On the April 2 episode of ‘American Idol’, the Top 8 performed the songs that got them into the competition in the first place! Not only did the ‘Idol’ hopefuls go back to basics, but they also performed some pretty killer duets.
American Idol is now filling up its two-hour time slot in earnest — not only will the Top 8 be performing individually with the songs that sent them to Hollywood in the first place, but we’ll be watching duets, too! Jena Irene and Alex Preston, in particular, performed a stellar duet of “Just Give Me A Reason” that’s a must-watch. And ladies, Malaya Watson is stepping to your man Sam Woolf! They performed “Lucky” and it was seriously adorable.
‘American Idol’ Recap: Jessica Meuse, CJ Harris & Sam Woolf Perform
1. Jessica Meuse, 23, “Blue-Eyed Lie,” by Jessica Meuse
Jessica is the first of two contestants to sing an original song, as they did in their audition. The song is really not our jam, but it showcases her vocals better than any other song has since the finals. Keith Urban told her it was great but that, essentially, she can’t be so reliant on her guitar as a prop — there’s a lot of emotion, but she is glued into place on stage. Jessica was so pumped that they liked her original song — it was really endearing.
2. CJ Harris, 23, “Soul Shine” by Allman Brothers Band
Hey guys, remember when CJ was really interesting and charming and great? His first audition did a lot — as far as we’re concerned — to endear us to him, but he’s been very much so-so in the finals. Harry Connick Jr. was overwhelming in his praise, telling him how smart he is to work on his pitch and then when — not if — he gets a record deal, it will be amazing because they won’t need to auto-tune the life out of his voice.
3. Sam Woolf, 17, “Lego House,” by Ed Sheeran
Sam performed with along with about thirty lamps. Literally who designed this set? Why are there so many lamps? Are we misreading this song? Anyway. We digress. For his first audition, Sam sang a more sped-up version of this song, but he slowed it back down for his performance tonight and it sounded fantastic. Harry told him that he’s been told that he needs to correct for the wrong thing — it’s not confidence he needs, but to connect with the audience. All he needs to do is pick one person to look at and it will make all the difference. We’re honestly not sure if Sam is able to make eye contact with anybody, let alone a girl about to climb him like a tree.
‘American Idol’ Recap: Malaya Watson, Dexter Roberts & Jena Irene Perform
4. Malaya Watson, 16, “Ain’t No Way,” by Aretha Franklin
Important things first: Malaya’s dad could get it. Second, Malaya is like, 1000 percent cooler than we are. Third, we just realized that she was born in 1997. A human this talented cannot have been born in the latter half of the 1990s. Anyway, she was amazing, obviously. She has so much power in her voice. Jennifer Lopez told her that she’s turning into a star, gaining so much poise and control.
5. Dexter Roberts, 22, “One Mississippi,” by Brett Eldredge
Dexter did that thing he does where he sang a country song very well! The judges liked it a lot! Dexter complimented the backing band, which was very nice and professional. Aw man, we’re sorry, you guys — we’re just not wowed by him. But we totally get his appeal if you’re into his whole country thang — the judges certainly like him!
6. Jena Irene, 17, “Rolling In The Deep,” by Adele
I mean, we don’t need to tell you that this was dope, right? It was. She sang “Rolling In The Deep” in a way that we haven’t really seen before, which is hard to do with such an immensely popular song. It was almost haunting.
‘American Idol’ Recap — Caleb Johnson & Alex Preston Perform
7. Caleb Johnson, 22, “Chain Of Fools,” by Aretha Franklin
This was grrreat. As Keith told him, Caleb “delivers every week,” which he does. His performances used to be a bit rote until the judges called him on it and told him to stop sticking to old rock classics, and he’s definitely switching it up. However, Harry encouraged him to sing a bit more softly next time, because the know he can do “loud.”
8. Alex Preston, 20, “Fairy Tales,” by Alex Preston
We know we’re totally biased and Team Alex all the way, but like, this was just really good. We didn’t love this original song when he auditioned with it, but he’s grown a lot as a performer and “Fairy Tales” really showed off his vocal skills! Call us converts. The judges were similarly pleased.
‘American Idol’ Recap — The Idols Perform Duets
Jena Irene & Alex Preston, “Just Give Me A Reason,” by Pink feat. Nate Ruess
Oh my gosh, it’s our favesies Jena and Alex singing a song together! What a treat. They sounded fantastic, although Jena’s vocals kind of smoked his — but that’s the nature of her vocal stylings vs. his. Too bad we won’t hear about what the judges thought! Click here to listen ’cause you should.
Jessica Meuse & Caleb Johnson, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” by Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty
These duets are fun! This song is a good choice for these two — they sounded great.
Malaya Watson & Sam Woolf, “Lucky,” Colbie Caillat & Jason Mraz
We are overwhelmed by good fortune with these duets. Malaya played this like a diva, making flirty eyes at Sam and circling him around the stage. It was the cutest thing on the planet. Jennifer looked about as filled with utter delight as we are.
Dexter Roberts & CJ Harris, “Alright,” by Darius Rucker
Their performance was… alright. Hahaha, get it? Good one. No, but really. It was fine.
What did you think of the performances this week, HollywoodLifers? Who went back to basics and killed it, and who… not so much? Did you love the duets? Do you think Malaya Watson will be our friend?
– Amanda Michelle Steiner