Nothing provides me with lack of excitement like the week following Kelly Clarkson night on American Idol. I’ve got the post-KC blues, and this episode probably isn’t just what the doctor ordered. Yet in the spirit of all things Ryan Seacrest, I shall carry on…
We begin with the introduction of this week’s guest mentors, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo. The video intro highlights their careers, and they deliver the results envelope to Seacrest. As we get a lengthy exchange between them, it’s clear that the producers have two hours to fill and are grasping at straws. Our theme this week is Billboard Hits, and our hopefuls dream of one day gracing the sacred Billboard charts.
The first name called is Jax. Oh look, black leather, chains, and biker gloves. I didn’t expect that from her at all. (Sometimes my fingers are sarcastic when I’m typing, without even asking.) I give her bonus points for her amazing ponytail, though. Jax gives us Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” and to me it feels like she is performing as Joey Cook performing Gaga. Keith thinks it’s an “interesting arrangement,” and Jennifer is concerned about Jax going so far left that people won’t relate. (I think she just crossed that line.) Harry believes there is magic in her voice, but doesn’t think she owned the performance.
Next up, we get Nick Fradiani, who brings to life a different version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” He appears confident and comfortable while performing this song, and I love it. This is easily my favorite performance of his thus far. While Harry would’ve liked him to choose a song with “grittier” lyrics, Keith thought it was “killer” and loved the spirit of the song. (So did I, Mr. Kidman.)
Jason Derulo takes the stage to perform a new single, and I’m sorry I don’t have more to say about that.
The next name called is Quentin Alexander, who mysteriously looks ten years younger this week. Has he been drinking from the fountain of Electric Youth, and if so, where can I find it? He performs “Latch” by Disclosure featuring Ed Sheeran, which is an unknown song to me. (Remember folks, I am all about the country and teeny-bopper pop genres.) While I don’t know this song, I think Quentin sounds good singing it. Harry doesn’t feel it was his best vocal, but thinks it was a strong song choice. J.Lo thinks he is an artist with a capital A. (So I guess that would be Artist.)
Florida Georgia Line takes the stage next to perform their new single, “Sippin’ on Fire” (ouch.) I agree with many people who think their songs all sound similar, but I kind of like when artists have their own style like that. I think I kind of like them, but I’m afraid to say it out loud and in public. (So I’ll just type it here, and deny that I am this Jimmie Taylor if ever confronted in front of other people about this.)
Taking the fourth spot is Joey Cook, and she comes in like a “Wrecking Ball.” (Sorry, I had to.) I think she sounds good, as usual, but I think I just got burned out on this song back when Miley was blowing up the charts (and the tabloids) with it. Jennifer likes that this season of Idol brings so many differences in music stylings, and thinks Joey is the epitome of being different. Harry thought it was an “OK” vocal, but was bored toward the end.
My Clark Beckham (yes, I have laid claim to him) is called next, bringing us another Ed Sheeran song for the night, “Make it Rain.” (Wow, outside of “Lego House” I have really been in the dark about this Sheeran character.) I don’t know the song, and find it to be quite boring, but Clark sounds excellent. Jennifer loves that he makes it all look so “amazing and effortless”, but she wants him to start looking the part. She believes she can see him in the finals, but warns him that his style and image have to fit what he’s selling on the stage. (I tend to agree.)
Next up, we get a guest performance from Iggy Azalea featuring Idol alum Jennifer Hudson. (Jennifer Hudson is a shining example of what can still happen even if you don’t win American Idol.) I’ve never heard this song (I promise I listen to the radio!), but I enjoy the performance. I’m not a big Iggy fan, but this number gets me pumped up for the May 5th release of her new single with Britney Spears, “Pretty Girls.”
Seacrest announces that this year’s Idol Top 5 will embark on a summer tour, and it looks like public education isn’t the only thing suffering from budget cuts. (Gone are the days of the Idol Top 10 tour, I guess.)
Tyanna Jones is called to take the sixth spot, and J.Lo worries that Tyanna has lost her way the last couple of weeks. I think she’s extraordinary, but have to agree with that. She brings us “Stay” by Rihanna, and it’s more than just an Idol performance for her; it’s a dedication to her grandmother who has passed away. I can see Tyanna feel the emotion as she performs, and it’s extremely touching. As she breaks down in tears after the song, Jennifer thinks “everything came together in the right way.” Tyanna is back in the game.
We are left with two contestants, and only one spot to fill. Rayvon Owen and Qaasim Middleton will battle it out for the fan save. Rayvon brings the gravy this week with “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele, and pretty much sets fire to the stage with his vocals. Qaasim, after last week’s “worst performance of my life,” brings us Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” I don’t see anything original brought to this performance, and it almost feels like a parody. (Come and get me, mama.)
After the five minute twitter vote, it’s curtains for Qaasim, and Rayvon is spared for the second week in a row (Hallelujah!). Winner of the night for me? Nick Fradiani.
[Photo via FOX]