"American Idol" 2014 resumed April 3 on FOX with the top eight results show, which featured a guest performance by a former contestant and ended with a dramatic decision by the esteemed judging panel.
The show opened as mentor Randy Jackson picked his favorites from the top 8 show, which included Jena Irene Asciutto, who put her own original spin on the Adele hit "Rolling in the Deep"; Caleb Johnson, who powered through Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools"; Jessica Meuse, who sang her original song "Blue Eyed Lie"; and Dexter Roberts, who delivered a touching take on the Brett Eldredge ballad "One Mississippi."
Long-time show host Ryan Seacrest then welcomed judges Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, who hit the stage to the sounds of some seriously enthusiastic screams from the live audience. The usual post-show commentary from the contestants followed as the top eight enjoyed dinner and chatted over their experiences.
Moments later, Ryan addressed all eight hopefuls, explaining that the first face to flash on the screen would be safe to sing again as part of the top seven. After a brief pause, aspiring country singer Dexter saw his mug appear on screen, and scooted happily to the lounge. He was immediately followed to the safe zone by electronic music enthusiast Jena.
The next segment of the show featured the contestants driving Ford vehicles and talking about their life experiences, and then Daughtry, fronted by season five alum Chris Daughtry, followed with "Waiting for Superman" from their recent release "Baptized."
Following a break, attention once again turned to the big screen as big-voiced rocker Caleb successfully advanced. Mere moments later, Jessica joined him, as did Alex Preston. Left in the bottom three were teen Malaya Watson, former front runner Sam Woolf, and the soulful C.J. Harris.
After another break, Ryan cut to the chase by telling Sam that he'd received the fewest votes and would need to sing for his life. As Malaya and C.J. joined the others in the lounge, Sam launched into his rendition of David Gray's "Babylon." He looked almost indifferent as he sang and delivered a final product that was passable, but not outstanding. As the young ladies in the audience chanted "save him," Jennifer spoke on behalf of the judges and revealed that they'd opted to use their one save of the season to allow him to continue on in the competition. Confetti fell as Sam and the rest of the finalists celebrated his renewed competition life.
With the roster of players unchanged, "American Idol" 2014 continues April 9 on FOX with the top eight redux show.