Jessica Meuse, Luke Bryan's "Drink a Beer": I wonder if Daughtry's comment that Jessica's voice was better than her guitar playing will end up having more of an impact than he ever could have predicted? It's all I could focus on during this performance: Does she need the guitar? No. Well, maybe. I'm not sure she'd be that convincing in an attempt to connect with the Idol audience directly, either. Can you picture her TOUCHING HANDS with the screamin' teens? Is that a requirement? Phil Phillips says no! Anyway, I appreciated Keith's suggestion that Jessica reconsider whether she should smile during lines about such a dark subject matter. But despite some situational weirdness, this girl's rich and knowing voice is undeniable.
I was surprised Jessica went straight country here; I'd previously been thinking of her as more of a rocker. But who says you can't be both? (Not pictured: Brandy Neelly having a meltdown.)
Emily Piriz, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' "Paris (Ooh La La)": Harry launched back into Daddy Mode (a title somewhat complicated by the lustful look in his eyes following the tongue bath she gave the microphone at the end of this performance) and wondered again whether Emily really wanted to be singing tunes of a sexual nature. But whatever, Dad, she's 18 now, she can do whatever she wants!
I'll be surprised if Emily doesn't make the Top 5. Of course I'd have preferred another soulful ballad like we saw from her during Hollywood Week. That was wonderful. But tonight's performance was not as embarrassing as the judges made it out to be. Girl can sing whether she's making sex eyes at the camera or not. And some people might be drawn to both talents.
MK Nobilette, John Legend's "All of Me": This was the only performance of the night that would have fit into a normal show, one in which the contestants didn't have to jog from a chamber out to the stage following what probably amounted to at least 10 hours of sheer mental terror. And MK did look scared, too, that's what's crazy about it. Really, I can't say I loved this because I didn't love ANY of tonight's performances. I don't want to see anxious people perform. That's not fun! Watching MK's mother sob tears of pride and joy on every line -- now that was fun.
Best 'Idol' Poster I've Ever Seen:
All moms express themselves differently!
But anyway: "You're an elegant and articulate singer," Harry told MK, "and for the first time I didn't have the sense that you had a defeatist attitude, like 'do I really belong here?' You belong here." (Not pictured: the remaining six girls' faces melting into Picasso paintings.) (Knockoffs, of course.)
Malaya Watson, Ray Charles' "Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)": Call the police; there's a madwoman around! No one, not even Movement Coach Melissa Garcia, could blame Malaya for flopping around the stage like a newly formed butterfly who'd just woken up in a puddle of everyone else's unused adrenaline. She cried; she shook; she throttled. And this was all mid-song! The stress of this night was INSANE and it all exploded in Malaya's performance. "I think anyone would have performed like that," Harry admitted. (This is so hard for the judges, too, lest you forget. Don't worry, they won't let you!)
My Top 5 girls: Majesty, Jessica, Emily, MK, Malaya -- and I'd give a Wild Card to Jena.
Who are yours?