A nervous energy filled the Idol studio for the final time Thursday night as three would become two before next week's finale. Luckily, the nervous energy was mostly coming from the contestants and not Ryan's new dog Georgia, who made a surprise (oopsie free) appearance at the top of the show. The dog was adorable, but as Ryan noted, she was, like, half awake. I guess she's been keeping up with this season then.
Wednesday night's performances were once again dissected over dinner between the young singers, but this time they were given full-size hamburgers! Wow, talk about an upgrade! Caleb talked about being able to sing again even though he wasn't really supposed to be talking at all. Alex confessed that he had never played the drums while singing at the same time and realized he had a lot of respect for lead singers of bands who do. Um...okay, but who else besides Phil Collins does that really? Jena wanted to make sure that no matter what happened they all would have fun together, because that's what this whole experience has been about. Well, I'm sure bronchitis was fun for you, Jena -- gosh! Just kidding, these guys are gonna be BFFs for life (which technically means best friends forever for life). Caleb sings the lyrics; he doesn't write them. We also got a very small taste of the potential debut singles that the finalists will perform next week, and for the first time, you can download the music in advance on iTunes. Quick -- do it now before they all sell out!
All three contestants were greeted to large homecoming celebrations and parades and highly emotional grandparents. Jena went back to Farmington Hills, Michigan, and to the restaurant where she worked (which involved a plate of fire) before performing in front of more than 5,000 screaming fans. Pretty impressive, considering the ratings this season have been low. Even Jena said she "didn't know it was this big." After the cameras went inside a teenage girl's bedroom, Jena performed for her high school, and the emotional impact she made on the community really struck a competitive nerve in her to win. Alex and Caleb both had days proclaimed for them in their towns, and while Alex performed to a 6,800-person crowd, it seemed like Caleb was performing nonstop when he was home and singing too much about biscuits and gravy. I wonder why he lost his voice...?
Season 5 top three finisher Elliott Yamin took a break from living the dream to stop by but didn't bother taking off his sunglasses, while season 8 top three finisher Danny Gokey was too busy talking about all the music and babies he's been making and how he got married a couple of years ago. Again, they sing the words, they don't usually come up with them. Season 10 champ Scotty McCreery also performed his song "Feelin' It," and I gotta say -- wasn't feeling it. Country isn't my thing and I was distracted by his finger pointing and college beer belly. Glad to know he's doing fine after his house was robbed, but BOO to Ryan and his lack of journalism skills for not actually asking him about the one thing that made him briefly relevant again. J.Lo was able to put a perfectly placed kiss on Scotty's cheek while performing, which will definitely make him more relevant when he gets back to school, that's for sure.
Ryan announced that Jena, Alex, and Caleb would be performing with Paramore, Jason Mraz, and KISS, respectively, in the finale, regardless of their standings. Caleb's little (in age) brother Houston was especially excited about the KISS news because it's his favorite band. Okay, but this isn't about you, Houston! One thing first: Younger brother...really? Those are some strong genes in that family. Finally they got to the news of the night, and even though he fought a hard battle, Alex Preston was eliminated. Though I thought he did a great job Wednesday night, I had predicted a Caleb/Jena finale since week two of the finals, and I think the momentum of their work throughout the last three months got them through.
So after 75,000 people, we are down to the last two in lucky season 13. Next week starts with a one-hour performance show on Tuesday night, followed by the grand finale on Wednesday when we will find out the next winner.