American Idol recap: Back to the start

The "super eight" perform duets and the original audition songs that got them to Hollywood and began their Idol journey.
Ep. 23 | Aired Apr 2, 2014

The top eight went back to the start tonight by performing the original audition song in front of the judges that earned them their golden ticket to Hollywood and started their Idol journey, which I guess was also an opportunity to go even further back and show the singers as babies and in their youth. The even number of contestants (and two-hour run time) also allowed the contestants to perform duets with each other.

But here's a tip to Idol producers: Just let those kids sing and stop asking them awkward Twitter questions about whether they like each other. Let's get this over with: THEY ARE ALL BEST FRIENDS AND LOVE EACH OTHER AND WANT THE SAME THING AND THERE IS NO COMPETITION (EVEN THOUGH IT'S A COMPETITION). Hearing songs we've already heard them sing wasn't necessarily the most exciting idea ever, but it did give a good opportunity to directly compare some of the progress, or lack thereof, of the "super eight."

Jessica Meuse, "Blue Eye Lie" by Jessica Meuse: I think Jessica has gotten better each week as she is getting more comfortable with the crowd and the logistics of what it means to be performing on a singing competition. Jessica again performed her original tune that had Keith worshiping her shoulder skills from her first audition in Atlanta. Obviously, the song was a lot different with the band playing with her, and I think for the better. This is exactly the type of songs Jessica should be singing: Sh had just the right amount of angst and edge that will still show off her creativity and musical skills. I guess she needs to start writing more, then. The judges were pretty much in agreement and thought it was a great start to the show, with Jennifer even calling the performance "really perfect." Keith seems to have moved on from Jessica's shoulders and wants her to move around more while on stage, but Harry disagreed and thought it was a cool presentation.

C.J. Harris, "Soul Shine" by the Allman Brothers Band: "This will be better than my original audition, I promise you." C.J. made it clear that he knew his first audition wasn't perfect back in Salt Lake City. J.Lo said there were a lot of things wrong with it, but they could be fixed. Well, what a great opportunity to test out that theory! All three judges agreed that most of the problems were solved, the main one being C.J.'s recent tune and pitch problems while performing. Though it wasn't perfect, his pitch was better than in the past couple of weeks. He has definitely been working each week to improve, but I just don't think he has a strong enough personality to win over his inconsistent style of performing. Jen said she was rooting for him and that he touches her heart, but since C.J. has been in the bottom before, I don't know if this performance was strong enough to convince anyone who wasn't already rooting for him to be a fan now.

Jena Irene and Alex Preston, "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink and Nate Ruess: I actually gasped out loud when Ryan announced before the commercial break that Alex and Jena would be singing this song. I was so excited and expectations were already high for the first duet. And just as quickly, my hopes were crushed. I respect Alex for always changing things up and making it his own, but to me, it's beginning to look more like insecurity versus an artistic choice. I did not like the arrangement at all, and at points, it sounded like the two were singing in different keys. It got better at the end, but the original version would have served the two much better. The judges didn't comment on any of the duet performances, so they didn't get to give a reason either way.

NEXT PAGE: Ryan gets his clap on in Sam's "Lego House"


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