which is not good
#10. Sam is singing We are Young by Fun. He's wearing that stupid hat again, with his front hair pulled straight back and tucked under the hat. He's also wearing a fairly interesting shirt with some big, bold red print on the sleeves and front, but his guitar is hiding most of it, so I don't get a very clear view. I don't love this song (it's another one I actually recognize), so it's hard to tell if Sam is doing okay with it or not. Interesting note: the audience liked the performance, but when the camera panned across the rest of the kids, they all smiled and clapped except MK, who stood glowering, with her arms crossed over her chest. I have no idea if that means anything or not.
Keith: Rushed because time is running out, but it was good
JLo: Much better than last week
HCJ: Be more assertive on stage
So, I enjoyed this theme about as much as I usually do (read: not a lot, because I'd rather listen to music that I know). But there were standouts.
My Top 3:
My Bottom 3:
I have a feeling that MK will be going home tomorrow. But at least she'll get to go on the tour.