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

Sam Woolf, "The Lego House" by Ed Sheeran: Don't worry, Sam, I think your big head is cute! And so did most of America, since it was shown in a lot of extreme close-ups during the performance. Sam chose to do a slower version of the Ed Sheeran song, which was the exact opposite of the quicker version that Keith commented on from his first Boston audition. I didn't really notice a big tempo difference and thought the performance was good, but not good enough for this point in the competition. Sam needs to take some bigger risks and, like Harry said, embrace the girl fandom that's surrounding him instead of humbling himself by it, because it's causing him to disappear more and more each week.

The judges didn't get to comment until after the commercial break, which not only allowed them to form their thoughts more, but let Ryan have a little fun with the lamps on stage as part of Sam's set. Yes, Ryan, "clap on" lamps definitely still exist and they work no matter how big your hands are, so don't worry!

Jessica Meuse and Caleb Johnson, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty: Now this is what I'm talking about! Jessica and Caleb absolutely killed it with the duet, a perfect choice for both of their voices, and it also allowed them to show more of their personality as well. The point of performing a duet on the show is to show your ability to harmonize with others and share the stage with another singer, and that's exactly what the duo was able to do. Caleb would score their performance an 11 out of 10, and I agree! Don't ask me to pick whose hair looked better while rocking, because that would be too difficult.

Malaya Watson, "Ain't No Way" by Aretha Franklin: Malaya probably had one of the most memorable original auditions back in Detroit, mostly because of her marching band skills and big personality. Though the song is a tad too mature for the 16-year-old, her performance deservingly got Keith on his feet by the end. You would never know this girl was still in high school if you just listened to her voice, and though she is getting much better at it, she needs to be able to control herself and focus in every performance and style that she does. J.Lo said she can see Malaya blossoming and "running away with the competition," and while Harry said she was doing everything right, he again suggested that she needs to learn how to sing her runs a little better by going over each note individually. That's a pretty small detail to pick on, and overall, the performance was solid and Malaya has comfortably worked her way into a real contender.

Dexter Roberts, "One Mississippi" by Brett Eldredge: Clearly, Dexter is currently the most popular person in Alabama right now. I'm sure if I had a billboard with my face on it, my mother would blow kisses at it too, so stop bragging! But then he sang a song about Mississippi; stop playing with America's hearts! The song's vocals were good, but the performance was a little boring for me with Dexter's denim attire being washed out by the blue lights. Harry and J.Lo both commented on how well Dexter worked and sounded with the band, especially the backup singer who apparently was a finalist in 2008? 2009? Ask Ryan -- he'll Google it later. Harry was touched by the performance and commented that Dexter "needed it this week," though I'm not sure what "it" is. I think Dexter is still in danger of being in the bottom three again, based on more showy and memorable performances and the fact that he's been there before. There's only so many people in Alabama and some of them must be still voting for C.J., right?

NEXT PAGE: "I went to the store 'Dubai' some bread"

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