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'American Idol' Season 13 recap: Top 10 take Billboard hits as Alex Preston nails One Direction and MK Nobilette flubs words

by Carolyn Menyes   Mar 19, 2014 22:13 PM EDT

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Rock and roll legend Fats Domino dies

With the top 10 contestants on American Idol being established, this week they took on the Billboard top 10 hits between 2011 and now. With rockers like Caleb Johnson and Jessica Meuse and indie guys like Sam Woolf and Alex Preston, it was sure to be a week where singers left their comfort zones.

For the most part, things worked (or at the very least sort of worked), with Alex, Malaya Watson and Majesty Rose shining above the other performers. But, others' weaknesses are really starting to show through...

So, who was good? Bad? Passable? Check it out, and see Music Times' prediction for who will go home!

The Good:

Alex Preston - Whereas Dexter Roberts messed with a song's tempo and got lost in a weird rendition, Alex Preston messed with the arrangement of One Direction's "Story Of My Life" and made it so his own. Though the song already does the 1D goes Mumford & Sons, Alex's performance was even folkier, even more grooving and even more uptempo, and it was purely captivating. His vocals were totally on point throughout, not missing a note or a beat, but his artistry was so well defined that it was impossible to look away.

Malaya Watson - Sometimes, it's really easy to get lost in the pure youthfulness of 16-year-old Malaya Watson's voice, but this week she felt like a true adult performer with a killer range. She chose to sing Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man" and opted away from playing the piano herself to concentrate on the vocals, a properly smart choice. Much of this song focused on her lower range which is so deep and rich and soulful that it transcends age. Her youth allowed her to still soar up to the high notes, making for another strong Idol showing.

Majesty Rose - After trying just a little too hard with Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" last week, Majesty Rose smartly took it down a notch with a folksy rendition of Avicii (read: Aloe Blacc) and "Wake Me Up!" Armed with her handy acoustic guitar, she gave a straightforward, pretty performance of the country-sprinkled track, proving that she does deserve to be in the top 10 on American Idol, when she's not attempting to be something she's not. She's an indie girl at heart (we recognize our own) and should stick to these kind of tunes.

The Bad:

MK Nobilette - It's hard to believe that MK Nobilette is still in contention on American Idol, despite a solid performance of "To Make You Feel My Love" last week. She's just one of the weaker singers on Idol in quite some time. This totally showed tonight when she tried to tackle P!nk's "Perfect." Though MK got the rasp of P!nk's voice down, she just does not have the range and fell so incredibly flat. Mix that with the first lyrical stumble of the season, and this performance was just a recipe for disaster.

CJ Harris - CJ Harris strayed from the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for the top 10 of the country charts because, why not bend the rules! But, that's beside the point, because his take on Hunter Hayes' "Invisible" was a missed note mess. As fellow countryman Keith Urban noted, CJ had a hard time staying in tune and really nailing the notes like Hunter Hayes can really do. He got the emotion right, which some of his peers have a hard time with (we're looking at you, MK and Jessica), but the vocals were lacking. He's better than this.

Dexter Roberts - Dexter Roberts has this issue where it's hard to define him as a performer, separate from the music he picks, and that was very much the case tonight as he tackled Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise." Though he started off with an interesting little piano arrangement, when the band truly kicked in and pumped things up a notch, Dexter just kind of got lost in the music. It was just kind of a weak karaoke take, and that's not good enough for the top 10.

The Mediocre:

Sam Woolf - Like Majesty, last week Sam Woolf found himself in the bottom three, so he had some recovering to do. The song choice? fun.'s "We Are Young." During the verses, this youngster sounded so insanely pretty... the toned down, rolling lines worked well for him. For the insanely bombastic choruses, he did OK, just somewhat getting lost in the music. However, the rest of the song worked so well it still managed to be a captivating performance.

Caleb Johnson - Of course Caleb Johnson would sing Lady Gaga's "The Edge Of Glory." Already inspired by the massive '80s rock ballads, Caleb made this song a major hair metal anthem with his ballsy performance. As he took the tempo down a few notches, the performance could drag, and I feel like we've all seen Caleb be more interesting, energetic and entertaining. But, of course he killed his vocals, so this should definitely get him through.

Jessica Meuse - For some reason, this season the Idol judges are really concerned about the lyrics of songs, which they argued about for like three minutes after Jessica Meuse saying Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks." Yes, we know, she's a one note emotional singer, but going on about the messed up lyrics of this song is a conversation for another day. Besides Jessica singing this cheeky track with an odd smile, she gave a little country spin on this new indie classic, making it distinctly her own while taking care of the original.

Jena Irene - Apparently, Jena Irene's first love is electronic music, which is fair because she is 17 years old. So, for Top 10 week, she took on the Foxes melody from Zedd's "Clarity." While I think her voice would've fit so seamlessly into one of Katy Perry's many top 10 Billboard hits, she handled "Clarity" quite well, managing to take on the song's wide range while still maintaining her own, unique vibes and tones. This is a high-energy song and should go all the way to 11, and Jena maybe only took it to a 6 or 7. However, out of the first three performances of the night (she followed MK and Dexter), this was the strongest by far.

Who Should Go Home? Seriously, MK Nobilette.
Who Will Go Home? Either MK or CJ.

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