American Idol recap: The Top 13 are...

America votes 10 through; the judges choose five to sing for three Wild Card spots
Ep. 13 | Aired Feb 20, 2014

Fox

In the first live results show of season 13, judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr. (one of whom smells like a pretty flower) announced America's 10 favorite singers from Rush Week, plus three Wild Card picks of their own following five sing-for-your-life performances. Here they are!

Top 5 Girls:
Malaya Watson
Emily Piriz
Jessica Meuse
Majesty Rose
MK Nobilette

Top 5 Guys:
Ben Briley
Alex Preston
Dexter Roberts
Caleb Johnson
Sam Woolf

Judges' Wild Cards
Jena Irene Asciutto
Kristen O'Connor
C.J. Harris

Goodbye: Briana Oakley, Marrialle Sellars, George Lovett, Emmanuel Zidor, Malcolm Allen, Bria Anai Johnson, Spencer Lloyd

THE SING-OFFS

C.J. Harris' star power waned for me on his sing-for-your-life effort on "Bring It On Home." He seems more subdued than I remembered, but maybe he was just freaked out and overwhelmed. I've generally decided to not get hung up on ANYONE'S mediocre performances this week. I really don't care how these people perform in an impossible emotional roller coaster of a setting. Being on TV is scary enough. Please don't pull this crap again, show. There was no need to raise the stakes like this. You're American Idol, remember? Just. Let. Them. SING!

Jena Irene boldly gave a "no thanks" hair flip to the band (not really) and teetered out on a limb with a keyboard and her original song "Unbreakable Me." And it totally worked! I loved the way she stretched the word "enough" into a dozen syllables in seven seconds. Some of her phrasing reminds me of Lorde -- it's almost like she's tying up the end of a word with a twist tie. It works for her. Great confidence in a crazy situation.

Spencer Lloyd sang what I think was an original song about "unordinary girls" -- "you just gotta let your beauty come from the inside," preached the prettiest male face of the season. I still wasn't buying it from him! And I couldn't tell whether he was nervous to sing or just super pissed off that he had to sing for his life in front of jerks who didn't want him there anyway. The vocals were just not on point. "Okay, sweetie, I think you did a good job," said J. Lo. Translation: No.

Bria Anai Johnson captivated me so fully on "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" that I'd have picked her as my Wild Card based on passion and energy alone. I love what an open book she was with Ryan about her exploding heart and the frank do-or-die attitude she fronted: "Oh, y'all gonna get a show." We did get a show! Sure, the vocals were all over the place, but the Idol staff could have worked with that! I found her likable and relatable and raw -- too little, too late, I guess. I would much rather see and hear from her every week than Kristen, to be honest. Something about her made me desperately root for her tonight.

Kristen O'Connor gave Katy Perry's "Unconditionally" a shot. I am very interested to know whether this was working for ANY of you. Can you explain why they'd want to go with her? Aside from the fact that she's pretty? Or is that it? Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best one. This girl strikes me as a full-blown Haley Scarnato (a.k.a. Who?). But she does seem super sweet.

I'd obviously love for everyone to do way better than expected next week -- and if any good comes from this painful Rush Week experience, maybe it'll be that the controlled-setting performances of the future will absolutely blow us away by comparison!

Are you happy with this group? Discuss!

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