American Idol recap: 'With the Band,' As In On the Same Stage

The Top 9 become frontmen and frontwomen, but the judges' giant gummy bear from 1972 threatens to command all the attention
Ep. 21 | Aired Mar 26, 2014

Fox

Jessica Meuse, "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac: Week after week Jessica proves to be way cooler than previously established. She's used to playing to an audience of one -- and sometimes it's not even a bartender, it's a disinterested outdoor cat. And if she's not out on gigs or playing with her animals, she's hunting. "It's a skill that you should have," said the pride of Slapout, Alabama. "When the end of the world comes, you're gonna want the redneck on your team." I love how she basically treats life like the Hunger Games, because HELLO. We all know it really is. We just don't know how to hunt. Yet.

I really liked this from Jessica -- no surprise, as I LOVE this song, and she sang it beautifully. I'm not a person who needs to compare this to every other "Rhiannon" cover or Stevie Nicks herself and then immediately dismiss Jessica for not out-performing any of those people. She's not going to do that. But this was really pretty, and as cheesy as J. Lo's comment to Jess was about the "lightness in your face" and better communication with the audience, I think she's right. The judges are hesitant to compliment her, but you really could not find much wrong with this performance. Keith did express hope that Jess would learn to be more comfortable without playing an instrument. I loved how she sang higher on the second-to-last "dreams unwind, love's a state of mind." And I love that she's so genuinely happy to be here. Her equipment is someone else's responsibility, for now.

C.J. Harris, "If It Hadn't Been For Love" by The Steeldrivers: I'm realizing more and more that this guy is just pure "do what feels good, feels right, feels like it means something." That's great in terms of passion, but in C.J.'s case, it doesn't necessarily lend itself to anything resembling a mastery of music. He knows he loves music, but it's just not going to be enough, if he keeps missing so many notes. Every time I get swept up in a few solid lines of his and appreciate his energy and gumption, he goes sharp and the bubble bursts. It's sad. His is a very pleasant bubble!

Keith's critique that C.J. needed to be careful not to confuse the "sound of expressing with the feeling of expressing" was a cool comment in general, though I don't really think that's C.J.'s problem. He is singing out of tune. I'm not sure how many other ways Harry can explain it. Super-de-duper likable guy, though. So much grey denim!

NEXT PAGE: Introducing... Sexy Airbag Caleb Johnson

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