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'American Idol 13': '11 Finalists Perform' recap

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Tonight, March 12, the top 11 “American Idol” contestants took on songs from the theme “Music from the Cinema.” Ryan first checked in with the judges, and Jennifer said everyone thought they made it because they were in the top 13, but it was number one that mattered, and they needed to win and want to win. Harry joked that he had a new catch phrase: “In it to win it!” In between performances, they also played clips of the contestants auditioning as each other and poking fun of each other.

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Sam Woolf went with “Come Together,” from the movie “Across the Universe.” Keith said it was great to hear that side of Sam and see him loosen up. Jennifer wanted a little more personality out of him, but it was a nice start. Harry thought Sam was on the way to where he needed to be.

Jessica Meuse brought her guitar out for “The Sound of Silence,” from “The Graduate.” Jennifer thought the song was in her wheelhouse, but the groove never got together. Harry told Jessica if that was her lane, she would improve every week. Keith loved the way she looked and told her she can improve by realizing she is in a different environment than when she was performing in smoky bars and clubs.

Next up was C.J. Harris, who sang “Can’t You See,” from the movie “Blow.” Harry thought C.J. just picked and sang his way back to the forefront of the competition, and it was very, very strong. Keith said it was killer, and Jennifer felt C.J. had the talent to start doing what he wanted and change the world with his music.

Dexter Roberts sang “Sweet Home Alabama,” from “Forrest Gump.” Keith thought Dexter was really starting to feel now and loosen up and sing, but he needed to continue to make it individual to him. Jennifer said it is all about the personality, but it seemed like Dexter was really starting to believe he could win. Harry thought Dexter was really smart and gave a good performance, but he agreed with Keith that Dexter needed to be bigger than the song.

Ben Briley hasn’t seen “27 Dresses,” but he sang “Bennie and the Jets” from it anyway, since he grew up with Elton John music in his household. Jennifer was confused, since Ben was so country last week, but she thought it was a good vocal performance. Harry felt Ben needed to pound the piano more, and he had a “lackadaisical” walk throughout the song. He also agreed with Jennifer. Keith struggled that Ben had an easy, effortless authenticity about his performance, but now there were a lot of “things” around the performance instead.

Majesty Rose was next, with “Let It Go,” from “Frozen.” Harry said Majesty was a mystery – she went from singing Janelle Monae to Coldplay to a Disney song, but she did have a strong performance tonight. Keith repeated that it was a big song to sing, and most of it was really good. Jennifer told Majesty she can do anything, and she chooses what she wants to do.

Caleb Johnson went with “Skyfall.” Keith said Caleb showed great restrain. Jennifer was excited to see another great performance and thought it was a perfect song choice. Harry said it was fantastic, and the competition started tonight.

MK Nobilette sang “To Make You Feel My Love,” from “Hope Floats.” Jennifer said she loved it, and MK put them all in a romantic mood. Harry also thought MK was very subtle, it was nice, but if she was going to do runs, she needed to nail them. Keith told MK she looked like a star and felt there were little glimpses of who she can be as an artist once she gets comfortable.

Alex Preston sang “Falling Slowly,” from “Once.” Harry was so glad there was an opportunity on this platform for a young guy to sing with his guitar and not all the fireworks. He was really proud of Alex. Keith liked that Alex’s performances always hold his attention, and he is always in the moment. Jennifer said it was the perfect song for him, he sang it perfectly, and it was beautiful.

Jena Irene was next, with “Decode,” from “Twilight.” Keith loved the way she played the piano and the ferocity with how she performs. Jennifer told her she has one of the best voices here and doesn’t know what she was doing in the bottom three last week. She said she had the best performance of the night. Harry thought it was very strong.

Last up for the night was Malaya Watson, who sang “I’m Changing,” from “Dreamgirls.” Jennifer thought it was the perfect way to end the show and said it was killer. Harry looked forward to Malaya’s sound getting thicker and bigger. Keith added that the song was perfect to play to Malaya’s strengths.

What did you think of tonight’s show? Do you have a favorite contestant? Leave a comment below!

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