American Idol recap: Perform like a fanny pack

David Cook mentors the top eight for '80s night; Harry slowly starts losing it.
Ep. 25 | Aired Apr 9, 2014

Alex Preston, "Every Breath You Take" by The Police: Alex said he wanted to switch the song up a little bit and make it his own. And in other news, the sky is blue. Alex is a true musician and I respect him trying to change things every week, but for once he should have stayed true to the original. The beginning made the song unrecognizable, and J.Lo thought the arrangement took the soul out of it. Well, that's not what Jason Mraz thought, J.Lo, so HA! Alex casually had coffee with the singer and sent him the arrangement of the song for some feedback. What, American Idol season 7 champ David Cook isn't enough for you? The string quartet was really nice and worked well with Alex's simple and controlled vocals, but Harry made a great point that Alex is a good performer but not a good entertainer, and warned him that his coffeehouse treatment of every song may catch up to him soon. I think that's unfortunately the case with most of the contestants this season. They know how to perform and sing well but struggle to take it to the next level and bring something more to the stage.

Dexter Roberts and Jessica Meuse, "Islands in the Stream" by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers: Since the judges don't really care that much about the duets, Harry and Keith both took the opportunity to go into the audience. It wasn't a very exciting pick for either of them, and J.Lo remained sitting in her seat the entire time alone. Could you imagine what would happen if J.Lo went into the audience randomly? Her hair is too valuable for that! Dexter and Jessica joined J.Lo at the judges' table (because Ryan told them too) and jokingly judged their own performance (and Ryan's suit). Aren't there, like, notes up there from the judges though? You can't see that! That's totally cheating! Well, I guess it actually means nothing.

No '80s-themed show would be complete without a little Madonna sing-along. Keith and Harry led the audience in "Like a Virgin," while J.Lo was really getting into it, messing up her hair. No worries, though, because Harry knows that J.Lo always needs a personal hair blower -- as in someone to blow on her face -- and apparently Harry is the best in the business.

C.J. Harris, "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty: I don't want to beat a tone-deaf horse, but C.J.'s intonation troubles are getting a little ridiculous at this point. There are many logistics of singing on a live national television show that I am not familiar with, but if he isn't used to it all by now, how is he ever going to win this thing? I thought the whole performance was pretty boring and fell flat in more ways than one. It also seemed like C.J. was losing his breath without doing much. J.Lo said she was rooting for C.J. with each note, which sounds a little obsessive to me. I agree with the judges that C.J. has a quality in his performances that the other contestants don't have, in that he can reach the audience in a heartfelt way. But the emotion can't be everything if you ain't got the right note coming out! Keith said he had a survivor quality to his voice, like he has risen up from something to get to where he is now. After that performance, I think this could be as far as he goes.

Caleb Johnson, "Faithfully" by Journey: Remember when Randy Jackson was in Journey? Doesn't matter, because it's a good opportunity for Ryan to play around with shiny spandex on camera. Caleb wanted to make some old ladies cry with the classic hit, and my only complaint about the entire thing was that it was a little too classic. Expectations were really high for Caleb this week, because the theme fit so well into his wheelhouse and the songs he's already been performing. Harry said he anticipated a strong, consistent, powerful vocal and was proud that Caleb was also able to bring an element of subtlety that had been missing before. J.Lo continued to crush on him and sang along the entire time. Somehow, Keith was able to compare the performance to a fanny pack. Not exactly sure how that relates, something about being functional versus fashionable? I disagree and think he needs to more like a simple messenger bag: easy to take with you and reliable, but also can be surprising and fun too. OK, yeah, I lost myself in that metaphor too.

So someone is definitely going home tomorrow. I think C.J. and Sam may be in trouble again. Who do you think rocked it out tonight? Talk it out in the comments!

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