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'American Idol 13': 'Top 9 Finalists Perform' recap

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On “American Idol” tonight, March 26, Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz, of Fall Out Boy, met with the contestants to prepare for the theme “I’m With the Band!” This week, the band moved to center stage, directly behind the contestants. Then, the top nine contestants took the stage for a medley of Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, and Fall Out Boy songs.

Alex Preston was up first for the night, with No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.” Keith loves that Alex consistently has a particular sound and style, but he keeps wanting him to give a little bit of edge somewhere. Jennifer couldn’t help but think of Gwen Stefani, and it lacked the energy the song has. Harry thought Alex could afford to move things around and maybe even move around the stage more. Harry also asked if they could see Ryan’s ankles, so Ryan proceeded to roll up his pants and remove one sock and shoe…so Harry ran up on stage and stole his shoe.

Majesty Rose sang Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out.” Jennifer said that was the Majesty she loved and missed – vocally, it was a little all over the place, but performance-wise, it was a 10. Harry was waiting for Majesty to connect, and she was so close to breaking through in the competition, but it was hard for people to latch onto her because she is so diverse and can sing anything. Keith thought it was a great song choice, and she has everything she needs, but all the energy from the crowd makes her a little out of control. She needed to be more centered.

Dexter Roberts took on Little Big Town’s “Boondocks.” Harry told Dexter he needed to find a way to make songs sound his own instead of such big anthems. Keith first offered Harry a giant gummy bear to cheer him up, which he promptly bit one ear off of, and Jennifer bit off the other. Keith said he could hear what Harry was saying, but he also thought that if the song had been given to Dexter instead of Little Big Town, it still would have been a hit on country radio. Jennifer said they love the anthems every week, but he could do something else to make them hear who he is – she still liked it.

Malaya Watson sang The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.” Keith thought it was beautiful and said she chose a performance that showed her voice. Jennifer said she stole that number, and her voice really stood out. Harry felt she was growing the most and listening to the judges.

Sam Woolf was up next, with Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” Jennifer thought the song was perfectly suited to Sam, and he sounded great, but she wondered if he had been singing about anyone in particular to really connect with the song. Harry said the arrangement was very smart, but he agreed with Jennifer that he didn’t feel a connection with the song at all. Keith wanted Sam to loosen the edges of his voice and glide around the words – he wanted him to sing them to somebody.

Jessica Meuse made the logical decision to sing Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” Harry commented that Jessica must get sick of the Stevie Nicks comparisons, but he thought this might have been one of his favorite performances from her. Keith wanted Jessica to work on being as comfortable without her instrument as she is with one. Jennifer thought her confidence was growing, and she was connecting more with the audience than before.

C.J. Harris sang The Steel Drivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been For Love.” Keith thought it was a clever choice, but he asked C.J. not confuse the sound of expressing with the feeling of expressing, meaning he can make his voice sound like he is feeling, but it is different to sing when he is actually feeling it. Jennifer agreed that it was a good choice, but he went off a lot in the middle. Harry added that there is a lot of stuff to do seamlessly while performing, and he agreed with what Keith said. He also stressed that C.J. needed to work on his pitch.

Next to sing was Caleb Johnson, who went with Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.” Jennifer commented that Caleb was a little sexy during his performance, which she felt he needed in order to be a rock star. Harry and Jennifer both gave it up to the band before Harry said he didn’t know how Caleb could have done that song any better. Keith thought Caleb really led the performance, and he killed it.

Jena Irene closed the show out with Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.” Harry had told Caleb he would be hard to follow, but Jena just followed it. He could hear Jena’s voice on the radio, and he liked how she worked the band, the stage, and the audience. Keith said she was her own lane and had her own thing going on. Jennifer thought she sounded phenomenal, but she wanted her to be “more messy.”

What did you think of tonight’s performances? Do you have any predictions of who might go home or end up in the bottom three tomorrow night? Leave a comment below!

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