This is the Top 6 for American Idol Season XIII.
It seems a much more exciting start than we've seen for a while. I'm not sure quite why but Harry nd Keith seem particularly popular. Ryan tells us that this week it'll be a little bit Country and a little bit Rock 'n Roll. So that's CJ stuffed then.
Jena starts with Barracuda, sharing the vocals very briefly with someone who I presume did it first. That was a strong performance but lacked something to remember her by other than the trousers which really should have been black leather and not black and white check. That wasn't as good as last week but it was competent.
Luckily they get two shots tonight.
Sam's next up and does soem track that suits him pretty well about Never Changing Who I Am. He is forgetting Harry's advice about looking at the girls and seemed to be so well-occupied with remembering what he is supposed to be doing that he didn't communicate that well. That's a pity because he is singing remarkably well and has built up a huge amount of support with lots of pretty teens in the audience clearly in love with the chap. He really has the looks and that will help him along no doubt. He is good too. But he must let go. Like the panel said to Jena, they're all holding back too much.
I don't know if that was Rock or Country.
CJ is on third. Nice chap. Doing American Woman. That's a good track from long ago and definitely Rock. But no, that didn't look right. He had a good vocal but that was boring. He held a guitar and occasionally did a riff or two but they were pretty useless efforts in the Rock vein. Keith gets it in one: he says how it's a badass song but he sang it without any meaning at all. CJ needs a good Country performance or he's out. No way can a potential American Idol deliver such a dodgy performance at this stage of the competition. If they don't make us sit up and take notice for the right reasons then they're not going to make the final. So far, interestingly, I would say only Sam has approached making me sit up and take notice but even he didn't hold my attention for long.
Alex, maybe, can do himself some good here by putting on something special. He should be able to pick something special - that is a talent he's shown to date that he has in spades so I'm expecting something good and something authentic. Animal by Neon Trees? Who? What? OK, let's find out. Er. I don't know what to say about that. Bits showed how good he can be but other bits showed some bad sides, like little communication of any meaning. It seems a commercial number that people could sing along with but that's about it. He was not really there and he looked very uncomfortable. Just like CJ. So he's in trouble and needs a good Country song as well.
Caleb is in his element with the Rock number and performs a frantic Black Crowes number. It's like he knew it by heart whereas the others have had to rehearse and try to remember the words and moves. The best by far so far - totally annihilating the others' efforts which looked pathetic in comparison. Very good indeed, even if the song didn't mean a great deal. Harry congratulates him. I liked the bit where he was on his knees and one of the backing singers ruffled his hair!
Jessica has to follow that? I guess if anyone can she can. Tonight she needs to get some points back from Jena too. And she does so in style. I have always seen Grace Slick in some of her performances and now she does Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane. Excellent. It ends a bit suddenly which is a shame as I was enjoying that.
I still think she could have expressed the lyrics better and I would love to see her continue as she has so much going for her - we just need that 'release' as Keith calls it. I want to see her doing something that she is totally comfortable with and that she doesn't have to think about. Get me the lyrics. I need her to speak to me.
Ryan shows us how they're doing with the votes at the half-way stage. Jena is out in front. That's interesting after such a good Caleb job.
Now for the Country shots. Sam's first. A familiar tune - Still The One but he looks so worried, almost as if he is scared of forgetting the words. He goes to the audeience but you feel that he's doing that on a cue and it's not as natural as it ought to be. The guy is just 18 today and is really having to cope with his new-found appeal. Relax, Keith advises. That's so necessary. The song was OK.
Caleb next. He's doing a Carrie Underwood number. I'd simply love to see him do Blown Away but it's Undo It. It sounds like something from a similar vein anyway and suits him fine. Unlike all the others so far, this guy does try to connect and seems to comprehend just what he is singing about. He has a birthday too today. 23. Still pretty young. That was OK and he surely has to fly through to the Top 5.
Alex says he's doing Always On My Mind which is a superb song. This fits him like a glove. I hear Paul Simon in his voice and also some more modern influences. That was good. Quite a brave performance of such a classic. That lifted him to #2 after Caleb tonight. You do feel that he cares about the song he sings and the way he delivers it. Keith makes a fair point that he didn't quite get the power across of the meaning but then few have tonight.
I worry a bit about his popularity with voters as evidenced by the half-time placings. That should have helped him.
Now it's Jena. She has also chosen Carrie Underwood and sings So Small. For me that could be the best performance of the night. She sang that almost perfectly and all the feelings came across which so many of the others have failed to do. Very very good job. She has to move through. She also had the leather trousers, strangely enough. The make-over team have done an excellent job with her, Harry isn't that impressed which is surprising. She is very natural and she takes #1 for me tonight. If only Jessica could get the same passion out there.
CJ now doing a Zack Brown Band number Whatever It Is. That seems much more like his kinda number. Nice job and he won't have done any harm with that. He hasn't had the best of nights and needed to make a mark tonight with at least one track. Nice chap but I can see him going because Alex has probably saved himself, Sam has so many fans now and did well both times and Jena and Caleb should romp home. Just Jessica left to compete with.
But Jessica plays a trump card with Dolly Parton's Jolene. I do wish she'd moved a bit but she sang it very well and she did communicate it well. This was a good job and will have blown CJ's chances of staying. Two super songs. I put her Top 3 this week, that should appeal sufficiently to enough people for her to be safe.
And, yes, the results confirm what I'd expected. Caleb, Sam, Alex and Jena take the Top 4. Jessica is 5th and we say farewell to CJ in 6th place. As has so often been the case this series, people have been doing their very best performances as they go! Until he lost it emotionally, CJ was doing a superb job of his farewell number. Maybe had he chosen similar tracks for his earlier performances he would ahve stayed a lot longer.