All of the American Idol Top 13 sounded on top of their game in a really cute rendition of “Radioactive,” that took them from backstage prop rooms to their waiting public, and their responses that this week had been their collective “best show” so far. The judges had just as hard a time as the kids coming up with five fast facts in 20 seconds, except for Harry’s fantasies with Keith. The new voting methods for the season are making a difference, because 71 million votes came in for the week, along with Twitter love from the stars who loved hearing their songs sung by the hopefuls. This season allows one save, which must be unanimously arrived at by the panel, and it expires at the Top 6. Would tonight be the time for salvation?
The first called up for the vote of truth were Jena Irene, Malaya Watson, Ben Briley, and Alex Preston. Randy Jackson is already proving his insights to be sharper than his predecessor, in the mentor role. He praised Jena for her gifts of intonation that brought “The Scientist” home, and liked how Ben put his own stamp on “Folsom Prison Blues,” the brisk tempo notwithstanding. He sees a lot of promise in the talent and subtleness of Alex Preston, and the spirit and “pipes” of Malaya Watson, too, if she can reign in some of that energy to leave her breath to sing! After the lights dimmed, Ryan Seacrest sent Ben, Jena, and Alex back to the comfy sofa, making Malaya take the first stool for the bottom three. Her nerves were visibly taking over already.
Last season’s title winner, Candice Glover, took the stage, looking elegant and sounding better than ever in her medley of “Cried” and “Same Kind of Man.” Her album is #3 on the Billboard R&B chart, and she’s sure to have more success as she is more able to make her own choices as an artist. The next foursome stepping forward included MK Nobilette, Sam Woolf, Majesty Rose, and Dexter Roberts. The “Dawgfather,” Randy, elaborated on how nerves and confidence were the biggest issues for Sam and MK, since the talent and the voices are already there, and Dexter and Majesty had made the performances their own. Sam, Majesty, and Dexter took trips back to the couch, and MK took that anxious seat next to Malaya on the stools. Folk newcomer, Englishman Jake Bugg, got a dynamite endorsement from Keith Urban before taking the stage for his song, “Me and You.” Bugg is already being called “this generation’s Dylan” by many critics, and Urban called his album “killer.” Five names were called to come under the lights next– CJ Harris, Kristen O’Connor, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, and Emily Piriz. Randy expressed agreement with the judges’ panel on this group, with special pride in Jessica’s boldness, and having fun with the “static halo” that Caleb’s hair became after his performance! Kristen was the one who took the third and final stool for the night, as the others took the softer seats . Harry Connick, Jr. admitted some surprise at the vote from America, but in typical fashion, was not too emotional. MK was first to get the good news that she was staying, to her mom’s cheers. Malaya has another week to do some meditation, because she has another week, too. Kristen was called to sing for her last chance, while the panel deliberated, which they really did. Another nice touch this season is that a montage of Kristen’s Facebook supporters flashed in the background as she sang. Harry announced that they would not used their save, so it was so long for Kristen, who just last week was a wildcard pick. Her road has not come to an end, but to a fork and she credited all of the panel and their advice for making her better.
The American Idol theme for next week is “Home.” Who will be heading home? The competition airs Wednesday and Thursday on FOX.
American Idol broadcast, February 27, 2014 FOX Networks.