Can the band make a difference on American Idol?
This week the Top 9 sang with the band on stage with them (as opposed to just near them?) in hopes that the energy will help their (thus far) tepid performances. Yeah, it sounds like a pretty lame theme to us too. How did they do? Let's take a look:
Song: "Don't Speak" by No Doubt
The performance: Alex absolutely puts his own spin on the ska-pop hit by emphasizing reggae-inspired rhythms and phrasing. We're impressed at how well this works. We could kick back and drink a tropical drink to this.
The judges say: Keith Urban appreciates Alex's chill vibe, but wants more edge in the vocals and some unpredictability. Jennifer Lopez thinks it's a little too low energy. Harry Connick, Jr. thinks Alex is so good that he should try and stretch himself by moving around the stage more.
Song: "Shake It Out" by Florence + the Machine
The performance: First of all, we're digging her in that pin-striped romper. So adorable. While this isn't Majesty's most moving performance, it works for her energy and vocals (however shaky they may be while she hits that tambourine and dances about). A fun and good effort, if a little uneven.
The judges say: J.Lo says it's vocally "all over the place," but performance-wise it's a 10. Harry says she's so different stylistically week to week that maybe that's why fans can connect, but still thinks it's a strong performance. Keith gives props to the song choice
Song: "Boondocks" by Little Big Town
The performance: He always has a good voice and does a solid performance, but we're just so bored. Dexter just doesn't stand out.
The judges say: Harry says it's generic and too rhythm-driven. Keith gives Harry a ginormous gummy bear (which J.Lo also bites seductively), and the whole interlude is kind of insulting to Dexter. Finally the critique: Keith says he could hear that on the radio. Jen wants him to change it up also.
Song: "The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles
The performance: And here we thought we wouldn't get any Beatles this season without that theme week! Malaya's white pantsuit is awesome and is an indication of the more mature approach to performance. It's simple and yet so powerful. Way to go, Malaya!
The judges say: Keith says her vibrato brings out her personality. J.Lo is blown away. Harry says she's consistently grown.
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Song: "Hey There Delilah" by the Plain White T's
The performance: Sam does his acoustic thing, and although he's not Mr. Energy yet, he does seems a lot more comfortable. Maybe singing with the band works! It's a pleasing performance all around. We want to pat his head. He's grown so much!
The judges say: J.Lo thinks the song choice is perfectly suited to his style, but didn't think he connected. Who is your Delilah, Sam? (Apparently, his grandma.) Harry thinks the stripped-down arrangement is smart and then gives a pep talk on being assertive. Keith tells Sam to loosen up his voice.
Song: "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac
The performance: This is kind of a no-brainer for Jessica who totally has a Stevie Nicks vibe to her voice. She does well, but it's kind of like a really good karaoke performance to us. We would've wanted a little something different.
The judges say: This is Harry's favorite performance by Jessica because he felt something slightly different, but doesn't really specify what that is. Keith says that this song doesn't really lend itself to a stage performance. Jen wants the emotion amped up a little.
Song: "If It Hadn't Been for Love" by The Steel Drivers
The performance: This sort of upbeat yet soulful side of CJ feels fresh, and we're kind of digging it. Of the 'Bama boys, we'll give it to CJ over Dexter.
The judges say: Keith cautions CJ to express emotion by feeling it, not making his voice sound like the emotion. J.Lo can't put her finger on what was off. Harry co-signs on Keith's tip and adds that CJ really needs to focus on pitch. Yikes.
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Song: "Dazed and Confused" by Led Zeppelin
The performance: This is totally in Caleb's wheelhouse and really shows off his flair for drama. It gets the crowd going, but we're still trying to figure out what his unique thing is.
The judges say: Jen says she got the sexy from him for the first time. Harry thinks that Caleb set the bar high. Keith says that the theme for this performance should be "The Band Is with Caleb," which isn't as catchy, but totally encapsulates his frontman skills.
Song: "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence
The performance: This sort of soaring church-y vocal is Jena's forte, so if you like that kind of thing, it's good. The straight locks completes her rockin' look and performance, but it also detracts a bit when she keeps brushing wisps of hair out of her face. She seems to get a little winded by the end.
The judges say: Harry brings up his "next to closing" speech, which is a roundabout way of giving her a compliment, since she followed Caleb's performance well. Keith says she always delivers. J.Lo agrees with us regarding the hair fixing. Let yourself be messy, girl.
Who rocked it? Who should go home? Did the band help or hinder the singers?
The American Idol results will air Thursday at 9/8c on Fox.