American Idol Top 13 LIVE: Rock out with your Idol out

This is the only thing that would have made Caleb's performance better.

This is the only thing that would have made Caleb’s performance better.

Well American Idol started slow, found some nice performances and was going just fine but NOW I WANT TO SHOTGUN BEERS, BLOW SOME LINES AND ROCK MY ASS OFF!!!!!!!

Thanks Caleb Johnson.

I can’t remember a better close to the live show premiere. He made a brutal Week 1 strategic error picking a song nobody knew – how many viewers are familiar with the Rival Sons’ “Pressure and Time?” I know. None – and just came out and rocked it so hard you instantly forget everything you just saw, raised your lighter high and screamed for an encore. He was that good.

Did Caleb win the night?

Uh, yeah.

And it really made the rest pale in comparison. Tough to imagine because there were some really strong performances.
Week 1′s theme was “This Is Me” which I guess meant doing songs that were about you or something like that. Few things are worse than weeks when they leave weeks up to interpretation instead of just saying “pick whatever you want because we’re too lazy to think of 10 awesome genres.”

There’s a clear strategy for Week 1. Safe gets you through and buys you a week, but the best play is a risk. Do something crazy. Adam Lambert did it when he covered the Rolling Stones and all of a sudden he was the favorite every week.

We saw a lot of safe performances. Some were good, like CJ Harris doing Darius Rucker’s “Radio,” Majesty Rose singing Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope,” or Sam Woolf handling Matchbox 20s “Unwell,” his second straight performance of a song I would play when I was trying to hook up with a girl in college. Ben Briley did “Folsom Prison Blues” and it was a little fast. And by a little fast I mean Johnny Cash would have had to have done 10 times as much cocaine as he was already doing at the time he wrote it to get it to that pace.

Some weren’t so good. Dexter Roberts sang Chris Young’s “Aw Naw” and he would have been better off covering the Nappy Roots’ “Awnaw” (NOTE: Awesome idea). Kristen O’Connor sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster” which was perfect because KO is beautiful and her performance was a disaster. Super dork Malaya Watson, a DRI fave, picked Bruno Mars’ Runaway Baby and it was horrible and it may have been because of the talent from her mother, who we saw in the stands clapping as close to the beat as Helen Keller would have been.

That trio was the worst of the night and I’m hoping KO or Dexter goes home because I picked Malaya to finish fifth as my darkhorse, a pick I instantly regretted when she decided to sing Bruno Mars. Note to Malaya – to not tease the funk, then deny the funk.

Then there was the really good performances, which were labeled “great” until Caleb got on stage and flipped everyone the proverbial middle finger of rock.

The best of the bunch was MK Nobilette. She showed up with the backward snapback a la Bieber, a suit from the Pitbull collection and when she said she was singing “Satisfaction” I heart Stone and figured she was pulling a Lambert, doing a different version of a Rolling Stones song that would make the judges swoon.

Turned out it was “Satisfaction” by Allen Stone, but as far as I’m concerned that song belongs to MK-47. She was strong but sensitive and so good there’s no doubt she’s legit and not just some gay pom-pom Idol producers can throw around to show how cultural they are.

It was tough not to be impressed by Alex Preston’s “A Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz. Covering Mr. A-Z can be tough because you can come off sounding like a pop pussy, but he did it brilliantly. There’s a reason Vegas has him listed as the favorite – 4/1 with Sam Woolf – and he showed why.

My pre-show issue with Jessica Meuse was I couldn’t tell if she was going to be a bad-ass rocker chick or a country chick. She pretty much took country, flipped it on its ass and rubbed it down Wednesday night. She’s a rocker pure and through and her badass cover of Shinedown’s “The Crow & the Butterfly” showed off her sultry, wispy voice and instantly made her a threat.

Emily Piriz – who Ryan Seacrest introduced with a Spanish accent, something that he’ll get his ass kicked by Alex Trebek for doing later – sang Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” and was near flawless in her execution. It wasn’t the most exciting or breathtaking song, but it was good enough that it should seal Kristen O’Connor early exit from the show in the first three weeks. After tonight, it’s clear Emily is better than KO vocally.

Finally, there was Geena Gina Jena Asciutto (who I’m not going to call Jena Irene because it’s stupid) who covered Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” It’s one of the most bone-chilling cry songs recorded the last 10 years and it’s reputation was only bolstered when Willie Nelson did a version of it that has 3/1 odds of making you cry regardless of the situation.

It was the perfect spot for Jena to sit down, play the keys and show off her voice. She didn’t. Instead, she sang standing up and started a little rough before calming down and finding herself – not that way pervert – and doing a heck of a job with the song.

My top three of the night is easy: 1) Caleb Johnson. 2) Who. 3) Cares. That’s how good Caleb was.

The bottom three should be Malaya, Kristen and Dexter. Malaya should go home – completely fucking my picks one episode in, which is why I hate picking 10, 11 and 12 seeds to do well in my NCAA Tourney brackets – but I think I’ll end up being right with my prediction and Kristen will be sent packing.

-DUDE

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