On the April 9 episode of ‘American Idol’, the Top 8 — nearly-eliminated Sam Woolf included — took it back to the ’80s with their song choices. And our boyfriends Sam Woolf and Alex Preston sang a duet!
The April 9 episode of American Idol was just fantastic. Not only did our Top 8 sing all the greatest hits from the ’80s, but our #1 boyfriends Sam Woolf and Alex Preston sang a duet — a Michael Jackson duet? What’s better than that, other than nothing? Read on for our full recap and to find out what other amazing hits our remaining hopefuls had to offer, and vote for your favorite performer!
‘American Idol’ Recap: The Top 8 Perform Songs From The ’80s
Reeeeaally starting to stretch out these two hours. At the top of the show, each contestant announces themselves and declares, “I’m [so-and-so], and I’m the next American Idol.” Easily killed about a minute or two. On to your tricks, Idol producers.
It’s ’80s night in the Idol studios and Jennifer Lopez has got a teased side-pony sort of creation, not too sure, and Keith Urban is sporting a mullet. Harry Connick Jr. is dressed normally because he is us on Halloween — a total killjoy. One of us, one of us.
On to the performances!
‘American Idol’ Recap: Jena Irene, Dexter Roberts, Malaya Watson & Jessica Meuse Perform
1. Jena Irene, “I Love Rock & Roll,” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Jena decided to slow-jam this song, starting it sort of jazzy on the piano, and then kicked it into a gear after a few lines, walking around and generally owning the stage and belting out the song as much as she could, given the nature of the song. She could have chosen a better song to showcase her voice, but she definitely made a great choice in the arrangement. Jennifer kind of agreed with us, that she could have done more with it, been stronger.
2. Dexter Roberts, “Keep Your Hands To Yourself,” by Georgia Satellites
Y’all, here’s the thing: I don’t love country — we know this. Dexter is talented — we also know this. I don’t dispute that. But how can the judges get on everyone else’s case about switching their stuff up when Dexter goes for the same kind of song every week? Anyway, whatever!! The song was fine, he did well, whatever, whatever. Jennifer told him that he made the song his own this time, injected his personality into it, etc.
3. Malaya Watson, “Through The Fire,” by Chaka Khan
Firstly, this song reminds me, before anything else, of Kanye West‘s “Through The Wire,” where he sampled this song to great effect. Bless. Anyway, Malaya killed it, obviously. What a great girl. The judges all loved it, though they were unanimous in that she needs to chill just a tiny bit. I disagree. Malaya, as ever: you do you.
4. Jessica Meuse, “Call Me,” by Blondie
When Jessica sang this for mentor David Cook in the taped segment, he told her, “I’m just not getting any enjoyment from this,” which is equal parts harsh and hilarious, but what he meant was that Jessica doesn’t really smile or seem to have fun while she’s performing. She started off in that twangy way that she does that I normally cannot get behind, but I thought she sounded really great, quite honestly. She owned the stage better than she has in the past, too. The judges were not super enthusiastic, however, which I don’t really get.
‘American Idol’ Recap: Sam Woolf, Alex Preston, CJ Harris & Caleb Preston Perform
5. Sam Woolf, “Time After Time,” by Cyndi Lauper
Sam decided to perform this song in the middle of a bunch of girls in the audience who are literally about to turn him into a lampshade. Also, the camera is really tight on his beautiful, freckled face and I’m into it. Sammy, you’re so cute. On to more important stuff, Sam definitely proved that he deserved to still be in the competition with this performance, and the judges agreed. So glad he did well, because it would have been such a bummer for him to be in the bottom again after this!
6. Alex Preston, “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police
Alex chose a really interesting arrangement for this song, turning it into a folksy, acoustic guitar piece backed by strings. It sounded like a performance that belonged in a coffee shop in Portland — in a good way. And, OK, I swear I wrote that before we went to commercial, because when we got back, Harry told him that he needs to get away from coffeehouse kind of performances. Harry, call me. We are one. Anyway, Harry said that the coffeehouse thing makes him a great performer, but not a great entertainer, which, whatever! Alex is great! Team Alex!
7. CJ Harris, “Free Fallin’,” by Tom Petty
This was solid. His performance was helped by the fact that this is just a really, really good song, though. He slowed it down a bit from the original and made it really heartfelt. Jennifer told him that there’s no one she roots more for than him, and that no one can touch people’s hearts as much as he can.
8. Caleb Johnson, “Faithfully,” by Journey
How nice to hear a Journey cover that isn’t coming at me from the Glee cast! Last week, Caleb was told that he needed to bring it down a little bit and try out being a little quieter for once. Jennifer straight up looked like she was going to cry during his performance. This was Caleb’s best yet, and the audience seemed to agree — they went bonkers. Harry congratulated him for his use of subtlety, and Keith told him it was “killer.”
‘American Idol’ Recap — Duets
1. Alex Preston & Sam Woolf, “The Girl Is Mine,” by Michael Jackson
It’s our two best boys! Sam’s guitar game is not as strong as Alex’s, but it’s still a super fun performance. Also, I’m not going to lie — when Ryan Seacrest announced the name of the song, my brain immediately went to a place where they were about to sing “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy & Monica. CAN YOU IMAGINE?
2. Jena Irene & Caleb Johnson, “It’s Only Love,” by Tina Turner & Bryan Adams
Did you know that Tina Turner and Bryan Adams have a song together? This was the most enjoyable thing. Jena and Caleb are both hams and they were belting the song, jumping around the stage. It was dope.
3. Malaya Watson & CJ Harris, “I Knew You Were Waiting,” by Aretha Franklin & George Franklin
Anything Malaya is great, ooobviously. This wasn’t the best duet tonight, but it was still well-done and they enjoyed themselves.
4. Jessica Meuse & Dexter Roberts, “Islands In The Stream,” by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
All I could think about was Michael Scott’s version of this song. Here. You’re welcome. It was fine. Country. You know how it is.
So, HollywoodLifers, who’s got your vote for tonight? How many dollars would you donate to charity if it meant that Alex and Sam would sing “The Boy Is Mine?” (Also, remember when Ryan used to say “Seacrest, Out?!”)
— Amanda Michelle Steiner