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'American Idol 13': '7 Finalists Perform' recap

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On “American Idol” tonight, April 16, the contestants were able to suggest songs for each other to sing during “Competitor’s Choice” week. Randy went around to everyone individually to get their suggestions for their fellow contestants. Afterward, he gathered everyone together and handed out the compiled song lists the help them decide what to sing for the show.

Caleb Johnson was up first, with Alex’s song pick for him: “Family Tree,” by Kings of Leon. Keith thought it was a great choice, and it highlighted his strengths. Jennifer said everyone else needed to raise their game because Caleb was pretty amazing. Harry thought he did his own thing to it, and he really dug it.

Jessica Meuse selected Sam’s pick for her – Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” Jennifer thought it was the first time she had heard Jessica off vocally in the verses and felt she seemed uncomfortable. Harry agreed and suggested Jessica work on her rhythmic delivery. Keith told Jessica he has always loved her voice, but there was a dissipation of energy from her tonight. He told her to get sensitive and serious.

Ryan Seacrest introduced Demi Lovato, who had been hanging out back stage. She joined him and talked a bit about her tour. Ryan asked if it was true she was adding more tour dates, and she teased that she didn’t know. Then, she headed over to join Randy and the contestants on the sofas.

Alex and Sam sang “Let Her Go,” by Passenger, for their duet. Harry liked the couch they performed on and asked what they thought of their performance. He added it looked like they were having fun – it was sweet, but just okay. Keith thought it was hard to critique the duet and said it was a little cute and “chinsy,” and he was eager to see what they would do individually. Ryan let Demi weigh in, and she said she felt like it had good energy and was definitely sweet, but she would have liked to see something more exciting.

C.J. Harris went with Caleb’s choice of “Gravity,” by John Mayer. Keith thought it was a really good song for C.J., but he would have liked it to be more of an arc. Jennifer said C.J. was getting more and more comfortable on stage every week, and she wanted him to really think of the moments that would get the crowd. Harry felt it was C.J.’s best performance to date and said he always connects with the audience.

Dexter Roberts selected C.J.’s song choice: Luke Bryan’s “Muckalee Creek Water.” Keith liked the song and warned Dexter to be careful with songs that had intensity and a down melody – he told him to watch out for over-singing. Jennifer also liked it because of the darker quality and nice edge. She added the contestants all needed to step it up to a new level. Harry just wanted to hear Dexter sing other things than just singing the songs how they sound on the radio to make it his own.

Jena Irene and Caleb performed The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” for their duet. Jennifer thought it was great, and they had a moment. She also added that everything was coming together for Jena. Keith said Jena killed it, but he wanted someone to just cut loose on the stage – everyone felt a little stiff tonight. Ryan went to Demi Lovato again, she said they killed it, and it was awesome.

Alex Preston chose to sing Dexter’s pick for him – Ed Sheeran’s “A Team.” Jennifer could hardly get a word in over the screaming audience and said she agreed with them. Harry agreed that it was the perfect song and added that it was his favorite performance of the night. Keith could see Alex had signature things he does that are natural when he puts them in songs.

Sam Woolf went with Jessica’s song choice: David Gray’s “Sail Away.” Harry could see Sam was making progress every week, but he had a problem with the song choice because it wasn’t well-known. Keith liked how Sam looked and the fact he was getting more comfortable. Jennifer didn’t feel it as much sitting there until she looked down at her monitor to see the close-up of his face – then, she thought he did a great job.

Dexter, Jessica, and C.J. joined together for a trio and sang Lady Antebellum’s “Compass.” (Randy called them “Idol Antebellum.”) Harry told them it was out of tune, flat, and there wasn’t a real spark – it just wasn’t good. He said he would forget about it because they did other positive things during their individual performance. Keith liked the way it fit the guys’ voices. Ryan once again asked Demi her opinion. She thought Jessica had a beautiful voice, and they all sounded good individually, but she agreed with Harry that it just didn’t come together in a group.

Last up for the night was Jena Irene, who closed the show with Caleb’s choice, “Creep,” by Radiohead. Keith loved it – he loved her fearlessness, how bold she was, and how she owned the song. Jennifer said Jena could sing anything and “Jena-fies” everything she does. She added that Jena would be around for the long haul. Harry said Jena has phenomenal talent, and it was unquestionably the best performance of the night. (Sorry Alex).

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