American Idol recap: Such a Beautiful Disaster

Top Top 13 announce 'This Is Me' to the swaying teens, with varying results
Ep. 14 | Aired Feb 26, 2014

Fox

Ben Briley, Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison Blues": Ben is just starting out on Instagram ***cue no one caring*** and wonders whatever happened to Polaroid cameras. Is this guy from the mid-2000s? Polaroid nostalgia seems so 10 years ago. Dude, they have filters for that. Also, check eBay, where all your dreams can come true and you can come into contact with more people's germs. Win-win. I'm stalling here! Ben Briley did NOT stall in the execution of this ridiculously sped-up cover of a Cash (and Idol, for that matter) classic.

The dancer in J. Lo appreciated the uptempo kick; she didn't wear that black two-piece lace bodysuit for nothing. Harry called Ben's the best performance of the night -- faint praise, considering the three previous ones were pretty awful -- and Keith warned Ben not to fall on the wrong side of the fine line between kitsch and artistry. Which side does your hair fall on, Keith? Trick question! His hair has been shellacked into place and has no hope of flip-flopping ever again. R.I.P. Keith's Cute Long Hair.

C.J. Harris, Darius Rucker’s "Radio": I liked how well this song's theme worked with the American Idol experience -- aren't they all riding down the highway with no money or a place to go, and all they need is (plays on) the radio? Sweet. But C.J. did not sell this like I'd hoped he would. Harry in particular missed hearing "that cry in your voice" and thought the song wouldn't have stuck out in, say, a 20-song concert. The editing on C.J. so far has focused a lot on his character, his kindness, and his commitment to religion. He'll need some sort of vocal knockout to stick out in viewers' minds as an actual Idol contender instead of merely an awesome guy.

If C.J. can't propel himself into the Top 10, his energetic cousin just might!

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Thus begins my campaign to have this pic of C.J.'s cousin come up when you search AMERICAN IDOL on Google, just under the voting mechanism if you please. Let's make it happen, bots!

M.K. Nobilette, Allen Stone’s "Satisfaction": Great light pink jacket on M.K. I could not stop marveling at the black, red, and gold heart-esque "hardware" near the left lapel. But zoom out, and it's a whole light pink pants situation topped off with a black backwards baseball cap? Whaaat? Lose the cap and pair a sleek pair of black satin-y skinny jeans with that dazzler of a jacket. Who am I kidding, doling out fashion advice as I lie here in my pajamas/work clothes?

Anyway. Cool song choice from M.K., and I continue to appreciate her unique tone. It's a keen move to go uptempo this week so the judges won't be able to criticize her for never having done it a few weeks down the line (I suspect she'll veer towards soft and sensitive ballads from here on out). Keith noted M.K.'s "patches of deer-in-the-headlights" -- which I thought was extremely generous. To me she looks freaked out most if not all of the time. I hope along with the judges that her confidence will develop quickly; as of now, she's a bit too awkward to watch.

Majesty Rose, Janelle Monae’s "Tightrope": Randy unhelpfully suggested Majesty "enunciate" in order to "kill it." I swear he said enunciate 13 times tonight. The song choice was a natural one for Majesty, who somehow brought her own style to Janelle Monae (a highly stylized singer if I've ever seen one) without seeming like a copycat. She did an excellent job compared to everyone else so far. And yet I still don't think it was that wonderful. That's what happens when the rest of the crop has been so disappointing.

I did really like Majesty's pre-performance explanation to Seacrest that she felt like she was walking the tightrope between humility and confidence -- but then he had to bring it up again when they were out on the stage. "Humility. And confidence. You've got it." "Yeah…." she chimed in, not sure of what else to do. Don't make it weird, Ryan!

What if Randy Jackson were on a tightrope?

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Let's not go there. Literally, let's stop with the loving zoom-ins on the "Dawgfather."

NEXT PAGE: A beautiful mess of a scientist studying crows and butterflies

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