American Idol 13: Top 11 - March 11, 2014


Top 11 Week - Songs Of The Movies - March 11, 2014

1. Sam Woolf - "Come Together" D

What a wasted opportunity. An absolutely flat performance that was beyond safe. Sam performed with almost no energy and sat for about half the song. It sort of reminded me of a GAP ad or a high school talent show. This song has completely nonsensical lyrics, obviously, so you need to have fun with it and bring the audience along with you.

Reference any of the following for a far superior Idol performance of this song (in order): Carly Smithson (Season 7), Kris Allen (Season 8), Crystal Bowersox (Season 9), Candice Glover (Season 12).

2. Jessica Meuse - "The Sound of Silence" B

Unfortunately, the band and Jessica were not on the same page in an obvious mistake that messed up her performance a bit. I am waiting for a bit more dynamics for Jessica but I still love her voice and this song choice. I wish she had spent the entire song playing her acoustic guitar and really drawing in the listener. She needs to keep her vibrato in check and use it sparingly. A solid performance  but not a particularly memorable one.

3. CJ Harris - "Can't You See" A-

CJ's best performance yet on the Idol stage! I absolutely love this song and the emotion he put into it. The grit in his voice really brought the song lyrics to life in a way the first two performances could not. "Rode that southbound baby, all the way to Georgia baby, till the train run out of tracks" was absolutely gorgeous and gave me hope yet for CJ!

4. Dexter Roberts - "Sweet Home Alabama" B

Dexter doesn't veer from his lane, it's true. And he hasn't done anything that will make him stand out in today's crowded country landscape. And I have no clue what team "Roll Tide Roll" refers to. (Sorry. I assume it's Alabama.) But also let's be real - this was a fun, upbeat, karaoke style performance that definitely engaged the crowd.

5. Ben Briley - "Bennie and the Jets" D

This veered quickly into a very unpleasant sound. Pretty much from the first note. It came off very lounge lizard, which I will admit fits the song, but it clearly didn't work. It was awkward and a poor fit for Ben from the start. Not sure who was worse this week, Ben or Sam.

6. Majesty Rose - "Let It Go" D+

The parts of the song that were delivered in a breathy, whispery tone fell obviously flat. The high notes were way out of Majesty's range. This would have worked beautifully if she had tried to strip it down and play it in a quiet manner on her guitar. Taking such a popular song that has become so iconic with Idina Menzel and performing it in such a terrible manner clearly hurt her in the votes.

7. Caleb Johnson - "Skyfall" A

The most dynamic performance so far of the show! This was an unexpected choice for Caleb and was not at all predictable. The backup singers are what prevented me from giving this performance an A+ - they sounded so canned and cheesy and drew my attention away from Caleb's amazing voice. (Every time I listen to it, they irritate me more and more.) He is the one to watch in this competition. He is a unique singer with the charisma and dynamics to go the distance.

8. MK Nobilette - "To Make You Feel My Love" A-

This was so achingly gorgeous. Finally, MK reached through and made me, as the song title goes, actually feel the lyrics she was singing about. Understated and beautiful - and the first performance I truly loved from MK.

9. Alex Preston - "Falling Slowly" A/A-

Alex is a clear dark horse in this competition. As soon as his performance ended, I wanted to watch it again. There is something oddly compelling about him. He has a voice that is perfect in the quirky landscape of radio these days and could break through with an unexpected hit a la A Great Big World. There was a lot of talk online about how Alex should not have touched a song that Kris Allen covered so beautifully on the Idol stage just 5 years ago. However, I argue that while Kris made it a hopeful anthem, Alex brought something a bit more tortured to it. This is exemplified by Alex's stylistic choice not to end on a big glory note, but a soft fade. So gorgeous.

10. Jena Irene - "Decode" A+

This girl is fierce. She is the proverbial force to be reckoned with. This performance fit the song perfectly - ethereal, haunting, moody, and powerful. I am so impressed. Just do yourself a favor and watch her version of the Paramore song.

11. Malaya Watson - "I Am Changing" B-

Malaya will never be my favorite contestant - she shouts her way through pretty much every song, doesn't strike me as more than a high school drama club member, and doesn't make much of an impression on me. She brought a needed level of sass to the song and I have to give her points for not picking any of the more obvious songs from Dreamgirls. Malaya needs to learn that expressing emotion musically doesn't mean shouting the song or hamming it up, but really connecting to the lyrics.

Best of the night: Jena
Worst of the night: Sam or Ben