Anyone who dismisses the importance of American Idol vote results evenings need only take a gander at the dress code for this week’s results. Keith Urban made good on his promise to Harry Connick, Jr. to dress in a suit, much to the fellow judge’s acclaim. “How good does Keith Urban look?”Connick rhetorically asked, pledging that next week, all the panel would don tight T-shirts! Jennifer Lopez was a Golden vision, and Ryan Seacrest revealed supportive messages sent via Twitter from Carrie Underwood to Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson for their show-stopping versions of her songs on Tuesday. After a peek at some sweet footage of a birthday dinner prepared by Caleb’s mom, and a fun “selfie” of the six decked all in blonde wigs following Jessica Meuse’s mom revealing that she was really a blonde, it was time for the inevitable yet unavoidable tension of the vote.
Caleb Johnson, Sam Woolf, and CJ Harris were the first three to face the facts of the vote. Randy Jackson assuredly spoke that Caleb “won the night,” particularly considering his masterful slide to recover a flying microphone, and never missing a note on “Sting Me.” Sam did well enough to keep himself going in the competition, and certainly captured the female following again after doing Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time” along with Shania Twain’s timeless “You’re Still the One” sung nearly exclusively to a waiting cache of ladies! CJ struggled with song choices, first going with “American Woman” done Lenny Kravitz style, but lacking attitude, and then Zac Brown Band’s “Whatever It Is” and having the same bothersome issues with singing sharp, and missing his mark, despite his earnest heart. “Better songs, better vocals” was Randy Jackson’s prescription for CJ. Sure enough, Caleb and Sam went to safety, and CJ took the first stool for the bottom two.
Jena Irene, Alex Preston, and Jessica Meuse came forward for their fate. Randy Jackson unsurprisingly said that Jena has “the eye of the Tiger” in the competition now, coming on strong with “Barracuda,” and that her own moving rendition of Carrie Underwood’s “So Small.” Alex also fared well With Neon Trees’ “Animal,” and then “Always on My Mind,” which got mixed responses, but respect for his artistic choices. Jessica certainly picked strong songs with “Somebody to Love” and Dolly Parton’s longing plea of love, “Jolene.” The song choices were good, yet Randy Jackson was unsure if Jessica “gave the judges what they wanted.” Jena and Alex were sent to safety, and Jessica found herself in the bottom once again.
Asked about anything they would do differently, Jessica confidently stated that she “stayed true to myself,” while CJ confessed that he would make better song choices. Ryan revealed that another chance would not be coming for CJ, as he was the one headed home. Expressing nothing but thanks, even to the band, CJ began his closing number, but succumbed to tears after his competitors, especially Caleb, gave him bear hugs. Keith Urban sang anyway, and Jennifer Lopez wiped away tears. A few weeks back, Harry Connick, Jr. reminded CJ that he had “the greatest gift” of being able to connect regardless of what he sang. The Alabama dad has time to prepare for a summer on the American Idol tour, and to deal with that problem of singing sharp. Randy Jackson whispered at length into his ear as credits rolled and his family expressed their pride. Those words are between CJ and Randy, but bets would be that his future is much better and brighter than his days at the barbecue restaurant.
American Idol broadcast, April 24, 2014 FOX Networks.