Tonight, May 14, “American Idol” aired episode number 500. Ryan Seacrest brought the final three contestants out on stage, along with the doctor who has been treating Caleb Johnson for bronchitis, along with a vocal cord hemorrhage. The doctor cleared Caleb to sing, and the judges made their way out to the judges’ table. Ryan explained there were three rounds of songs – Randy Jackson’s picks, the judges’ picks, and hometown picks. The Chainsmokers performed “Selfie.”
For Caleb, Randy selected “Never Tear Us Apart.” Keith thought it was a great song for Caleb and said he did a really good job. Jennifer said Caleb on his worst night is better than some people on their best night. Harry was mostly concerned that Caleb didn’t over-sing and hurt himself. Randy was happy with the performance and the fact that Caleb used his falsetto.
Alex Preston was up next, with Randy’s pick: “Pompeii.” Jennifer told Alex she saw him and what he was doing. She thought it was a different Alex. Harry said the performance showcased a little bit of everything and what he might sound like on the radio, but he could still see the wheels turning and thought he was piecing things together. Keith agreed to a certain degree and thought he became the most solid as a singer when he started playing the drums. Randy agreed with the judges and loved that it was Alex’s idea to play the drums.
Jena Irene wrapped up the first round with Randy’s choice: “Titanium.” Harry complimented Randy’s song choice for the third time before telling Jena the song was so in her alley. He added that it was great to see her becoming more comfortable on stage from week to week. Keith loved the balance of being a killer, stealth singer and having fun while she performs. Jennifer winced – she said it felt a little tight in the beginning and like she never really loosened up. Randy agreed with Jennifer, but he thought the end was amazing.
The judges chose Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” for Caleb Johnson. Keith said he was so feeling for Caleb’s voice, but he killed the song. Jennifer agreed with Keith and assured Caleb he would recover and be fine. She just wanted Caleb to sing the emotion and the lyrics of the song, and he did that right in the middle. Harry said Caleb had come so far in the competition, but he didn’t know where Caleb wanted to go after the competition. Caleb wanted to do all original songs influenced by a variety of old and new bands.
Alex was up next, with Rihanna’s “Stay.” Jennifer said she knew Alex would sing the heck out of that song, and it was beautiful. Harry said he could go on and on about how good it was, but he wondered what type of performer Alex would be in concert. Alex said he played with a full band and rocked out during the hometown. Keith thought the arrangement was killer, and he loved it.
The judges chose Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack” for Jena. Harry said it was so great that Jena always found a way to change it up and be original in every song. He asked what she wanted to do on stage if she was on tour. Jena wanted room for instrumental breaks and would be all over the place. Keith Urban agreed that it was great and loved when she was with the band on stage. Jennifer thought Jena felt it was very loose and controlled.
Caleb’s hometown chose “Dazed and Confused” for him to sing again. Keith said it was complete moment of miraculous healing. Jennifer thought it was a true “Idol” moment and called it ridiculous. Harry said it was really great, and Caleb took full advantage of the opportunity.
Alex was up next, with his hometown pick of “Story Of My Life.” Jennifer saw three people who wanted in the finale so bad, and America had a tough choice tonight. Harry thought it was another strong, classic Alex performance. Keith said it was coming down a bit from “Stay,” but he did well.
Jena Irene’s hometown chose “Creep” for her to reprise. Harry thought it was even better than the last time she sang it, and he didn’t envy the voters at home. Keith said he couldn’t agree more and told Jena she belonged there. Jennifer added that even though she is only 17, she will be hard to beat.
To close the show, they brought a cake out to celebrate all 500 episodes. This season’s top 13 contestants were around to roll it on out, and the judges joined them on stage to take plenty of selfies.