C.J. Harris, "Invisible" by Hunter Hayes: Agggggghhh. This was so out of tune, it's barely worth discussing. What could the judges even say? Keith and Jennifer assured viewers C.J. had killed it during rehearsal. Harry? Some reason, please? "I specifically do not go to rehearsals. I do not care," said Harsh. "I wanna see what you do when the red light is on." Exactly. Yes. He then demonstrated exactly what it means to sing sharp. There was really nothing else to say.
Jessica Meuse, "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People: Poor Jessica. She's being so nice and fun and tolerant of this eye-rolly chaos, yet she gets this less-than-loving treatment from the Seacrest Script: "Jessica… is one of the people in the road." Tragic! She went to spin class and this is how you repay her?!
Anyway: GREAT night for Jess. Loved her twang. I dig her vocal in this lower register and especially liked her delicate three-note run on the word "run." She didn't miss a note, changed up the arrangement just enough, and finished strong with an intentionally wavering "bullet." And unlike Harry, I thought her playful facial expressions worked perfectly against the darker meaning of the lyrics. The song is friendly and upbeat! Why should she go dark and stormy in her visual interpretation if her delivery matches the sound of the original? The other two judges and Seacrest all jumped in to justify Jessica's stylistic choice, and I noticed Jessica remained calm and pleasant throughout. "I don't wanna enforce homicidal behavior," she casually offered. I'm so glad she did.
Majesty Rose, "Wake Me Up" by Avicii: Ehhhh. Not Majesty's strongest, and I'm sorry to say her fear and hesitancy ruined any better vibe her performance could have achieved vocally. I was happy she returned to an acoustic guitar performance and gave a song with driving danceability a folksy spin. That was really smart. But her breathiness was distracting, and sometimes her notes came out as whispers, and I was left wondering, "Well… could she sing it normally or not?" It didn't seem intentional -- and if it was, it was annoying.
J. Lo detected that fear and reminded Majesty that letting that affect you onstage is always unacceptable. Loving J. Lo tonight! (With no new episode of Nashville this week, she'd gamely stepped in as the Juliette Barnes of American Idol with a racy thong neckline.)
Sam Woolf, "We Are Young" by Fun.: Yep. Sam is young. He can sing. Can he set the stage on fire? NO. Absolutely not. But this was a strong vocal performance with a bunch of well-executed variations on the original melody, and he should be safe for now. More than safe, probably, because he's cute.
Keith and J. Lo barely had time to spout their great-job-great-jobs, but Harry got his say: "Self-assertion. You have to own it. I still feel like you're timid."
Your favorites tonight? Discuss!