You know who should go? Randy Jackson.
You know who should stay? David Cook.
I only grade performances on American Idol, but if I graded mentors, the Season 7 champ would get an A++.
Let’s just say his advice went a bit deeper than what Randy told one contestant earlier this year. How did that go? “Give it your all and do your best.”
Not that all of the Idols took advantage of his wisdom.
Jess Meuse still didn’t cut loose on stage the way she should, but at least David had her smiling.
And it was still difficult to make out some of what Dexter Roberts was singing, but I’d bet that guitar solo was more animated than it would have been without David’s prodding.
His presence likely also helped when Jena Irene and Alex Preston embarked on bold new arrangements of their songs. They were following a path David Cook blazed back in Season 7.
Bring David back, Idol. As often as possible. Your contestants will likely benefit.
On to the recap:
Best of the night: Harry Connick Jr. has been wanting Caleb Johnson to do something other than rock out on stage, to show his versatility. Caleb did it tonight, singing “Faithfully.” He sounded great on the tender part of the song, especially after the first couple of lines. And the ending still gave him an opportunity to show off that big voice of his.
Runner-up: Go ahead and gasp now, but I’ve never been a fan of The Police or Sting so “Every Breath You Take” is not sacred ground to me. Regardless, I loved the risk Alex Preston took in deconstructing and reconstructing that song. Better yet, it worked vocally. Especially the beginning and ending. Jena Irene deserves kudos too for her unique take on “I Love Rock and Roll.” But there was a part of her performance, for the second time this season, where I wondered if the mic was turned down.
Worst of the night: Any momentum Malaya Watson had built over the past couple of weeks has been turned to ash, because she butchered “Through the Fire” in ways very few songs have been butchered on American Idol. The judges thought she was building to one big note. I just wanted her to stop singing. My, my, my Malaya.
Please save him: Dexter Roberts did a pretty decent job with “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” But one reason I want to see him saved is because someone saddled him with “Islands in the Stream” as a duet with Jess Meuse. What were they trying to do, deliberately sabotaging poor Dexter? And I mean by making him sing that song, not because he was forced to sing with Jess.
Baffled by the judges: Yep, on more than one occasion. Like when they were overly kind to C.J. Harris, who still has trouble doing something simple like hitting a note, and to Malaya, who is darn fortunate vintage Simon Cowell was not sitting behind the judges table. They were hypercritical of Alex, too.
Irritated by the show: Last week, they dropped confetti on Sam Woolf’s head when he delivered a save-me performance that sure didn’t scream save me. This week, they surrounded him by adoring girls, for the second time. What other Idol contestant gets this type of treatment? Answer: None. Here’s hoping Sam winds up right back in the bottom three.
Line of the night from the judges: Keith to Jess Meuse: “I’m still waiting for the rest of the release. You’re almost there. It’s like you’re at the door, ready to go into the party. Just go right in.” Wonderful advice for a singer who once again, delivered another fine vocal, but needed to be a whole lot more carefree and reckless on Blondie’s “Call Me.”
What should happen Thursday night: A bottom three of Sam Woolf, C.J. Harris and Malaya Watson, with Malaya going home.
What will happen Thursday night: A bottom three of Dexter Roberts, C.J. Harris and Malaya Watson, with Malaya going home.