American Idol recap: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

On the show's milestone 500th episode, the final three battle illness and microphone stands to get into next week's finale.
Ep. 36 | Aired May 14, 2014

Caleb Johnson, "Dazed and Confused" by Led Zeppelin: And on May 14, 2014, a miracle happened. I'm obviously exaggerating -- but suddenly Caleb had a pretty miraculous healing, as Keith called it, and seemed to use his frustration and disappointment from his first two performances to give all that he had for his final bang. And boy do I mean BANG! For the hometown picks, each contestant reprised a previous performance, which is hard for anyone to do. Caleb had an advantage here, because anything that he did with this song would seem amazing to the judges for at least trying. Caleb did more than try. He blew the mother effing roof off the place. I don't know if I was more distracted by Caleb absolutely destroying his mic stand or J.Lo's extremely sensual body movements. Keith and J.Lo both gave the performance a standing ovation midway, and J.Lo even tried to physically lift Harry from his seat to cheer at the end. It didn't really matter, because the crowd wouldn't stop screaming, and it was getting more than a little annoying. But each scream equals a vote -- or make that 50, I guess. #supervote

Alex Preston, "Story of my Life" by One Direction: Alex had the disadvantage with his reprise performance, because the first time he sang this song, it was already such a strong and unique showcase for him. Now, almost two months later, doing the same thing loses the spark it once had -- and Alex doesn't have the charisma yet to overcome that creative obstacle. Alex was also at a disadvantage because his first two performances were so strong -- making expectations high for his final song. Keith said his average for the night was still good, even though this last performance wasn't the best. What makes Alex such a special musician is his artistry, which has been repeated many times by the judges. This performance was like looking at the Mona Lisa. You know it's beautiful, but been there/done that; you're already bored. Good thing Alex is the most popular thing in New Hampshire these days. I also wish I knew more about New Hampshire to make a joke here. Oh well.

Jena Irene, "Creep" by Radiohead: Well, if you're not excited to hear Jena sing the Radiohead song again, your younger brother sure is! Cue the music and screams! Regardless of the "creepy" amusement-park set (seriously, who decides these graphics? They have been a little cray cray lately), Jena was able to hold her own, once again sitting at the piano. For someone so young, Jena expresses a whole lot of maturity when she is playing the keys as opposed to when she is more active in her performances. It works for a song like this, but it won't work for everything, so she needs to be careful. Not a surprise to anyone, really, that Jena's last performance, like Caleb, was also her best of the night. And when the last comment from a judge on the top three night is that "You're hard to beat," you have to sleep a little easier, right?

On Thursday night, we will see more of the Idol hometown visits and learn who will be battling in next week's finale.

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