The contestants tonight, April 1, were charged with a big task: Sing the tunes of American Idol's godmother, Kelly Clarkson. If that wasn't reason enough for the Idol faithful to get excited, Ryan Seacrest also promised a new twist in the competition. Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban settled in for what turned out to be a night of impressive vocals.
Since winning Idol in 2002, Clarkson has released seven albums, including February's Piece by Piece LP. She's won three Grammys and a pile of other awards. Clarkson was the face of Idol fever following her win and sits at No. 2 among the bestsellers for former finalists on the show (Carrie Underwood is No. 1). Her debut single came in the form of "A Moment Like This."
The younger Idol contestants should heed Clarkson's advice — the pop icon won the competition at the age of 20.
In addition to a Clarkson-filled night, the episode also featured a new twist. The bottom two contestants were up for a "fan save" via Twitter. Daniel Seavey and Rayvon Owen were the bottom two singers. Both performers chose huge Clarkson hits in "Breakaway" (Seavey) and "Since U Been Gone" (Owen). Seavey finally reached the end of the line.
8. Qaasim Middleton, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)": The 19-year-old can work the stage from a stool just as well as he can standing and dancing. It was a bold move taking "Stronger" and reworking it into a laid-back tune. Unfortunately, his vocals weren't very strong and the judges let him know it. The question now is whether a poor performance will mean the end of the line for the entertainer.
7. Nick Fradiani, "Catch My Breath": The singer admitted to singing this tune with his band when it was released in 2012. The tune didn't show off Fradiani's range, but it was a great way to start the show. He's still a little stiff when he performs, though. Fradiani brought plenty of energy, and there's no doubt that the ladies are loving him.
6. Joey Cook, "Miss Independent": Clarkson predicted that Cook would have one of the best performances of the night. The vocals were on point. The arrangement was dynamite. The only real problem with Cook's performance, though, was that she may have turned off some of the masses with taking such a popular tune and turning it upside down. That's what she's good at, and she has enough of a fanbase to keep her in this. It's been exciting to see her perform every week.
5. Quentin Alexander, "Dark Side": Alexander gave this tune the same treatment he gave Lorde's "Royals" a few weeks back. This was one of the singer's best performances. He has a knack for making songs bigger and more epic with his enormous vocals. Right now, Alexander is a wild card to win, so don't count him out just yet.
4. Jax, "Beautiful Disaster": Jax performed a lovely rendition of this 2003 tune from Clarkson's debut album. Her vocals were "pure," as J. Lo put it. The arrangement was minimal, with just a piano and cello accompanying Jax's haunting vocals. She continued her hot streak and of all the contestants, Jax gives off the biggest Kelly Clarkson vibe. That's a very good thing.
3. Rayvon Owen, "Since U Been Gone": The singer reworked the classic pop banger into a John Legend-esque ballad. This was one of Owen's best performances of the season, and it kept him in the competition against the cuteness of Seavey. This was a well-deserved save considering it was one of the best performances of the night.
2. Tyanna Jones, "Mr. Know It All": "You open your mouth and it's like, 'What?'" Clarkson said. Jones picked one of the pop star's "sassiest" songs and delivered it like a pro. She said the goal was to put a little bit of "Tyanna" into the song and she did just that. The whole song was beautiful, from start to finish. She's definitely Connick's favorite singer, and that means a lot.
1. Clark Beckham, "The Trouble With Love Is": Beckham killed this soulful ballad with a steamy performance. He is unstoppable when armed with a tune that has a 6/8 time signature. As Connick pointed out, he followed Kelly Clarkson with a Kelly Clarkson song and absolutely nailed the song.