Ryan Seacrest opened the American Idol evening of announcing the vote following stellar performances for “Songs of the Cinema” week by saying that 72 million votes were cast, a season record. That added to the votes of past seasons gave the talent competition franchise a grand total of 6 billion total votes since Season 1, so there still is a definite love for Idol still burning, and blazing through social media. The host hinted at a surprise result, before judges, Harry Connick, Jr., Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez, dressed all in white, except for her floral headband, took their chairs. The young talents were treated to limousine service after their sensational performances, and had fun poking fun at each of the panel members, even proving that toughest judge, Harry, gives himself away with a slight smile. He had another reason to smile-he took center stage for his own performance, and got his own surprise.
CJ Harris, Caleb Johnson, and Dexter Roberts were the first threesome summoned to learn their fate. Randy Jackson agreed with the panel that CJ had given his best performance ever with Wednesday’s “Can’t You See,” and called Caleb’s daring turn with “Skyfall” “a 10.” Dexter didn’t quite do all everyone had hoped with “Sweet Home Alabama,” but the country favorite has such authenticity and already such a fan base, he isn’t really in danger. All three were sent to safety in the lounge.
Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez became part of the crowd on the third tier balcony to enjoy Harry Connick, Jr., performing his medley of “One Fine Thing” and “Come By Me,” not only showcasing his stylistic big-band voice, but also his piano wizardry. Caleb Johnson proved that a rocker can swing , up and dancing from his seat. Harry’s favorite fan, and cuddle buddy, from the Austin auditions, Mumfarid Zaidi, dropped in for a surprise. Harry once again obliged, holding him for his entire song, asking, “Why are you not in the Top 10?” It made for a wonderful television memory! It was a foursome called up next, with MK Nobilette, Ben Briley, Majesty Rose, and Malaya Watson under the dim lights. MK was out to prove she did want to be here, and she heard good news of being safe, following Malaya’s reward of safety after a remarkable Dreamgirls moment. Ben and Majesty took two seats of the bottom three, and Ben said that he realized the risk he took in going with “Bennie and the Jets,” and trading his guitar for piano, but that he wanted “to show what I could do,” outside his memorable Atlanta audition. Randy Jackson said that Majesty had been “OK, but not stellar,” but she remained proud of her choice to take on “Let It Go.”
Jennifer Lopez chose the singer, rapper, and composer, Mali Music, as this week’s showcase artist. He performed a beautiful version of his new song, “Beautiful,” making it evident that Ms. Lopez’s words that he sings “from his spirit” were true. Jennifer also got a minute of preview for her new, sweet song, “I Luh Ya Papi.” The good vibes couldn’t stop the reality that one person would be gone at the end of the evening, not joining the 10 traveling on the summer tour. Sam Woolf, Jena Irene, Jessica Meuse, and Alex Preston were the final group to wait out the nerve-racking news. Randy Jackson said he was like “a proud parent” seeing Jena’s “Decode” tour de force. He was proud for Sam in “cracking his shell,” and Alex remained “raw and vulnerable.” He agreed that Jessica was “no standout” in the night, but still had great talent. What did America think? Jena, Jessica, and Alex got votes of safety, while Sam took the final seat of the bottom three.
Ryan revealed that the vote for these contenders within .07%– how about that for close! Sam was sent to safety first, thanks to his strong female following, no doubt. That left Majesty and Ben sweating under the lights. Majesty got welcome news that she would be packing for the road, while Ben sang “Stars” again for his salvation. It’s all but impossible to sing your best under that kind of stress, and Keith announced that Ben would not be a “Save” tonight, saying that the panel loved his voice, but that he still needed to find his unique artistry. He has time to grow into himself, and becoming a star, while he snacks on deviled eggs.
Next week, the American Idol Top 10 takes on the Billboard Top 10. This will be fun! The competition airs Wednesday and Thursday on FOX.
American Idol broadcast, March 13, 2014, FOX Networks.