American Idol recap: Behind the Funky Candelabras

Jason Mraz mentors the final five singing America's picks as things get funky and dark.
Ep. 32 | Aired Apr 30, 2014

Alex, Sam, and Jena, "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors: Oh boy, another #idoltrio that the judges won't even talk about, so I won't spend too much time on it either. Jena started the song on stage as the awkward boy #1 and #2 emerge from the audience like musical hipster sharks treading through a sea of fangirls. I think Sam even got caught up dancing with one and showed some personality. But that was, of course, before they all got on stage and froze up. Keith seemed to be enjoying it more than the three of them, but they were all playing into the cameras too much anyway.

Jessica Meuse, "Human" by Christina Perri: This song is difficult to sing for anyone, especially the beginning, which I think may have been a little too low for Jessica. It definitely showed a vulnerable side to her that we haven't really seen before, but it also revealed again her biggest and now self-admitted flaw: She doesn't know how to perform. Jason tried to teach her a couple of things to do, like different ways to hold her guitar, but I thought the performance was just okay. There were definitely some pitch issues, but like Harry, they didn't bother me as much as a general lack of passion. It never looks like Jessica wants to be on stage when she is performing, and she has been lucky that she has been able to stick around for enough weeks to improve more and more, but eventually time is gonna catch up with her and she's only human -- she's not going to change everything at once.

Sam Woolf, "Sing" by Ed Sheeran: Sam promised he would get funky for America with the relatively new song. Sam definitely loosened up a bit after his own crush Ariana Grande surprised him by delivering his mic on stage before his performance. I won't comment on Ariana's outfit, but she was definitely dressed for sweater weather and nothing else. The heartthrob of the group is still struggling to show off his personality, but this song is also really tough and he did a good job, all things considered. Keith noted that he didn't have a strong enough falsetto in his wheelhouse for part of the song, but he definitely did something different and I'll give him a little credit for that. But let's be honest: Sam can't really give up the funk, 'cause he doesn't have any to spare. Harry brought up the idea of singing in the pocket again and said that he felt that Sam diffused the funk behind him instead of bringing it out. The judges pretty much have been saying the same things to him every week about his performing, and like Jessica, he's trying to change but it's gonna take time. I think since he was saved by the judges, he's been able to afford himself a little more time to learn, but could still be in trouble this week.

Jena Irene, "My Body" by Young the Giant: Where's Waldo Jena? Though she started in the audience, Jena and her red-stripe shirt were all over the place with this one. J.Lo liked that Jena is starting to form her own signature style. Jena flirted her way through her mentoring session with Jason, but obviously learned something when she proclaimed that the only way to rise to the top is to feel genuinely comfortable on stage. Keith certainly liked it, calling it "killer" and giving it a standing ovation. I don't know why Harry said that his critiques are just based on one performer and not everyone else; isn't that the point of a competition, to compare the differences? Either way, he said that Jena was probably the most comfortable on stage than anyone else, which isn't saying much at this point. There is no doubt that Jena can sing and perform well, but now I'd like to see her surprise us a little too and maybe keep her arms down while she performs next time.

NEXT PAGE: The burden of a duet


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