Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AI Season 13- Top 5 Performance, 04-30-14

Are we ready to blog? You damn betcha!

America picked the songs? Not me. Ah, You Tube and/or Twitter. Given the things America embraces, I suspect this will be terrible.

Ryan in a blue wool suit and a blue and white striped tie, asks the kids for their Celebrity Crushes... I missed most of them except for Alex, who shares The Hub's preference for Zooey Deschanel. Can't say I blame either one, she is pretty adorable.

And it's the Top 5, not the Top 6- that's what happens when I go away. I forget what week it is.

JLo is wearing a short silver and blue sparkly night shirt. It's baggy. And sparkly. And it has 3/4 sleeves. Her hair is artfully  messy, center parted and tousled. HCJ is wearing a white button down shirt- a first I believe.

The kids are singing two songs apiece. Jazon Mraz, who used to dis Idol, is the guest mentor tonight. How things change.

Alex is singing Sweater Weather. Alex says he's not going to change things too much, but JMraz thinks Alex should follow his muse. He also suggests that Alex raise the mike a bit. Alex is wearing a red blazer with the sleeves pushed up and shirt cuffs rolled. He has no socks, as usual. Alex looks more comfortable than usual, and the pee dance has been toned down. I like pretty much everything he does, and this is no exception.

Keith encourages the crowd, and wouldn't mind hearing a bit more vocal soaring. JLo enjoyed the Alex/Mraz collaboration. HCJ reminds JLo that Alex is a front runner. He commends Alex on memorizing the many many words.

Austin Malone? Contrived selfies? Don't care.

Caleb, in a gray Civil War-ish, jacket, will sing Don't Wanna Miss a Thing. Okay America. I have no quibble with that. JMraz suggests learning the song before performing it. I just realized that Mraz reminds me of Captain Elliott on Deadliest Catch. This is not a good thing. Anyway, Caleb is starting out really slow and raspy, which is not the best showcase for his powerhouse vocals. He's building into it, and wailing a few notes in the right places. The ending is better than the beginning.

JLo felt it was a challenge for Caleb but that it was good. Lower case goosies. HCJ recommends singing to the audience rather than the camera. Keith begins with the good stuff and then recommends letting the feelings take over.

Jena, Alex and Sam are singing Best Day of My Life. Jena is wearing a white sleeveless tee and frayed jeans, with a red flannel shirt tied around her waist, Alex is in a short red denim jacket. Sam is wearing a black jacket over a white tee. Man, this is a stupid song... ah ah ah ah ah ah

Keith gave them a standing O, but otherwise there was no judge commentary.

Commercial Note: Legends of Oz looks terrible. Really really terrible.

Jessica is going to sing a Christina Perri song. At least it's not Jar of Hearts. Mraz is giving her lots of very good advice, most of which Jessica had never considered before despite being told pretty much the same thing every single week. She's wearing a floaty coat made of linen napkins over a short black and white dress. I think some of the advice is finally sinking in- there is a lot more life and inflection in her voice than usual. And her eyes aren't quite as dead. I think she did a pretty good job. Oh, her hair isn't quite as pink as usual. It's more coral. It's a very pretty shade.

HCJ commends Jessica on a good performance. Keith liked the voice break. JLo talks about the magic of tapping into the emotion of the song.

Sam will sing Ed Sheeran's Sink in tie-dye scrubs and a fedora. Ah, Sam has a crush on Ariana Grande, and who should show up and make Sam blush? He may be blushing because she seems to be wearing her dad's sweater and white go-go boots and nothing else. This is an upbeat little song, and Sam appears to be doing okay with it. He's just such a kid, and I don't think there's any cure for that but time. I mean, he giggles when he says the word *funky*.

Keith enjoyed Sam's blush and commented on how tough the song was without talking much about Sam's performance. JLo thought Sam funkified it up a little bit anyway. HCJ talks about not keeping up with the rhythm, but admired that Sam stepped out of his usual groove. Frankly, America let Sam down on song choice.

Jena will sing My Body by someone or other. She's wearing a really cute red and white striped top, lots of bracelets and a pair of bracelet-sized earrings, and black leather jeans. She's working the crowd pretty well, but Jena is always comfortable on stage. I like her bangs. I think she did fine and enjoyed herself greatly.

JLo loves Jena's signature moves. HCJ likes how Jena uses the stage. Keith gave her a Standing O, and loves all of Jena's artistry.

Caleb and Jessica are singing Beast of Burden. Caleb is wearing a black western shirt with gold embroidery on the yoke. Jessica's dress is also black with sparkly embroidery. They're doing very well with this song. The beading on the back of Jessica's dress sticks out about an inch, as though the  beads are stacked on end. I wish they'd do a close-up on the beadwork  I care more about the clothes than the music. Duh..

Alex will sing Say Something by Great Big World. He's wearing a white shirt with an iron-on rose on the pocket, and severely moussed hair. He's sitting in a chair and strumming his guitar. This quiet and plaintive song is smack dab in his wheelhouse. It's lovely. When Alex stands up, we can see that his pants legs hit easily 8" above his sockless shoes.

Keith is standing more than he's sitting tonight, but in this case, I agree with him. HCJ loved how Alex managed the emotion of the song. Keith loved the song choice. JLo loved the vocals and the staging.

Jena is wearing a black and white wrap dress this time- and by black and white, I mean half black and half white. And she's going to sing Valerie, by Amy Winehouse. This song is very smooth, and Jena is doing very very well- acing the vocals and owning the stage. Keith and Jlo are chair dancing and HCJ is smiling, which is the equivalent of cheering wildly. As much as I just enjoyed Alex's quiet solo, this is the performance of the night.

Keith loved this version and Jena's vocals. JLo didn't love it, thought the performance skewed old (which is probably why I liked it). HCJ concentrates on what stage name Jena will eventually use.

Sam will sing How To Save a Life, which I actually know. He's all in browns and tans, vest, tee, and hat. Sam is usually spot on, pitchwise, but this sounds off to me. Both of his solos have been weak tonight.

JLo mentioned the shakiness but thought he recovered. HCJ mentions pitch issues and lack of dynamics. Keith agrees with both of them.

I think Jessica Rabbit is up there, in a red dress with a dramatic slit (and a thigh tattoo), draped all diva-style on a low platform. The girl who recommended this song spoke so fast that I didn't catch the title, but it has something to do with summertime and sadness. Jessica is emoting the hell out of this

HCJ compliments America for choosing that song for Jessica. Keith compares the song to David Lynch, and means it as a compliment. JLo didn't think the total was quite the sum of the parts.

Caleb will sing Whitesnake's Still of the Night, which I'll bet isn't the song I think it is. And I'm right- it's not. He's wearing a distressed brown leather jacket, and he's flinging his mike stand and shouting and doing what he usually does as well as he usually does it, which is pretty well. This is what Caleb was meant to sing. It's not what I particularly want to listen to, but damn, he does it. JLo and Keith are both on their feet and dancing (it's rather sweet what a dorky dancer Keith is).

Keith is carried away completely. JLo is incoherent. HCJ mentions Cole Porter... heee.... and that Caleb could not have done any better.

So, there were no terrible performances tonight, but my pick for strongest, in performance order:
Alex #2
Jena #2
Caleb #2

Weakest, worst first:
Sam #1, #2
Caleb #1

I assume Sam will be in trouble tomorrow, but my predictions aren't always right. So we'll see.

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