It was an odd night, with long segments and very little singing on American Idol, even with 4 duets. It’s definitely time to stop these two-hour marathons – and this is coming from a guy who loves this show with all his heart and soul. The theme was “sing the song you sang at the audition.” That worked for about 5 of the 8. Does anyone realize we didn’t see anyone sing until about 17-minutes into the show?

“Blue Eyed Liar” is an original from Jessica that was, um, kinda missing something. She was brave and bold going with a self-penned number during the audition, but probably that song wasn’t meant for primetime. Heck, there was a point in the song that almost had awkward silence, like she always meant to go back and re-work a few lines. For me, it was painful. Luckily for her, American Idol used to be a popular show that crowned pop-stars, but because she’s never been in the bottom three, I guess she’s got big fans. The judges sorta apologized about the theme because it put her at a disadvantage, and she went first. First and forgettable as they say.

The Jena and Alex duet cover of “Just Give Me a Reason.” A good idea, as Jena has the big Pink-esque voice, but Alex doesn’t have the seasoning of that lead singer of FUN. This duet didn’t help or hurt either of them.

C.J. was always my favorite. Now I’m just bored with him. And I don’t even feel like writing about his boring, off-key performance. Sorry. Leave a comment with your own take. Yawn.

Sam Woolf sang “Lego House” at his audition way back when, and he sang it really fast. Last night, he sang it using sign language. No, actually, he slowed it down and deepened his voice. And he put a buncha lamps on stage. I just love soft, indirect lighting. Ugh. I hate overhead lights. I loved his performance (though it could’ve been the lamps). The judges (Harry, mostly) talked about how to temper his shyness and vulnerability with a little flirtatious fun. Personally, I think he should have someone come out and try and put a cape on him, like they used to do with James Brown. What I loved about the judges, is they gave Sam something …Harry wants Sam to acknowledge the screaming girls. This is like a glimpse behind the curtain of the “making of a pop star.” I guess the people who say they “hate manufactured pop stars” can see exactly what the manufacturing process looks like.

I can’t deny the Caleb and Jessica duet was spectacular. They sang “Stop Dragging My Heart Around.” I don’t like either of them to win my beloved Idol, but I don’t mind seeing them sing every now and again.

You know my rule about people singing Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, or Mariah Carey on American Idol, right? The rule is simple …you don’t do it, unless you want to be compared to them and disappoint the listening audience. But that rule does not apply to Malaya Watson singing “Ain’t No Way.” I have two words …GOOD LORD! And remember… she’s 16 years old. Sixteen!!! Her voice is so pure and natural, that’s what a gift from God looks like. So many people in this world want to be singers and vocalists and they work and practice and work and practice and they pick songs that work with their voice and shy away from other things that, well, they really can’t sing because they can’t hit the notes. They must kinda get mad or jealous when they hear Malaya, because she makes it look so easy – and she kinda really didn’t even wanna try out and audition in the first place, basically saying, hey, I’m just a kid. I don’t need this right now. The judges love, love, love her and Harry begged her, like he begs his other favorites, is to use Ricky Minor and the coaches and learn and get advice and tips. She’s soooooo safe this week.

Dexter’s Mom blows kisses at the highway billboards in their hometown. The billboards have pictures of her son Dexter on them, lest you think she just has a “thing for highway billboards.” That would be a very odd fetish – but I’ll bet you $100 someone “gets off” looking at highway billboards and I bet there’s a name for that disorder.

Note: Welcome to all my readers looking for highway billboard porn.

Dexter really is the quintessential Country, and again he did nothing special with covering “One Mississippi”, but I continue to say it’ll be enough to keep him safe. OK, he was a little better last night, mostly because he dropped the guitar and this particular song wasn’t just another hillbilly anthem, but it allowed him to appear sincere and connect emotionally with the audience. Jlo agreed and loved that it was tender and beautiful.

The Sam Woolf and Malaya (can we all start calling her by a single name, because 20 years from now she’ll just be known as “Malaya”, anyway, so let’s start now) started off shaky, but got better near the end. It’s a good thing they’re not trying to make it in the music business as a duet. Malaya’s voice is in a class of its own. I would’ve liked to see them sing something from High School Musical, actually. Those two are too cute.

Jena lamented how she was nervous at the auditions and didn’t sing, while all the other show-offs just kept singing and singing. Well, they should’ve saved their voice or sought some advice rather than just being so arrogant. Yup, I’m going back in time to slam people at the auditions that I probably didn’t even see sing. Luckily, we keep seeing Jena every week and last night she did a cool version of Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep” and changing it up was a wise idea. The only thing wrong? It wasn’t very entertaining. But I think Jena is such a front-runner, it won’t matter. Looking at the night, it’s hard to believe she’d end up in the bottom three instead of C.J., Caleb, or Sam. Right? We’ll just go with the idea that I’m right.

I wanna say C.J. and Dexter’s duet sucked, but I just don’t like hand-clappin’ Country and I don’t like songs I haven’t heard on the radio a thousand times. That’s just me.

Hmmmm. Caleb Johnson sang Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” Interesting and odd choice. His problem is, I feel like he’s trying to capture that same “wow” he got a few weeks ago when he sang the Adele song from a James Bond movie. Everyone ooo’d and aaaah’d, but now, he just sounds like he’s singing another cliche rock song. He can’t help it …that’s who he is, but “Chain of Fools” doesn’t work as a rock song, and I don’t care how big the standing ovation was and what that Keith Urban guy said, or if Jlo called it “perfect.” Nope. It all sounds the same. I actually would’ve liked it, well, Harry said it as I was typing it …something not so “loud”. Not so “rock anthem.” Caleb thinks he’s being bold by taking “non rock” songs and rocking them out. His next trick needs to be that he can sing a ballad, maybe. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I respect his talent, but his act is growing old.

And finally, we had Alex Preston. He, like Jessica, had no choice but to sing the original he wrote and performed at the audition, called “Fairy Tales” …appropriate given what the rapid rise to fame and fortune the Idol journey can be. I didn’t like Jessica’s song. I loved Alex’s song. What a cool tune full of emotion and angst, with all sorts of starts and stops and changes. This was like advanced songwriting, and he really, really took advantage of Ricky Minor and the band. I’ll bet the band had a fun week working with Alex and figuring out the best way to make it shine – and Keith noticed guys in the band singing along. I like Alex. The band likes Alex. The judges like Alex.

The bottom three are obvious, right? No, it never is. But I think it’s C.J., Sam, and Dexter. And the top three are so obviously Malaya, Jena, and Alex, it’s not even funny.

We’ll see and we’ll see you next week or tomorrow.

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