What better way to give everyone watching American Idol some much-needed warm and fuzzy comfort on the most tense night of the season than to bring out a true warm and fuzzy beauty, and Ryan Seacrest did just that. Walking out to open the night, Ryan caressed his new companion, puppy Georgia, who was not at all flustered in all the commotion, but certainly was cute! Harry Connick, Jr. called Jennifer Lopez the mermaid princess on Wednesday this week, and tonight, named her “beaded princess,” as she donned an exquisitely sparkling designer gown, encrusted with hand-sewn gems. The performances were gems, too– so remarkable that Randy Jackson himself asked, “How do you choose?” rhetorically. Caleb Johnson leaned on the falsetto side of his voice and rocking stage dramatics to compensate for a vocal hemorrhage, and Alex Preston added percussion and evolving artistry to create his own standout moments. Jena Irene stayed in the unforgettable, category, too, through “Titanium” to “Heart Attack” from Demi Lovato, and even elevating her original performance of “Creep” from the Competitor’s Pick performances a few weeks back. None of the performers merited an exit, but only to finalists can vie for the title next week.
Jena was especially happy to see her precious doggies, Enzo and Elsie, and have a few minutes to herself in her comfy bed at home in Michigan. Before she chowed down on her own Coney dog, she went back to waitressing with her friends at her favorite eatery. She couldn’t stop the tears after feeling all the support from home, and sensing the impact she already has made. “I wanna win for them,” she gushed. That desire has a very good shot at reality. She also got the great news that she will sing next week with one of her own idol artists, Paramore.
Past contenders, Danny Gokey and Elliott Yamin were in attendance, both still pursuing artistic journeys in their music, and joys in personal lives, including Gokey’s announcement of a second child arriving soon, and his mission, Sophia’s Heart, expanding to serve more homeless families. Scotty McCreery still knows how to work an audience, which he seemed so good at so early on in Season 10. He performed his new song, “Feelin’ It,” perfect as a summer anthem, and well suited to kick off his summer “See You Tonight” tour. Scotty got the mark of perfection from Jennifer Lopez, too, when she left complete left lip marks from her kiss on his cheek! Alex Preston’s mom had simple wishes upon seeing her son, saying she just wanted “to hug him, hold him, and feed him” once he got home. His delight was evident when he greeted his best friends at the door, not expecting to see them on such a short stay. Alex Preston Day was declared, and there were countless “damsels” in his audience swooning to “Fairy Tales” at his concert. To top it off, Alex was stoked with the word that he and Jason Mraz will be paired together next week for the finale live performances. Caleb Johnson was singing anything but the blues while he enjoyed biscuits and gravy back home. Little brother, Houston, would give him no credit as even a good singer, playing it like the typical brother. “You suck, and I’m not drunk,” he teased, before Caleb dropped in on the latest class at the Rock Academy. He had fun tooling around in his original “road van,” and was very at home at The Emerald Lounge, another old haunt. Caleb nearly took his brother down when he heard Ryan say he would be joining Kiss on stage next week at the finale. That’s not an easy feat when little brother is definitely a big guy!
Big thank you’s were said before the vote revelation came, both to the show, and from the contenders to one another. These weeks have bonded them for life. Jena Irene was named as the first finalist, and Caleb and Alex held each other tightly awaiting the last word. Alex gained confidence with his stretching outside the box even further, and Caleb likely lost a bit of confidence, having to cope with illness and lack of conversation. Caleb was announced as second finalist, and immediately embraced Alex, as did his whole family, in huge hugs. Alex sang his own song that brought him to this American Idol dance, “Fairy Tales,” but this was no fairytale. This was very real, and now, Alex has room to grow into the full, fresh, original artist that he has been from the beginning. This is only a start. Bear hugs were in abundance as the judges came to offer their congratulations, and Harry really took thoughtful moments to speak to Alex, showing how caring he really can be. The Season 13 finale airs on Tuesday and Wednesday next week on FOX.
American Idol broadcast, May 15, 2014 FOX Networks.