‘American Idol’ Recap: Caleb Johnson And Jena Irene Slug It Out For The Crown

Will the hard rocker beat the club kid?

Season 13 of “American Idol” limped to its (near) conclusion on Tuesday night (May 20), in a final showdown that capped a season where the producers finally seemed to get the judge’s panel right, but ratings dipped by more than 20 percent yet again as a forgettable group of finalists failed to win back America’s hearts and eyeballs.

The final two contestants said it all. In one corner you had odds-on favorite Caleb Johnson, the 23-year-old Asheville, North Carolina, classic rock traditionalist whose blustery, feathered-hair and jean jacket style went out with the first Bush administration. He faced off against 17-year-old Farmington Hills, Michigan, high schooler Jena Irene, the only hope left for the aging franchise to put forward a singer whose Paramore-meets-EDM style is within spitting distance of relevance on the charts.

The show consisted of three rounds: the first featuring songs picked by show creator and producer Simon Fuller, a reprise of the singer’s favorites from the season and the debut of their winner and runner-up songs.

Jena Makes The Judges Fall In Love All Over Again
Accompanied by a quintet of drummers, Irene charged out first with a powerhouse cover of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” After she ended the song on her knees, Keith Urban said “the way that you own that stage is so good… that’s a sign of a real pro.”

Reprising the song that inspired Jennifer Lopez to jump up and kiss her, Irene was back behind the piano for Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” once again giving the song a widescreen, stately make-over that showcased the nuance and range in her voice.

Harry Connick Jr. could tell that Jena had heard other artists cover the song, but praised her for finding a way to make it her own. “It was absolutely beautiful, Jena,” he said.

The winner’s single is a dicey proposition at best. Irene’s tune, “We Are One,” was a bland, uplifting rock anthem with a forceful chorus about fiery eyes and disappearing walls that perfectly fit her wailing power zone. The judges thought the song was strong and it fit her style, which is about all you can ask for.

Embedded from www.youtube.com.