American Idol- Top 13 Recap-

It’s time for American Idol’s top 13. I’ve been a longtime fan of the show, I actually write for mjsbigblog.com, which is a really well known Idol blog (and reality TV blog). I’ve been covering So You Think You Can Dance and The X-Factor for them, and I participate in an Idol Chat with MJ herself every week.

I felt compelled to write a blog this week about the Top 13, and their performances.

1) Dexter Roberts- Aw Naw

Honestly, I’m not sure what song he sang. He didn’t announce it, and it seemed like a pretty basic performance. I agreed with Jennifer Lopez that the song wasn’t in his “sweet spot”. It was pitched too low for him. He also lacked any real charisma while performing. His country counterpart Ben Briley had a ton more charisma with his choice later, and it’s likely that only one of them will go the distance. It looks like Dexter is losing the battle for now. He needs to pick better songs moving forward (more recognizable, in a better part of his range). GRADE: C

2) Malaya Watson- Runaway Baby

The vocals were pretty bad. Josh Ledet performed this same song in Season 11, and it landed him in the bottom 3. Malaya’s vocals were much worse. If the contestants were supposed to choose songs that showcased who they wanted to be as an artist, I’m confused as to what Malaya wants in the industry. I don’t think she knows who she is yet, which will not elevate her very far in the competition. Yes, she’s a solid performer, but it won’t mean anything if the vocals aren’t there. GRADE: D

3) Kristen O’Connor- Beautiful Disaster

Her vocal was better than the first two, but she lacked any kind of connection to the song, which has been my constant problem with Kristen. I thought she sang it well, and I disagree with Harry that she was off-pitch. Maybe she missed one note that he heard, but I thought it was a pretty on point performance. It just was incredibly boring. Of all the songs from Kelly Clarkson she could have chosen, and she chose this? I don’t think Kristen sparked enough of an interest to keep her safe this week (she is a wildcard after all), and will likely be in danger, despite having technically outsung Dexter and Malaya. GRADE: C

4) Ben Briley- Folsom Prison Blues

By far the best performance “so far”. It was like a completely different show when Ben hit the stage. Not only did he have a super cool background design, but he changed up the song a bit (he sped it up), and sang the crap out of it. He also exuded stage presence, despite being glued to one spot (unlike Dexter). Ben is on pace to outlast Dexter, by a lot if he can keep up this pace. GRADE: B+

5) CJ Harris- Radio

I’m so glad he chose something not written by Ray Lamontagne. I love that it was uptempo, since CJ has mostly sung really gut wrenching ballads the whole competition. He showed stage presence he hasn’t shown before. It’s a nice comeback from a rough performance last week. I think CJ did what he needed to do to regain some of the momentum he’s lost. I agreed with Harry that the song didn’t get to highlight the best parts of CJ’s voice, but I think it was a good song choice because CJ really needed something uptempo. GRADE: B

6) MK Nobilette- Satisfaction

Interesting song choice. I’m not sure I know who MK is as an artist though, which is a problem. I feel like she hasn’t had a ton of screentime, and she had one great performance last week which easily got her a Top 13 spot in a sea of mediocre females. If we’re talking about the long run here, MK needs to step it up if she plans on making the Top 5, or really even like the top 8 or 9. I don’t think this is the kind of song she would record. I like that she showed her fun side tonight, but I didn’t like the song choice at all. I suppose she technically sang it well. She could stand to use more of the stage on an uptempo, since she’s not grounded to an instrument. GRADE: C+

7) Majesty Rose- Tightrope

I feel like this is the kind of artist that Majesty wants to be. It’s almost the same choice as Malaya choosing Runaway Baby, but it just fits Majesty better. I wish Majesty had gone back to a slower choice this week, since she hit us with an uptempo last week. Majesty is one of my favorites in the competition, and picking a Janelle Monae song shows where she fits into the industry. I think she’s more of an artist than this song allowed her to show. She basically showed Malaya how it’s done though. FINAL GRADE: B+

8) Jena Irene- The Scientist

I wish she had done this on piano like Katelyn Epperly (who was ROBBED). It was a a good performance, but it came across as lacking since I’ve seen this song covered better. A huge step forward from Paint It Black, and probably the right song for this week. I think she’s gaining ground this week, which helps, but she has to be in it for the long haul. FINAL GRADE: B

9) Alex Preston- A Beautiful Mess

Slow and sleepy isn’t a bad thing Randy, considering Alex is completely different from everything else tonight. This is my favorite Alex Preston performance of the season. It’s the first time I can say that tonight. Always try and top yourself, as well as your competition. Play to win, not to be not eliminated. If Alex keeps this up, he might see himself in the finale. I think he was in tune, I don’t know what Harry’s hearing. I normally agree with Harry, but I think he was totally wrong. It was great. FINAL GRADE: A

10) Jess Meuse- The Crow and the Butterfly

She’s interesting as a performer. Her “type” typically doesn’t do well on the show. Allison Iraheta is probably the closest thing to her that’s done well, but I’d argue Jess is grittier as a person than Allison. It felt way too short. I loved the brief glimpse of it that we got though. Very cool song choice. I think Jess lacks some stage presence, which will hurt her in the long run. She can’t just be vocally good behind a mic, she needs to find a way to break out as a performer. FINAL GRADE: B+

11) Emily PirizGlitter In The Air

I was surprised Emily made the Top 5 off her Oo La La performance. The top of this song was not in her “sweet spot” (I can’t believe I keep using that phrase). You only get like 60 seconds this week to wow America, and she spent most of the song in an unpleasant range, and only got to show off her vocals near the end. Like Kristen, I wonder if this was the best Pink song she could have chosen. I don’t think Emily thought about the lyrics at all. It was a vacant performance. Emily might survive this week, but she needs to really pick better songs, and songs that are better in her range. The last 10 seconds of the song were really good though. I’m worried that the judges overpraised her. GRADE: C

12) Sam WoolfUnwell

I think Sam is a more boring version of Alex, but he’s got the looks on his side. This was a little slow for me. I don’t know why he slowed it down. It dragged along. I agreed with Harry, it needed more grit. Keith mentioned a lack of energy, which I also agree with. Way too slow. He’ll survive this week, but again, you have to perform to win, not perform to survive. GRADE: C+

13) Caleb Johnson- Pressure In Time

My problem with Caleb is that he’s never been a really believable rocker. He feels like he went to “rock school”. This week, I think he did a lot to bridge the gap in believability. I think choosing a lesser known song was a smart move. Taylor Hicks in the audience? Wow. Caleb was pretty great, and benefited from some great staging. Actually a great way to close the show. Caleb might be a contender if he keeps this up. GRADE: A-

Who Should Be Bottom 3: Kristen, Malaya, Emily (potential surprises: CJ/Dexter/MK)Going Home: Kristen

One thought on “American Idol- Top 13 Recap-

  1. Such a disappointment. All of it. From the contestants, to the staging, to the judges. And I had such high hopes for lucky season 13

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