Even though Songs from the Cinema was far and away American Idol's best live show this season, relatively strong performances weren't enough to keep all 11 contestants around. After faltering with a take on Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" last night, country crooner Ben Briley was sent home.
After the typical "why are the Idol results shows one hour long" time killers, three of the show's men, CJ Harris, Caleb Johnson and Dexter Roberts were called to the stage. Though Dexter's take on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" was the weakest of these three's performances, each were solid enough to seemingly make it through to the top 10. With little drama and delays, they were all declared to be: safe.
Between bottom three announcements, Idol's favorite new judge Harry Connick Jr. proved that he does know his stuff by performing a two-song medley of his hits "One Fine Thing" and "Come By Me." After weeks of getting to know Connick's goofy yet seriously strict judging persona, it was strange (yet totally enjoyable) to see him in his true live element. This guy has a jazzy voice for the ages. (And side note: his holiday album When My Heart Finds Christmas is a total classic in my home. You should listen come December.)
Next, MK Nobilette, Ben Briley, Majesty Rose and Malaya Watson were called to the stage. After an insanely strong performance of Dreamgirls' "I Am Changing," it was easy to call that Malaya was safe. (Though her totally gif-worthy look to Ryan Seacrest during his dramatic pause was pure gold.)
Of the remaining three, it was a toss-up as to who would take the stool. Though MK gave her best performance to date with "To Make You Feel My Love," she doesn't seem to connect well with audiences. Ben Briley feel all kinds of flat on "Bennie and the Jets" and Majesty simply tried to much for "Let It Go." In the end, those who tried to hard failed, and Majesty and Ben were both sent to the bottom three.
As Idol continues to try and expose the American public to emerging artists via the judges (and Randy Jackson), Jennifer Lopez's pick of Mali Music took the stage to give his piano-driven hip-hoppy single "Beautiful" a spin.
Then, the final four contestants Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse, Alex Preston and Jena Irene had a chat with Mr. Seacrest. For the third week in a row, the three weakest performers were sent to the bottom three, as Sam was called to join Ben and Majesty over on those terrifying stools. Though he's Idol's token heartthrob this season, Sam's super vanilla take on the Beatles' "Come Together" wasn't enough to get him to come easily to the top 10.
Very quickly, Sam was sent to the comfort of the couch and after a .07 percent difference in votes, so was Majesty, meaning Ben had to sing for the save.
Oddly enough, like Emily Piriz, he chose Grace Potter's "Stars" and largely fell flat, until the end when he truly brought it home. However, it was an easy decision for the judges, and he was sent home.
Next week, American Idol returns with the Top 10 in two ways... the contestants will be taking on today's Billboard hits.