American Idol recap: Wildcard vs. Wildchild

Jena and Caleb take to the stage of the Nokia Theatre to try and rock the vote one last time.
Ep. 38 | Aired May 20, 2014

"We Are One" by Jena Irene: For the first time, all of America could listen to the finalists' potential debut singles ahead of the finale, which meant that the judges could too. So I guess that meant they already had thoughts about the songs, because they weren't really given much time to share them in the final moments of the show. Regardless, both songs actually do have some potential outside of the Idol world, but I think Jena's has the slight contemporary edge. In her final performance for votes, Jena owned every single part of that stage, and I mean Every. Single. Part. I wish she would have stayed in one place for a little bit longer for the cameramen's sake, instead of wandering around the judges and the fake Prince Harry from that other Fox reality show. However, I think it might end up being her victory lap. Whether shouting and thanking the audience and America mid-song or her exuberant smile, you could tell that Jena was having fun and enjoying every single moment and completely taking ownership of who she is as a performer and an artist -- and maybe even as an American Idol.

"As Long As You Love Me" by Caleb Johnson: When I first listened to both recordings of the coronation songs, I actually preferred Caleb's, even though he was still sick when he recorded it last week. However, for me, the performance just seemed to lose a little steam. Not sure if he felt defeated from the negative comments he had from the last performance, but I expected a lot more for his swan song. Because the arrangement and melody are still fresh to my ears, I couldn't tell at certain moments if Caleb had made a mistake, or maybe lost his breath or the beat at a moment or two. The whole thing felt a little disjointed, and I was honestly disappointed with how Caleb ended the season. Harry and J.Lo disagreed on whether Caleb should be able to sleep tonight based on his nerves. Harry also compared this final battle between Caleb and Jena to the fight of the century between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, respectively. Frazier beat Ali in 15 rounds, though. My guess is after 13 weeks, Jena will remain the knockout.

The show ended with a surprise duet between Jena and Caleb performing Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" with a video montage playing in the background before the rest of the top 13 (minus MK?) joined the pair onstage. It seemed they only kept Jena and Caleb's mics on though, so better luck next time -- which luckily for all of you is Wednesday night's grand finale. But let's be honest: It's also probably going to be a lot of their last time too.

Well, that's all, folks. On Wednesday, the winner will be showered and confetti'd at the end of a two-hour show that will include probably more performances than necessary. However, I am really excited about the judges' collaboration with Randy, which will hopefully involve J.Lo calling Harry and Keith her papi over and over again.

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