‘American Idol XIII’ review: Did Jena Irene, Alex Preston, or Malaya Watson rule top 11?

American Idol -American Idol XIII” had a rough week when it came to the top 12 performances, as many of them were pretty disappointing and did nothing new for us. That had us worried for Movie Week for sure … but then there were some surprises!

We’re not going to sit here and proclaim that every performance was killer, mostly because that’s not the case at all. There were some clunkers in the middle of everything. But, we had by and large a much stronger mix of music. We liked some of the choices and the artistry … we just wish we could say more about the band. As always, we’re going to rank these performances from start to finish.

11. Majesty Rose, “Let It Go” – Clearly, someone was going to sing this. The problem is that the song really doesn’t work as well as a standalone vocal. The only reason Idina Menzel got away with it at the Oscars is because she’s amazing. There were some good moments in here, but there were some really bad ones. Missed notes abounded, and it felt extremely hokey.

10. MK Nobilette, “Make You Feel Me Love” – There were some moments in here that we liked, but there is nothing that was too interesting about a song that we have heard so many times before. MK just needs to bring that extra amount of passion, and we didn’t quite get it through listening to this performance.

9. Dexter Roberts, “Sweet Home Alabama” – Sure, we’ll get in trouble for this, since Dexter sang this pretty well. But, it was the most boring song choice imaginable. It was basically like Dexter going into an elementary school and throwing them candy for all the “American Idol” viewers in Alabama. All this was to us was really good karaoke.

8. Jessica Meuse, “The Sound of Silence” – We have said many times over the years that this Simon & Garfunkel song is probably one of our favorites. She actually did well performing it, but this band completely screwed her. What’s going on with this group? This is the first season that we’ve ever been worried constantly about the band screwing something up.

7. Sam Woolf, “Come Together” – A nice performance by Sam. We cannot really sit here and say that it is particularly amazing, but there was at least some effort here in trying to do something different beyond just standing there with a guitar. He reminds us of a guy who has been told that he’s great and artistic, and thanks to that he never really worked on having a stage presence.

6. Malaya Watson, “I Am Changing” – At least this is a different song from “Dreamgirls” than “I Am Telling You I Am Not Going.” But, it was a little overbaked and overpraised from the judges. We don’t really need that “big belter” in the way that many do, and she was flat on so many notes that we couldn’t fully enjoy the ending.

5. Caleb Johnson, “Skyfall” – By far, the best performance of Caleb all competition … mostly because it was something a little different than the standard rock song. It gives him space to show everyone just how good of a singer he really is. And he’s great! We’ve heard so many people sing out of tune lately, but he has consistently done that.

4. Ben Briley, “Bennie and the Jets” – The winner of this week’s “most underrated performance.” The only thing that we really disliked about this was that this song pretty much belongs to Haley Reinhart on this show. But it was a nice departure for Ben, who we’re starting to really appreciate this season.

3. CJ Harris, “Can’t You See” – This is CJ finally showing us some of that potential that we knew that he had within him. This performance was amazing! While he may have a little bit sharpness in his voice, he’s a natural storyteller. This was just a groove. J.Lo was dancing, and we also had constant sights of CJ’s girlfriend (practically a part of the season a while longer).

2. Alex Preston, “Falling Slowly” – The moment that Alex said this was his song, it was pretty clear that everyone else was screwed. It’s a beautiful song from a beautiful movie, and it was completely captivating. This will get him a ton of votes, and it may go down as one of our favorites this whole season.

1. Jena Irene, “Decode” – This was the performance from Jena we have been long hoping for ever since she debuted her original. She reminds us slightly of a less rock version of Hayley Williams, and our take on her performance was probably aided more by us not hearing this song on the show so many times. Episode Grade: B.

Who was your favorite on this “American Idol” performance show? Share your thoughts with a comment, and be sure to visit the link here if you want to see where we ranked the contestants prior to tonight’s show. For more updates worth singing about sent straight to your email, be sure to sign up now for our CarterMatt Newsletter!

Photo: Fox


Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!