Alex Preston, Damien Rice’s "Volcano": Aw, Alex is very cute to me, like an awkward Jason Sudeikis. How many awkward tall guys with scrunched-up resting faces do you know who can somehow pull off tapered (skinny?) jeans and shiny loafers with no socks? Usually you have to be European to get away with that. Is it weird that I think he "presents British"? He looks like he could be visiting from across the pond as a musical guest. It's attractive. What am I talking about?! I'm just drawn to him, I guess.
I know this song is considered the property of Phillip Phillips on Idol, but that was a totally different setting with a season's worth of buildup. Alex set himself apart with an understated quirkiness and musical precision on this one and I think that might be all he needs to make it through to the Top 5. He was that clearly good, I think. I hope! Also: I loved the delightful extended riff he played after Harry complimented him for "ending on the nine." Go for it, Alex!
Malcolm Allen, Anthony Hamilton’s "Comin’ From Where I’m From": I expected much more out of Malcolm after the wild vocal range he showed during a brief Hollywood Week snippet, but I'm still glad he's one of the 10 who got to sing tonight. J. Lo really needs him to bring the heart and the soul into the performance quality next time. She wants her (Lord forgive me, for I am about to annoy the readers) goosies, okay? Not okay.
Keith thought Malcolm should have scrapped the band entirely and let his vocal shine on a song with such personal subject matter -- "You can make those choices," he assured the deli grocer. Considering we just saw tons of footage of the contestants being advised to do specific things from like seven different parties during Rush Week, I'm not sure anyone realized autonomy was an option.
Ben Briley, The Allman Brothers Band's "Soulshine": Keith rejoiced; this marked the first "shredded" solo we've seen on American Idol. I believed J. Lo when she said Ben "came alive" with the swaybots surrounding him more than he had during rehearsal. I slightly preferred Ben's tone and performance style to Dexter's based purely on tonight's efforts, but Dexter seems a bit more likable.
I loved Harry more than ever once he mentioned Ben's HUGE orange tie and then would not stop obsessing about it. The backwards Tennessee baseball cap and tie screamed "high school recruiter sweating in the stands" to me, but I admire the hometown spirit (as long as he doesn't do it every week, because orange is the best color of approximately zero people).
Spencer Lloyd, The Fray’s "Love Don’t Die": Ugh, so this pretty boy will sail through to the Top 5 on the pimp spot and his good looks? Since when is smug good-looking? I was not impressed. Spencer's vocals were off-key, breathless, and at times downright painful. But he's cuuuuuuuuuute. "The girls" (and Seacrest) made him a big poster full of hearts and squiggles. And he touched a hand. Let's face it: He's a shoe-in.
"Piano was your strong suit. This was not your strong suit. Stick to what you know." Yikes! Harry! Tell him more.
Thursday night: We'll learn which five girls and five guys America voted through, and the judges will name three Wild Cards to round out the Top 13.
My Top 5 guys: Alex, Sam, Caleb, Ben, and C.J. -- and I'd give a Wild Card to Malcolm.
Who are yours?