American Idol recap: Twilight of the Idols

The Top 12 take on 'Songs from the Cinema'; Harsh Harry mellows out
Ep. 17 | Aired Mar 11, 2014


Jena Irene, Paramore's "Decode" from Twilight: This one got a DOUBLE standing ovation from Keith and Jen after her ferocious and thrashing…piano solo?! The many dynamics of this performance -- soft, slowly swelling, thrashing, rocking -- "like hurtling along the edge of a cliff on a car -- it's exhilaration!" exclaimed Keith -- made this the high point of the evening, because it's so rare that such a varied number is successfully pulled off, especially live! J. Lo reminded everyone Jena had been in the final three last week, then cashed in her desperado points at the arcade: "AMERICA, PLEASE GET ON BOARD WITH THIS!!!" Okay, tone that down a bit, maybe. Or at least do it from behind a piano.

Oh, I almost forgot. Harry needs to send Ryan into more commercial breaks with his dramatic piano-based interpretations of the script. Make it happen!

Malaya Watson, Jennifer Hudson's "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls: Now Harry has something to point to when various street-wanderers come up and complain to him that there are no big belters this season. (They do have a point….) Malaya can be such a crazy mess, but she can also be crazy fabulous, as she was at the end of this crowd-pleasing aggressive hug of a performance. She's so valiantly alive, all glasses and the braces and impossible swell of human energy. "I hope over time your sound is gonna get bigger and thicker… it's gonna be a pleasure to watch," suspected Harry.

Is anyone else now totally indifferent to the question of when will Malaya play the tuba? I used to think it'd be fun, but right now there's too much unnecessary buildup. They should maybe not mention it 17 times for a week or so and then spring it on us when no one expects it!

Your thoughts on Top 11 night? Who are the lunatics orchestrating the zany "Text this number" spots with the contestants -- and can I hang out with them?


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