Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Top 5

It's a nice change to watch this without having seen a tweet or spoiler somewhere during the day! That's the problem with being a British writer across The Pond and usually only getting to see the programmes a few days after transmission. Although I cursed Channel 5 for dropping American Idol some months back I am actually now quite glad because good people put the shows on You Tube pretty damn quickly and I am as close to being up to date as I'll ever be.

So it's down to Caleb. Jessica, Jena. Sam and Alex to fight it out and see who gets the title this year.

America chooses something to do with a Sweater by The Neighbourhood for Alex. No idea what that is but we know he chooses really well. Normally. So let's hope America does too. It suited him but he is still not an easy watch. As an artist he's great to listen to and spot on with the tone and what the song means. A nice job. Is it enough tp get him to the Top 4. I don't know, which means much will depend on what the others do. Harry is rightly impressed with how Alex remembered all the words to a complex song having only heard it a couple of times before. That's a talent for a start!

Caleb gets I Don't Want To Miss A Thing. Is that Aerosmith? Ooh er. Dodgy start. Not like him to be off key so obviously but then it's a slow start to this song. He needs to get to that main section quickly and hope that he can belt that out and get the voters to forget all that. This is not going well. Finally he gets into the groove but it's a bit late and whilst he'll get credit for some big notes that didn't impress me at all. Jennifer says "that was a challenging song for you..." which says a lot. Harry and Keith are pretty polite but don't come out with the wow review that you'd expect from a Top 5 performer. So neither of the two guys have really done much so far. If anything Alex may have a small lead. Surprising. I thought Caleb would have totally killed that.

Jessica gets Human by Katy Perry. Nice and Jason Mraz is a good mentor. This song really should suit her, I just hope she finally gets the lyrics across. This is her make-or-break week. Wow. Now that was good. Excellent - her best all Season and I can see that helping her along the way. Subject, of course, to what the others do and their second songs. Great.

{For some odd reason her performsance wasn't in the main YouTube video so I've added it separately.)

Sam has an Ed Sheeran number, Sing. With his colleagues faltering a bit he could even secure his place in the Top 4 if he does well here. Puppies take over the screen briefly and won't do much harm for his votes! He gets to meet his dream date and that's the delightful Ariana Grande. My goodness she is so pretty! Hope he can concentrate after that!

He really has improved a lot in confidence over the weeks. He is also quite 'modern' and could be someone that a record company would love to have on board. This is a competent performance. Not a brilliant song, in my view, that fails to show off his talents as well as it might but he copes well and I would place him an easy 2nd so far tonight.

Jena has My Body. It's a good choice by America and it was a stroke of genius by the make-over team to put her in tight jeans and a super red and white stripe t-shirt. That looked very cool and young. the track went on a bit but she danced extremely well without moving around as much as you'd think she should. Just straight, simple movements make it look as if she really is happy there. Harry says that she is the one who does 'move'. That'll do her good. Possibly enough to put her in the lead, even though it was a less than memorable song itself.

Caleb & Jessica do a duet of the Stones' Beast of Burden.

Alex's second song is the marvellous Say Something that is from A Great Big World but was, of course, what won Alex & Sierra the crown in X Factor USA at Christmas, This is such a good song and Alex performs it very very well. The girl needs credit too, of course, whoever she was. Nice. Not, interestingly, as impressive as a duo would be but that was good enough, hopefully, to keep him in and that could be bad news for one of the others. The question is which!

I do wish that trouser fashion would go away, though. That and the artificially controlled hair seem wrong for this guy.

Jena sings Valerie which is very well known and I was wondering just what she would make of this tricky song for almost anyone other than Amy Winehouse to do. She manages well and I do like the way she is moving now and the more I watch her the more I feel that she might just take this thing. Looks like this is also missing from the video so a separate one included.

The Fray are Sam's next performance and their wonderful How To Save A Life. Now he manages to get his own feelings across in this track and that's made such a difference to his chances. This toos eems to be missing from the video so it's included here.

A good choice for him and I feel that he may have enough fans well enough pleased with tonight's performances to keep him in.

The two to go still may well be the two who have to fight hardest to stay tonight. I have admired both Jessica and Caleb so far but they need to up their game.

Jessica is given Summertime Sadness, a Lana Del Rey song. So good. Her voice is perfect for that and it came across so well. Harry says how perfect that was for her. Could that make the difference? She needed that and Keith mentions how she got the David Lynch darkness in the song too. I like her. I would love to see her make the Top 4 but will it be at Caleb's expense?

Whitesnake's Still Of The Night is the choice of many, we're told, for Caleb. I am not sure I would trust heavy metal fans' choice of tracks to win votes on American Idol. They may have lots of great songs but is this the one to get Caleb in the Top 4? Well, it may just be. He did put everything into that and both Keith and Jennifer were up dancing and the crowd went crazy. So maybe that is a sign that he's going to be safe. OK, so that made up for the poor start. Which kind of leaves us without much of a clue as to who will, in fact, go.

Normally I would expect there to be enough Country votes out there to keep the Country act in. This year there isn't an out-and-out Country act but, of anyone, it is Jessica who should benefit from that. Sam will win the teen girls' vote and Alex gets the cool vote, I think. Jena and Caleb cross over the rock boundary, albeit from slightly different directions. there may not be room for both of them and one may go, despite their excellent performances tonight.

So if I had to put a bet on tonight I would be inclined to say it will be Jessica, based purely on the fact that she has been at the lower end of the voting register quite often in glimpses we've seen and, of course, was bottom two last week. If she does survive, though, then Caleb may be a surprise exit.