The Top 13 of “American Idol,” Season 13, were whittled down to the Top 12 last night as the results were announced from the “This is Me” performance show.
- The Top 13 did a group number, a mash-up of “Counting Stars” and “Radioactive.” It was very entertaining, done with all the production values of a Broadway musical.
- Then, instead of the usual recap of the previous night’s performance, we saw a short video package showing the Top 13 interacting after the performance show, including a Sanjaya joke from Ben Briley.
- In a quick-moving package, mentor Randy Jackson ran through what advice he’d given the first group of contestants — Malaya Watson, Ben Briley, Jena Irene and Alex Preston — and how well he thought their performances went. The only one he really critiqued of the four was Malaya.
- The first to learn she was in the bottom three was Malaya Watson. Asked about this result, judge Jennifer Lopez said she was not happy to see her in the bottom three, because “Malaya deserves to be here.”
- Throughout the evening were interspersed video packages showing the judges revealing five things about themselves in 20 seconds, starting with Keith Urban, who called his favorite Beatle “Brian Epstein,” a.k.a. their manager. Cute.
- Last year’s winner, Candice Glover, sang a medley of her songs, “Cried” and “Some Kinda Man.” As she performed, wearing a floor-length skirt and a black leather jacket, images flashed across the screen behind her. As always, her voice was impeccable, and she had the judges bopping their heads on her second song, which was more upbeat.
- Among his five revelations, Harry Connick Jr. said he loves to fix and box, and he’s never seen Keith naked.
- Then Ryan called up M.K. Nobilette, Sam Woolf, Majesty Rose and Dexter Roberts. In Randy’s comments, he said that both M.K. and Sam have room to grow and that Dexter didn’t take all his advice but probably did enough to stay. After the nationwide vote, Ryan announced that Dexter… was safe. So was Majesty. This left Sam and M.K., who had both been called a “quiet storm” by Jennifer. M.K. also was in the bottom three. Ryan asked Keith what M.K. can focus on to stay in, if she’s not cut tonight. He advised her to work on projecting emotion.
- A singer that Keith had specifically recommended to his fellow judges then performed, Jake Bugg. He reminded me of a young Bob Dylan, with a song that was very pared down, just guitars, bass and drums, and with his folky vocals.
- In her 20 seconds, Jennifer revealed she eats a chocolate chip cook every day and lives for her kids.
- Live in the studio, Harry urged host Ryan Seacrest to do his five-secret reveal in 20 seconds right then. Ryan said he loves food courts and also has never seen Keith naked.
- Then it was results time for C.J. Harris, Kristen O’Connor, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse and Emily Piriz. About their performances, Randy said that C.J. needs to work for consistency. Kristen’s, he thought, was just OK. He liked Caleb and Jessica. Ryan announced that after 71 million votes, Kristen was in the bottom three and the rest were safe.
- Time for the final news about who would be singing for her life. Once more the judges would be given one save for the entire season, when they could reinstate someone who they believed shouldn’t have been cut. Ryan announced that M.K. was safe. This left Kristen and Malaya. They held hands to listen. Ryan asked Kristen what she would do better, and she said she’d try to be herself. Malaya said she’d try to “calm down for once in my life.” The person going home, Ryan announced, was Kristen. The judges immediately began deliberating about whether to use the save on her. So this meant that, despite the recent voting changes to limit voting and presumably remove the “teeny bopper” factor (i.e. young girls voting obsessively for cute guys), we had an all-girl bottom three.
- After she sang Adele’s “Turning Tables” (seemingly very nervous, while images of Facebook fans who’d voted for her floated on the screen behind her), Harry Connick delivered the news, telling her that the decision to save her was not unanimous, so they were going to have to say good-bye. After her farewell montage aired, the camera shifted to a row of lit photos of the contestants above the stage, and hers clicked off.
- So why was it Kristen’s time to go? “American Idol” voters tend to look for the whole package, so how did she measure up? She did have talent, which was demonstrated by some of her Hollywood Week performances. However, she lacked consistency, apparently being thrown off by the pressures of performing on the live stage. Her performance of the song was very subdued, but most of the other contestants were also finding their stage legs, so to speak, so that probably wasn’t a key factor. Instead, one of her biggest problems was probably that she just didn’t stand out. Many fans dismissed her as another “pageant girl,” the kind of singer who looks really good on paper — attractive, talented — but yet fails to project any real emotion onstage or connect with the audience. Maybe in time she could have learned to do so, but someone had to go this first week, and so it was Kristen’s time. At least she had a good attitude, telling Ryan that she’d learned a lot from all the comments and planned to continue to work on growth as an artist.
“American Idol” airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on FOX.