The Top 8 of “American Idol,” Season 13, learned who would be moving on and who was going home, on a night that also saw a live performance from Daughtry.
- At the opening of the show, this season’s mentor, Randy Jackson, predicted that Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, Dexter Roberts and Jena Irene would be safe. Would he be right? We also saw video of the Top 8 enjoying dinner and talking about their previous night’s performances.
- Once more, the contestants moving on were revealed by showing their faces on the big screen. The first person to move on, host Ryan Seacrest announced, was Dexter Roberts, who looked shocked. Also continuing on the “Idol” ride: Jena Irene.
- A Ford commercial featured the Top 8 talking about their memories of cars, intercut with images of them driving to a beach to hang out.
- Daughtry (featuring frontman Chris Daughtry, a former “Idol” contestant) performed “Waiting for Superman.” Ryan reminded viewers that Chris mentored the Top 31 this season. This song was a departure from his previous music: very quiet and atmospheric in the beginning, with some electronic sounds. After the performance, Ryan teased Chris about what his face had looked like the night he’d been eliminated in Season 5. Chris jokingly tried to replicate it, but he’s clearly moved on.
- After a commercial break, it was back to the big-screen reveals. The next to be declared safe was Caleb Johnson. Also moving on was Jessica Meuse. Next to head for the safety of the couch: Alex Preston. This left Malaya Watson, Sam Woolf and C.J. Harris in the bottom three.
- After the break, Ryan told Sam that he was the one in the bottom, who would be singing for the save. Would the judges save him? They seemed to be seriously considering it. He was the first contestant who was strong enough on his swan song, “Babylon,” that it seemed possible he would be saved. Would he? Jennifer Lopez announced, “We’re unanimous. We’re going to use the save tonight.” Confetti rained down as the crowd cheered and clapped. His fellow competitors jumped onstage to congratulate him.
- The Top 8 will compete again next week with the theme “The Eighties.”
- Why was Sam saved, and should he have been? The judges had loved Sam from the start for all the potential he demonstrated on his audition song, “LEGO House.” On paper, he looked like a potential winner: young, attractive, with beautiful tone and room to grow. However, up to this point in the season, he has not made many strides in terms of his performances. Despite the screaming girls in the audience, he has failed to attract enough of a following to carry him to safety, even on the week he performed his audition song, which had previously been talked about as one of his strongest song choices. He has been in the bottom three multiple times, and for that reason if no other, it’s pretty clear that he’s not likely to win. Then why did the judges save him? Perhaps they have faith that he will pay attention to their recent advice on how to connect with the audience, and that that will make a difference. Perhaps they were impressed with his swan song performance, which showed him vocally at his best. Or perhaps they simply didn’t want to be blamed for sending home the cute boy-next-door who had showed so much promise. Whatever the reason, he’ll get at least one grace week before being sent home for good. If he’s smart, he’ll take the judges’ recent comments to heart and strive to turn out the best performances he possibly can. Maybe, if he does, he can prove he was truly worth the save.