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american idol recap

Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson had to sing three rounds during American Idol’s Finale. They sang producer Simon Fuller’s pick in the first round. The artist picked their favorite song to perform in the second round. Both artists performed their winner song if chosen as American Idol winner in the third round.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

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American Idol Finalists Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene

Caleb Johnson (left) and Jena Irene (right) are this season’s American Idol finalists

The first person revealed to advance to the finale was Jena Irene from Farmington, MI. Then Ryan Seacrest named Caleb Johnson from Asheville, NC as the other contestant to advance sending Alex Preston home. American Idol finalists Jena and Caleb have been the front-runners throughout competition. For weeks the judges praised majority of their performances said both individually were the one to beat. Both finalist are talented rock artists.

Caleb and Jena perform live Tuesday May 20th for America’s final vote.

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The Top 3 perform on American Idol during Idol’s 500th episode. Each contestant sang three songs. Randy chose first round songs, the judges chose the second round of songs, and the contestants’ hometowns chose the third round.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Caleb Johnson

Randy chose “Never Tear Us Apart by Inxs” for Caleb Johnson. Caleb has a bruised vocal cord and is suffering from bronchitis. Keith said he did a really great job. Jennifer told Caleb, “you on your worst night is better the people on their best night.”

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons was the judges’ pick for Caleb. Jennifer told Caleb to rely on the emotion and the lyric to help his performance while he is sick. The judges agreed he did a great job.

Caleb’s hometown, Asheville, NC, chose “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin. Caleb saved everything he had for this performance. Jennifer rocked out the entire performance and the audience chanted his name afterwards. Jennifer said it was “a true idol moment.” Harry loved him taking full advantage of the opportunity.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Alex Preston

Alex’s first song was Bastille’s Pompeii. Alex had Jennifer once he picked up the percussion and started playing during his performance.  Harry and Keith thought there were a few shaky spots. Keith said he is at his best when he is playing an instrument.

Alex took on Rihanna’s “Stay.” All three judges loved his performance. Jennifer said he made them forget about Rihanna.

Alex’s hometown, Mount Vernon, NH, selected “Story Of My Life” by One Direction. Harry thought it was strong and another classic Alex performance. Keith thought he came down after the previous performance.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo


Jena Irene

Jena first performed “Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia. Harry thought the performance was strong and hit all the critical notes. Jennifer said the beginning was shaky and the performance “felt a little stiff.”

Judges chose “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato for Jena.  Keith loves when she is on stage with the band. Jennifer said she did great and it felt free compared to the first performance.

Jena’s high school, North Farmington High, chose “Creep” By Radio Head. Harry thought “it was a great way to end the show.” Keith thinks her progress throughout the competition is mind blowing. Jennifer said Jena “is going to be so hard to beat.”

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American Idol photo

American Idol photo

The Top 4 of American Idol performed three songs representing make ups and break ups. photo photo

Caleb Johnson
Caleb started off the night with “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. All three judges loved his performance. Caleb has been consistently good throughout the competition.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin Brand” was Caleb’s second choice of song. Harry stated, “This isn’t really a critique because I thought it was fantastic.”

“Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney was Caleb’s choice for his make up song. Caleb showed his softer side and it was a phenomenal performance. Caleb got Jennifer and Keith out of their seats to applaud him. Keith said he nailed it. Jennifer thought it was his best performance since the beginning. photo photo

Jena Irene
Jena chose Heart Breaker by Pat Benatar as her heart break song. Keith didn’t think she was a fully committed to ther performance. Jennifer disagreed and thought it was a great performance. Harry agreed with Keith and thought there was a disconnect between the song and her movement.

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga was Jena’s second song to perform. Jena chose to change the arrangement of the song. Keith really liked how she changed the melody of the chorus. Jennifer thinks she gives Caleb a run for his money, but didn’t like the change.

Jena wowed fans with a beautiful version of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” She also had Keith and Jennifer up at the end. Jennifer then came around and gave Jena a kiss. Jena’s performance gave Jenniferthe chills. Jennifer said it is the king’s song and she “reinvented it.” Harry thought it was “absolutely incredible.” Keith stated Jena is a “musical platypus” because she is so unique. photo photo

Jessica Meuse
Jessica heart break song was Kelly Clarkston’s “Since You Been Gone.” Jennifer thought she had the right attitude, but didn’t think it was the right song for her. Harry said it wasn’t her best performance.

Jessica’s second song was So What” by Pink. The performance lacked the intensity Pink brings. All three judges agreed that the song wasn’t right for her.

Jessica chose “You and I” by Lady Gaga as her make up song. This performance was better than the first two. Keith thought it was the perfect song for her. Harry thought she “came out swinging with the perfect song.” photo photo

Alex Preston
Alex Preston performed “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Harry liked the performance. Jennifer’s only concern is how he is going to be able to top Jena and Caleb. She thought it was good, but advises him to create more moments during his performances.

Alex dedicated Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” to his girlfriend. Jennifer said it stayed linear again. Harry thought there wasn’t anything different from the original and was looking for him to put the Alex spin on it.

Alex Closed the night with a great performance of “Yellow” by Coldplay.” Harry said Alex needed that performance. Keith described how Alex had “poetic vulnerability.” photo photo

Host Ryan Seacrest surprised America with an automaton for the top 5 during American Idol’s eliminations. They had to decide if the person with the lowest amount of go home or stay, but two people go home next week if they voted to keep all five. Each contestant had one vote and the vote had to be anonymous for all to be safe for another week.  Only 3 people voted yes to keep the group together one more week. Therefore, Sam Woolf was sent home with the least amount of America’s vote. Sam received the judge’s only save during the top 8 eliminations. Sam did not that great of performances the previous night.

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America requested the songs the Top 5 performed on American Idol. Jason Mraz, singer/song writer,  joined Randy Jackson as coach.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Alex Preston

“Sweater Weather” by Neighbourhood- Alex made the song more up tempo. Keith advised him not to be afraid to hit high notes. Harry thought it was a strong opening to the show.

“Say Something” by Great Big World- Alex gave a great performance tha was full of emotion.Keith said it was “a perfect marriage between song and artist.”

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Caleb Johnson

“Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” by Areosmith- Caleb made the song into a ballad. Jennifer said he sang it beautiful even though it was a difficult song for him. Keith felt his emotion is hidden by his skill.

“Still of the Night” by Whitesnake- Caleb had Keith and Jennifer up by the first half of the performance. He was amazing. The crowd went crazy. Jennifer said, “that is what’s called bringing down the house.”

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Jessica Meuse

“Human” by Christina Perri- Jessica started off rough and the performance was quite boring. Vocally it came together. All the judges thought when she tapped into parts of the song she did good and needs to lose herself in the moment more.

“Summertime Sadness” Lana Del Rey-  Once again Jessica did good vocally, but had no connection.  Harry thought it was a perfect song for Jessica because she has an incredible voice. Keith thinks she needs to connect more emotionally. Jennifer agreed with Keith and wanted her to dig in more. photo photo

Sam Woolf

“Sing” by  Ed Sheeran- The performance was a bit awkward. Keith said it was a tough song and given that, Sam did as much as he could do.

“How To Save A Life” by The Fray- Sam’s performance was rocky. Jennifer thought it was good towards the end. Harry said there were pitch issues and it was all one volume.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

Jena Irene

“My Body” by Young The Giant”- Jena rocked out her performance as usual. She sounded good and owned the stage. Jennifer said it exciting to watch her develop as an artist. Harry thought her movement on the stage makes her stand out from the other contestants.

“Valarie” by Amy Winehouse- Jena showcased how unique her voice is. Keith said her vocals are killer. Jennifer didn’t like the arrangement.


Sam, Alex, & Jena- “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
Jena out shined the boys. Sam showed he has no rythym.

Jacob & Jessica-  “Beast of Burden” by Rolling Stones
Jessica didn’t match Jacob’s intensity. Overall it was an ok performance.

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It was rock  and country night for American Idol top 6 this week. Each contestant had to sing a song from each genre. Caleb Johnson stood out the most with two solid performances. Jessica Meuse and T.J. Harris had the roughest night.

Sam was the first to be saved after improving this week. C.J. headed to the bottom two shortly followed by Jessica. The bottom was not a surprise based on their performances and judges’ feedback. C.J. had the lowest amount of votes sending him home.

C.J. has come a long way. He went from working at a barbecue place to singing for America. C.J. will be on the American Idol tour.

American Idol photo

American Idol photo

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Jena Irene was the first contestant save. This was no surprise because she had the best performance of the night. Alex Preston was the next to be saved while Dexter Robertson was sent to the bottom two. Jessica Meuse who had a horrible performance joined Dexter at the bottom.

Surprisingly, Dexter was the one with the lowest amount of votes sending him home. Dexter was the true country boy of the show. photo photo


David Cook, American Idol season 7 winner, came back to mentor the Top 8. Each artist must sing a song for them 1980s. photo photo

Jena Loves Rock N Roll

Jena Irene started off the show strong with a slowed down version of “I love Rock N Roll.” She started on the piano and slowly picked up the tempo.  Jennifer wanted more rock n roll, but she did like the performance and how Jena put her own stamp on it. Harry thought it felt choreographed. phoro phoro

Dexter Switches It Up

Dexter finally did something the judges weren’t expecting with “Keep Your Hands To Yourself.” Last week the judges asked Dexter to do something different instead of the popular current country anthems.  The thought he did a good job this week. Keith did tell him he was stiff in the beginning and not to worry so much. photo photo

Malaya Watson Goes Through The Fire

Malaya attempted the Shaka Khan’s classic. For the first time, Malaya didn’t received praise from the judges. Keith and Jennifer told her to relax because she naturally can sing demanding songs. Harry felt she sacrificed majority of the song to hit the big note at the end. photo photo

 Jessica Meuse Sings A Blondie Classic

Jessica chose “Call Me” for 80s week. She looked uncomfortable and focused more on her moment then the song at times. Harry said she needed to feel the groove and sing in the pocket. Keith is waiting for her to release. photo photo

Sam Woolf Improves

Sam Woolf did a solo acoustic version of “Time After Time.” The judges explained they saved him because of his musical capabilities. Jennifer thought he did a good job. With all the girls in the audience Harry noticed he looked at the camera the entire time. Harry also told Sam to look Ricky Nelson on YouTube so he could learn from him. photo photo

Alex Preston Takes On The Police

Alex had the Jennifer in disagreement with Harry and Keith with his version of “Every Breath You Take.”   Harry suggests making it more stage worthy because the coffee house approach is going to catch up to him. Keith agreed with Harry. Jennifer thought changing it up as much as he did “lost the soul of the song.” photo photo

C.J. Harris Goes Free Fallin

C.J.  Tom Petty Jennifer said it started of shaky, but she enjoyed it. Harry thinks he has a connection that is indescribable. This connection is something the others do not have. Keith explained there is a survivor tone in C.J’s voice that he loves. photo photo

Caleb Closes Out The Show With A Bang

Caleb Johnson rocked out “Faithfully” by Journey. Keith brought out his lighter app during the performance. Jennifer thought it was amazing and that he murdered it. Caleb started off soft and slow in which is something he hasn’t done before making Harry proud. Harry said he has been waiting for him to do this and liked the performance.


During duets judges are not allowed to critique their performance. Jennifer said she likes what the duets are doing for the contestants and their opening up.

Sam  and Alex : “The Girl Is Mine” by Micheal Jackson- They did the song no justice.

Jena and Caleb: “It’s Only Love” by Brian Adams and Tina Turner- Their powerful voices matched well.

Malaya and C.J:  “I Knew You Were Watching” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. They gave a fun performance

Jessica and Dexter: “Islands In The Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers: Performance was boring and didn’t come close to the original.

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A Shocking Conclusion On  American Idol Top 8 Elimination Night photo photo

All Top 8 contestants could be in jeopardy of going home after a great Wednesday night.  It was shocking to see both Malaya Watson and C.J. Harris in the bottom three with Sam Woolf. Both Malaya and C.J. were standouts.  It was not surprising Sam was the one with the lowest votes and had to sing for the save. For weeks the judges have told  Sam he needed to connect with his audience. With great surprise the judges used their only save on Sam!

Starting next week the one with the lowest votes will automatically be sent home.

Daughtry returned back to the Idol stage before the bottom three was revealed Chris. Daughtry performed “Waiting For Superman.” The group is on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls.