Another performance night, another first-time theme that pretty much means anything. Fortunately, the contestants were put in good hands with coffeehouse superstar Jason Mraz mentoring America’s picks for the final five. Let’s be honest, this competition hasn’t been fierce in a while. The singers haven’t really been challenged yet to go completely outside of their comfort zones and have resulted in doing the same things over and over again each week. Even Jena can’t get rid of her bangs now that J.Lo complimented her that one time.
In a desperate attempt to make everyone more uncomfortable than they already are (and obvious Fox promotion), each Idol revealed their celebrity crushes at the beginning of the show and SURPRISE! Zooey Deschanel and Ariana Grande were actually there for Alex and Sam, respectively, and their faces were redder than the Coke logo.
Jason Mraz was a pretty good mentor, though he was only seen giving advice for their first picks. It was a tremendous honor for Jason to be there because he said he was a fan of the show from the beginning, voting for Kelly Clarkson in the first season. Now, “I’m Yours” is one of the most popular Idol audition songs of all time, and just happens to be my personal karaoke go-to as well. I don’t get why they don’t have these mentors at the actual performances, though, and never hear from them again. I would prefer a Mraz Rewind tomorrow over the usual Randy Review, but maybe that’s just me.
Alex Preston, “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood: So, Alex got to meet with his actual American idol Jason Mraz (again) and was surprised by his crush Zooey Deschanel AND had to start the show? Talk about pressure. Alex finally seemed to warm up a little to the idea of moving around a bit on stage, probably because Jason called him out on his stiff performances in the past. I thought Alex actually did a great job with the fluid song. Sure, it could have had more energy and “start with a bang” as J.Lo wanted, but I blame the song and not Alex’s specific performance. It just wasn’t a good song to start the show with, but I thought he did a great job. The song was able to show Alex’s control and focus on complicated lyrics, which Harry gave him an A+ for remembering. Though I wouldn’t give the same grade for his overall performance, I think he definitely has a good chance of passing through.
Caleb Johnson, “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith: You can’t blame Caleb that this song is pretty overdone and he definitely tried to make it his own. You also can’t blame him for some awful lighting design that left his face in darkness and made him look as old as Steven Tyler pretty much the entire time. Sidebar: Remember when Steven Tyler was a judge? Also, what was with the Phantom of the Opera lair setup and all those candelabras? Could have used a little more Liberace flair, in my opinion. Wow. I digress. The beginning was a little off, Harry said, because he thought Caleb was playing too much to the cameras and not connecting to the energy in the room. I get the critique, but there are more people voting through that camera lens than in that audience, so again, you can’t blame Caleb for the effort. Midway through, the song really picked up and showed off some incredible high notes, and Caleb ended strong. Jason may call him the underdog rock ‘n roller, but he’s still one of the favorites. As long as he doesn’t get too cocky about that (and lets go of a long hug with Jason), Caleb will continue through to the finals.
NEXT PAGE: Sam gets funky for America