The first round of concerts was less exciting than it should have been.
Last night, American Idol entered its slightly less interesting stage – with the top 13 contestants selected, it’s time to actually remember the names and watch the dwindling group of people for two more months. Hence, last night’s “This Is Me” theme served as the introduction round.
Much like the name games at teambuilding meetings, it was not interesting as intended and many failed to stick out. Kicking things off with the classic “acoustic guitar and moody spotlight” routine, Dexter Roberts’ rendition of Aw Naw by Chris Young was good… just not memorable enough. Judge Keith Urban felt that Roberts failed to “make the song his own” and with it might cost him in the future. Malaya Watson performed a good cover of Bruno Mars’ Runaway Baby. That was it – good. The performance derailed slightly toward the end, but she still got an A+ out of the goodness of Jennifer Lopez’ heart.
Jennifer Lopez proved herself as the warmest judge again.
Kristen O’Connor tried to go all pop punk on everyone, channeling her inner Kelly Clarkson with Beautiful Disaster. It was more disaster than beautiful, unfortunately. Ben Briley paid tribute to Johnny Cash with his song choice – Fulsom Prison Blues. The song, which was obviously sped up in Briley’s version, appealed to Lopez, but not so much to Keith Urban, who advised Briley to be less kitchy in the future.
The following performances – CJ Harris with Darius Rucker’s Radio, MK Nobilette performing Allen Stone’s Satisfaction and Majesty Rose, who ambitiously chose Janelle Monae’s Tightrope – all went into the jazz and R&B territory. It was a nice change of pace and well appreciated by the judges and the audience.
Keith Urban was all about constructive criticism and "making the song your own."
From then on, the night got progressively more alternative – and more dramatic. Moving through Coldplay’s The Scientist, performed by Jena Irene, Alex Preston With A Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz and Jess Meuse with The Crow and the Butterfly by Shinedown, the tricky song selection mostly failed the young hopefuls. Emily Piriz impressed the panel with her clear vocals on Pink’s Glitter in the Air, while Sam Wolf’s rendition of Unwell by Matchbox 20 was, fittingly, not well loved. Caleb Johnson finished off the night with Pressure and Time by Rival Sons. The judges loved it.