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‘American Idol’ Recap: Sam Woolf Rocks Matchbox 20’s ‘Unwell’

Wed, February 26, 2014 10:43pm EDT by 3 Comments

The Feb. 26 episode of ‘American Idol’ finally takes us to the LIVE finals with our Top 13 where America has the vote! Are you excited?!

Finally — the finals! On the Feb. 26 episode of American Idol, the Top 13 sing for America’s votes — and there are more ways to vote for your favorite contestants than ever before! America’s choice may not be too difficult, though, since many of the contestants made some really confusing song choices, which we hate to see from such a talented group. See below for our full recap and to tell us who YOUR favorites were!

‘American Idol’ Recap: Kristen O’Connor Sings Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Beautiful Disaster’

In a lengthy commercial where you can see the strings on the Idol contestants by which Google is playing them like marionettes, we learn that you can vote through Google+ this year! We have to applaud Google for still trying to make Google+ happen. They’re like Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls in that way. We kid, though: this is actually a really cool and easy way to vote — easier than texting, and way easier than calling. All you have to do is Google “American Idol” or even just “Idol,” and you can vote for your favorite contestant right away — up to 50 times — as long as you sign into Google+!

Furthermore, voting will stay open until 10 AM Pacific time the following day, and you can start right as the episode starts airing if you’re biased like we are and want to vote even before you hear the contestants sing a note!

We ready for this? Let’s dive in.

1. Dexter Roberts: “Aw Naw,” by Chris Young
He is sooo country, you guys. If country is up your alley, then you’ll love Dexter’s ultra-twangy performance. Keith Urban told him that he did a fantastic cover of the song, but that he needs to figure out the Dexter Roberts version of the song. Harry Connick Jr. told him that he had a pitch issue.

2. Malaya Watson: “Runaway Baby,” by Bruno Mars
Nothing bummed us out more than this performance. It was just not good. We have never seen Malaya not be the actual best — it just wasn’t the right song for her; not for her voice, and certainly not to open the finals. Jennifer Lopez told her that her performance skills were A+ but agreed with us in that “Runaway Baby” was not a good choice.

3. Kristen O’Connor: “Beautiful Disaster,” by Kelly Clarkson
Singing a cover from a past Idol contestant — and the best one of all if you ask us, and you haven’t — is a brazen move, but Kristen did really great! There were a few problems, but so far, best of the night. Harry told her she’s a great pop singer, and the judges were generally positive while nitpicking only slightly.

4. Ben Briley: “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash
Before his performance, Ben and Ryan talk about Instagram where Ben mourns the loss of Polaroid cameras and that he never quite figured out how to use the filters on the popular photo-sharing app. Hey, Ben? You’re 24. Instagram is in your DNA. Nobody our age is going to identify with confusion over a smartphone app. Oh, right, his performance. Anyway, it was quite good — he made the song his own, and while Keith didn’t like how much Ben picked up the tempo for the Johnny Cash classic, both Jennifer and Harry liked his choice. Harry called it the best performance of the night!

‘American Idol’ Recap: Jena Irene Performs A Beautiful Cover Of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’

5. CJ Harris: “Radio,” by Darius Rucker
CJ did really well and seemed super comfortable on stage! His energy was contagious and Jennifer agreed. The American Idol studio audience needs to chill, though, because when Harry went on about how much he loves CJ but that this wasn’t the best song choice for him, the audience booed! That’s kind of insane. And unsolicited fathering advice aside (we’re still not over that), who can deny that Harry has been doling out the most constructive, useful advice of the season? What would a contestant rather hear — that they are such a special snowflake or that their song choice isn’t great, so that they can make the change for next time?

6. MK Nobilette: “Satisfaction,” by Allen Stone
This was a different side of MK than we’ve seen before, and the judges took notice! Personally speaking, we didn’t really love the performance, but she still sounded pretty great. It was a good choice for her to stray away from the slower ballads as she’s done in the past, though; if you think you can rock it, it’s important to show your range!

7. Majesty Rose: “Tightrope,” by Janelle Monae
Majesty, one of our faves, started out a bit shaky on this high-energy song, but she really brought it as it went on! She was high-energy, moved well on stage, and just generally delivered like a pro. The in-studio audience went nuts! In a night of poor song choices, Keith told her that Janelle is perfect for her, and Jennifer told Majesty that there is nobody like her.

8. Jena Irene: “The Scientist,” by Coldplay
Pre-performance, Jena made us feel a million years old by telling Ryan Seacrest that she first learned this song on the piano when she was 9 years old. It’s OK — we’re fine, everybody dies, it’s fine. Oh, and: SHE WAS AMAZING. Just, so, so great — really soulful and passionate. Harry told her that the best thing she does is makes interesting choices in an interesting melody; that it’s so easy to cover the song exactly as heard on the radio and that it’s her melodic choices that make the song. Hear, hear!

9. Alex Preston: “Beautiful Mess,” by Jason Mraz
Oh my gosh, we have such a crush on Alex. In his filmed interview, he told Idol cameras that he writes poetry and is a hopeless romantic. Is anybody with us on this? Harry cautioned him to make sure to sing in tune, and that sometimes singing out of tune is OK, but that he’s confident that Alex can hear better than that. Harry got booed once again when he told Alex that his performance was very inward and had a hard time following. On the other hand, Keith told Alex that his performance choice pulled him into the song, and Jennifer thought the same. So did we! But Harry’s opinion is still valid. Stop booing, audience! You’re on notice — we’re watching you.

‘American Idol’ Recap: Sam Woolf Rocks Early-2000s Hit ‘Unwell’ By Matchbox 20

10. Jessica Meuse: “The Crow & The Butterfly,” by Shinedown
We’ll admit it: we haven’t been huge fans of Jessica so far, but in her filmed interview she told the cameras that she’s a huge fan of Supernatural, and we are now officially biased. That said, she delivered a fantastic performance — we swear! The judges agreed and everything. The song was a good choice for her slightly raspy, edgy voice.

11. Emily Piriz: “Glitter In The Air,” by Pink
First of all, the penny has finally dropped for us: isn’t Emily a dead ringer for recently-engaged Girls star Allison Williams?! Harry could not have been more complimentary, telling her that “Glitter In The Air” is not an easy song to sing but that it was a good choice and that she pulled it off really well. Keith told Harry that he was waiting for the “but” and, hilariously, Harry said that Keith has been waiting his whole life for the “but.” BUT HE MEANT “BUTT.” Get it, guys? Get it? We have fun.

12. Sam Woolf“Unwell,” Matchbox 20
OMG — Sam is so cute. It is impossible for him to win us over any more? I mean, a song from early-2000s darlings Matchbox 20? Get outta here. (Also, more of this, Idol hopefuls: MORE.) While the judges were generally complimentary, Harry told him that he was a bit too “perfect,” Keith told him that his tempo choice was a bit too slow, and Jennifer told him that he needs to get loose on stage! All valid points, and the judges certainly weren’t putting him down — when Sam inevitably makes it into the next round, we know he’ll take that all into consideration. We loved it — and him — though!

13. Caleb Johnson: “Pressure and Time,” Rival Sons
Caleb’s performance was suuuper rock-‘n-roll and really showed off his vocal skills and showmanship. Keith, however, told him that he can be a little too retro, which we agree with. That kind of thing can alienate a younger audience and tire an older one who have seen it all before! Don’t get us wrong, though: it was still a better performance than half of what we saw tonight. Also, Caleb’s hair was looking particularly flouncy — what do you use on your hair, Caleb?!

What did you think, HollywoodLifers? Do you agree with the judges about the poor song choices made tonight? Do you want to talk about how cute Alex Preston and Sam Woolf are? Be sure to vote and comment below!

— Amanda Michelle Steiner

More ‘American Idol’:

  1. ‘American Idol’ Recap: JLo Channels Paula Abdul In ‘Rush Week’ Results
  2. ‘American Idol’ Recap: Harry Connick Jr. Shames Emily Piriz For Sexy Song
  3. ‘American Idol’ Recap: Neco Starr and Ben Briley’s Fate In America’s Hands