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'American Idol 13': 'Top 6 Finalists Perform' recap

This season's top 13 contestants
This season's top 13 contestants
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The remaining six contestants on “American Idol” took the stage tonight, April 23, to perform “Country and Rock ‘N’ Roll” songs. Ryan Seacrest introduced the finalists and the judges. He went on to explain each of the contestants would be performing two songs – one from each genre.

Jena Irene was up first, with “Barracuda.” Keith said it was a perfect song for her range and voice, and she really set the bar high. He wanted to see her release a little bit more. Jennifer felt Jena had a real chance at getting to the finale and just needed to keep having performances like that. Harry said Jena’s voice was such a perfect match for the song and encouraged her to think about what she would do to let go before she got up on stage.

Sam Woolf sang “It’s Time.” Jennifer said she got “goosies” because she believed him. Harry thought it was the perfect song choice, and he could see him blossoming. Keith said it was a good performance from Sam, and he wanted him to tap into his emotions.

C.J. Harris performed “American Woman.” Harry asked how he felt about the performance, and C.J. thought it was better than rehearsal. Harry agreed that it was a good performance and a good song choice, but he again reminded him about his intonation. Keith felt a disconnect between the guy in the song and C.J. Jennifer loved his look and thought it was shaky at the beginning, but he pulled it off.

Alex Preston was up next, with “Animal.” Keith wanted Alex to release a bit more because he didn’t feel he was quite dominating over the band. Jennifer thought he did a good job, but it just felt like there was a little something missing because it was a little bit contained. Harry thought Alex deserved a pass in a way because he’s always so good, but he really liked to hear him sing an upbeat tune.

Caleb Johnson went with “Sting Me.” Jennifer said he really delivered the song well and created a moment. Harry said when you take a perfect song choice and couple it with an incredible performance, it can’t be beat. Keith commended Caleb for recovering so quickly after his mic slipped.

Jessica Meuse sang Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” Harry thought the performance was really strong – she stood there and delivered it, and it was strong. Keith agreed and felt the song played to her vocal strengths, but he still wanted to see a little bit more release. Jennifer went on to say you have to throw everything away when you get up there and just feel it.

Sam kicked off the country round with “You’re Still the One.” Keith told Sam to keep relaxing more. Jennifer commented on how cute Sam is and thought he sang the song well – she also agreed with Keith. Harry thought Sam had found the people, and now it was a matter of not singing the song so perfectly.

Caleb Johnson chose Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It.” Jennifer said he did a great job with the song – it was hard to compare to his first song because it was magic. Harry also felt the magic really happened during the first song, because it felt more forced in the second song. Keith thought it was great and joked he looked forward to seeing what country song Caleb would sing later.

Alex performed “Always On My Mind.” Harry felt very lucky to have heard Alex perform, and he said it was exactly what it should have been. He thought Alex did a terrific job. Keith could always tell when Alex was performing and would have liked to see a little more heartbreak in him. Jennifer said it was really beautiful, and it was the perfect balance between Alex and the song.

Jena sang Carrie Underwood’s “So Small.” Keith told her she is such a good singer and is everything that “Idol” has always been about. Jennifer had “goosies” again and felt like the band just fell away in the background. Harry didn’t really know where the melody was going, but he didn’t think his opinion really mattered tonight because so many people love her voice.

C.J. was up next, with “Whatever It Is.” Jennifer felt it just didn’t hit the mark, and Harry also didn’t think it was his best performance. He added that if C.J. sticks around, he needs to take a few days to pick a song that will kill. Keith agreed and told C.J. to choose songs carefully.

Jessica Meuse closed the show with “Jolene.” Harry told Jessica she did it again and delivered in a strong and convincing way. Keith thought it was a strong vocal and a good performance, but he hated the arrangement. Jennifer said the vocal was really strong and could feel the song in her eyes that time.