Midway through Wednesday night’s (April 16) “American Idol,” host Ryan Seacrest was suddenly walloped by reality. “One of you guys is going to win this show,” he said to the contestants, gobsmacked, his disbelief speaking volumes.
Yes, in a little over a month, one of the seven remaining contestants will be crowned champion of this uneven “Idol” season, which has been marked by selfies and antics involving gummi bears more than it has by memorable musical performances.
But who is it going to be? It can really only be one of two contestants — and those two seem to have a thing for each other. Let’s break down Wednesday’s show, where the “Idols” picked songs for their fellow competitors to sing:
The Caleb And Jena Show
Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene are steering the “Idol” ship right now, and are the only two poised to win it all. Sweetening the pot: On Wednesday’s episode, the pair looked like they may have a crush on each other.
While rehearsing for their it-doesn’t-really-matter duet of “Gimme Shelter” — their second duet together in as many weeks — Caleb and Jena were flirty and fun together, with Caleb joking (was he joking?) that he is going to take Jena to prom later this year. These two have a genuine playfulness and chemistry between them — either that, or this season has been so devoid of chemistry that we’ve forgotten what chemistry looks like.
Whether they’re just friends, this power duo — we won’t call them a power couple, at least just yet — is holding all the cards right now,
Jena’s ’Creepy’ Lyric Change
Just because she’s at the head of the class doesn’t mean she’s infallible. Jena’s sit-down performance of Radiohead’s alienation anthem “Creep” on Wednesday’s show featured a key lyric change that upended the entire meaning of the song. “You think that you’re so special, you’re so very special,” she sang, taking liberty with the original’s “I wish I was special” confessional, which kicks off the song’s ripping, heartache-riddled chorus.
Not that the judges seemed to notice or mind. After cameos by Demi Lovato, Terry Bradshaw, Martin Garrix and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, as well as video segments of Jessica Meuse saying she believes in aliens and C.J. Harris vacuuming his hotel room, the judges ran out of time to critique her show-closing performance, though they said they were bowled over by her vocals. “Unquestionably the best performance of the night,” Harry Connick Jr. told her, summing up the judges’ over-the-moon reactions.
Caleb Climbs His ’Family Tree,’ Alex Joins Sheeran’s ’Team’
Big Caleb opened Wednesday’s show singing Kings of Leon’s “Family Tree.” It was the first time the Followill boys have been featured on “American Idol,” and if there’s a contemporary act that it best suited to Caleb’s Southern rock stylings, it’s them.
The judges dug it, with Keith Urban praising Caleb’s week-to-week consistency.
Alex Preston, who seems to be the contestant most likely to make the final three along with Caleb and Jena, took on Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team,” which was chosen for him by Dexter Roberts. It was a perfect fit for his soft-spoken singer-songwriter style, and both the studio audience and the judges recognized it as such.
Sam Woolf’s Shades Of Gray
Sam Woolf, who, two weeks ago, hogged the judge’s save that likely would have been used last week on Malaya Watson, took on David Gray on Wednesday, the second time Woolf has sang a Gray song on the show (following an earlier performance of “Babylon”).
Woolf has a tendency to be aloof on stage, but was more invested this time around, although he was knocked by Connick for not going with a song that was more familiar to the audience. “At this point in the competition, familiarity is your friend,” he told him.
Jessica, C.J. And Dexter Bomb
“Idol’s” Alabama contingent — Jessica Meuse, C.J. Harris and Dexter Roberts — performed as a trio Wednesday, taking on Lady Antebellum’s “Compass.” And their compass was all over the place.
A few weeks ago, it was decided the duo and trio performances wouldn’t be judged, and would only be treated as the time fillers they are. But somehow Wednesday’s performances ended up being critiqued, not only by the judges, but also by guest Demi Lovato, in some sort of wormhole in the “X Factor”-“Idol” space-time continuum.
“Guys, it just wasn’t good,” Harry Connick told the trio, adding the performance was out of tune and flat. Lovato, put on the spot, criticized the threesome’s stiff stage moves and weak harmonies and told them, “all together, it just didn’t come together like it should have.” And she was just stopping by the studio to say hello.
Meuse, Harris and Roberts also performed individually on the show as well, and Meuse was ripped hardest for her disconnected performance of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” Meuse has yet to feel the sting of the bottom three, but her good fortune may end this week.