Man oh man, this episode of American Idol. Tonight (April 15), the top seven performed and were slimmed down to the top six - but it could not have been that simple. There were so-so performances, so much drama from Quentin Alexander and Harry Connick Jr. (that you'll be talking about for days) and, somehow, Rayvon Owen got the Twitter save for the third week in a row.
I'm still sort of cringing over the discomfort from Quentin, so let's relive the performances and move on with our lives...
Tyanna Jones, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love": It was fairly surprising to hear Tyanna Jones called to the stage first; she was fine enough last week, but nothing astounding. Her voice is naturally suited for these kind of '50s classics, but at the end of the day, this performance was technically solid but it was really, truly boring to watch. She had no personality even though her range was really proficient. She would have been better suited with a Jackson 5 pick.
Clark Beckham, "Superstition": Upon seeing the song choice here, I immediately said, "Oh man, this has potential." Clark Beckham was always super white bread to me, and while he has an amazing voice, his actual performances leave something to be desired. For me, that happened here. This is a sexually charged song, and I wasn't feeling any energy from Clark even though he looked better this week than ever. I should've been melting in my boots, but this was pretty tightly knit. It was more than passable, though.
Jax, "Piece of My Heart": Jax far and away had the worst performance of last week, so it's a big relief for her that she has her "Jax Pack" to lean back on (and probably carry her to the win). Her first performance was a take on Janis Joplin's classic "Piece of My Heart." Immediately, it doesn't seem to fix much with her vocal abilities, but she did with it what she could, selling oodles of energy. I want to hear more screech in the verses like Joplin does, but it was Jax-y enough.
Nick Fradiani, "American Girl": This was the first time where it really felt like Nick Fradiani felt like Nick Fradiani. It was filled with energy, an ease and comfort on stage and plenty of solid vocals. It's nice to see Nick slip into his element, something he's been doing with continued frequency. This was the first engaging performance of the night, and I felt it.
Quentin Alexander, "Are You Gonna Go My Way": Somehow Lenny Kravitz is an American classic? Quentin Alexander is never quite known for his uptempo song choices, so this seemed like it could have been worrying. But, unlike Harry Connick Jr.'s comments, I thought he worked out well with the band.
But, we need to talk about that moment with Harry... Did anyone else think Quentin was going to up and quit the show when he walked back on stage to address his "whack" comment? That was so tense and awkward and excuse me I can't talk about it more because I am still cringing.
Joey Cook, "My Funny Valentine": The judges didn't seem to think that this song or performance fitted Joey Cook all that well, but I thought it gelled together nicely. She had classic style and vocals with this Frank Sinatra tune and it worked out well. It was strong and sweet and CONTINUE
Rayvon Owens, "Long Train Running": Man, Rayvon Owens can ham it up for the camera. For his take on this Doobie Brothers classic, he performed a choreographed dance that can rival Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" moves. It was energetic and the vocal was good too. Between him and Joey, this felt like a hard save.
Clark Beckham, "Moon River": With Harry Connick Jr. in the audience, it was hard not to imagine how insanely well he could tackle this classic song. For Clark's part, he was like 80 percent of the way there. His voice was mixing some sort of power and texture that I think could have made this much "milkier and creamier" like JLo wanted from him (and thought she heard). I also think he could have played that camera card more - he looked like a deer in headlights. This was solid though and very pretty, don't get it twisted.
Tyanna Jones, "Proud Mary": What a great song choice for Tyanna Jones. OF COURSE she would take on "Proud Mary," and she did it proud. Tyanna started this off slowly and she built it into the powerhouse anthem that we've all grown to love. The song culminated in this big ol' falsetto note that was one of the biggest moments of the season. YAAAS.
Nick Fradiani, "Only the Good Die Young": This felt like an expected song choice from Nick Fradiani, even though this is a week with one of the most unclear themes ever, basically. Nick had some real, raw emotion in his Billy Joel cover. He started off singing on a stool and then, GASP, stood up in the middle of it all. But it was natural. Nick's vocal was on point here too; not a note was missed. This was the closest he's had to really, truly connecting, and it's good to see Nick getting there.
Quentin Alexander, "Sound of Silence": OKAY... so now that "Whack"-gate is over, we can get back to the music with Quentin Alexander He took on Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence." It seemed like all of the drama of the night was getting to him, because he was not connected with this song until about three-quarters of the way through. But, when Quentin got there, he got there and held out some nice, pretty notes. It was a welcome reminder for why he's still around I the top six.
Jax, "Beat It": WOW... First note out of the gate, and this performance was a pitchy mess from Jax. She's such a fan favorite that I don't know why I even bother critiquing this because it won't matter for the votes. But, this was so messy. She ran around the stage like a madwoman, dismissing all semblance of pitch and notes and all the fishnets on her arms were ridiculous, to boot.
Rayvon Owen, "Always on My Mind": More like Twitter Sayvon Owen, amirite? Rayvon definitely seems to pull it out under pressure, and he really sold his final performance of the night with Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind." The emotion was there, the twinkle in his eye and the vocal on point. This was dreamy and definitely what Rayvon needed to get done.
Joey Cook, "Somebody to Love": And then, there was this polar opposite approach from Joey Cook, who chose to break out the ukulele, the country twang and everything but the kitchen sink for her take on Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love." It was chaotic and beautiful, just like Joey herself but it was nothing spectacular and not what she needed to save.
And it didn't work - she was sent home, as Rayvon took home 52 percent of the Twitter save vote.