American Idol Top 11: A Mediocre Night at the Movies

One of the few contestants who gets it.

One of the few contestants who gets it.

Don’t believe the judges.

Regardless of how many times Harry Connick Jr. says it – with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban smiling and nodding like bobblehead dolls – this year’s contestants are not the most unique in American Idol history.
Unless by unique you mean mediocre.

It’s clear that the kids just don’t get it. There’s some talent there and you can’t deny it, but save for a select few, too many of them don’t understand who they are as musicians or how American Idol actually works.

Tonight’s live show wasn’t bad. Compared to last week, it was Eminem-and-Elton-John-at-the-Grammy’s good. But it wasn’t good. It was … so … meh.

The point of this blog is to write about Idol unlike anybody else. We’re trying to cover it like a football game or any other game. In sports, you can play to win or play not to lose and usually when you play not to lose, you end up sucking balls.

That’s what we got tonight from seven of the contestants.

The front-runners, at least from what we saw tonight, are Jessica Meuse, CJ Harris, Caleb Johnson and Alex Preston. They understand who they are and what the game is and make it work.

None of the other contestants do.

We had a nice blend of contestants showing a glimpse of who they could possibly be – MK Nobilette, Malaya Watson – contestants who are content just sticking around instead of winning – Dexter Roberts, Sam Woolf – contestants who don’t quite get it but are close – Geena Gina Jena Irene – and contestants who clearly have no clue what they are doing – Ben Briley, Majesty Rose.

If Jessica Meuse isn’t the favorite to win the show right now it’s only because the judges seemed determined to not give her the chance. Her cover of “The Sound of Silence” – which DRI picked for MK Nobilette and Meuse favorited the tweeted link; pretty sure she’s a regular to the site because when they were impersonating Caleb Johnson, she just straight stole the “Meatloaf and Jack Black’s kid” joke – was nothing short of spectacular. If my iTunes wasn’t all fucked up, I’d but that shit tomorrow. She knows who she is, knows her strengths and holy shit does she put it all together well.

CJ is in the same boat. He’s good, he knows what he likes and he’s not going to change, but he balances who he is and what it takes to win perfectly.

Alex Preston’s song choice bothered me a little. “Falling Slowly” is on the short list of songs that should never be done on Idol because it was done so beautifully and definitely not making-me-cry-worthy by Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze that it should never be done again. Alex was better than the original, but I compared it to the duet on Idol and it fell short for me.

Caleb was three notes from locking up the Season 13 title tonight. Loved the song choice even though I thought he would have rocked everyone’s balls off by doing “Cochise” by Audioslave from “Ironman.” He’s showing me some Lambert-esque ability when it comes to performing and picking and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think he might end up winning.

The rest of the group? Could have done without them.

MK and Malaya came up with big performances and they should be out of the line of fire. I wasn’t big on J-Lo comparing MK to KD Lang (it’s like comparing the scrappy white point guard to the scrappy white point guard; the only think MK and KD have in common are initialed IDs and they frequent the same style bars) and wasn’t big on her praise of Malaya for singing the most predictable song of the night. Being predictable don’t win Idol.

Ben Briley is my pick to win, but the dude is just getting too smart for his own good. He sung “Benny and the Jets” from “27 Dresses” – then denied he saw the movie, which is bullshit because he’s married – and it was more karaoke than a drunk 40-year old broad singing Martina McBride. It’s a shame because BB might be the only non-Caleb to be able to sick fast-paced songs without sounding ridiculous.

Joining Ben in the bottom three is going to be Majesty Rose. I didn’t mind her performance, but to be fair I had never heard that song from “Frozen,” which is weird because all I listen to is cheesy pop music and I have a 2-year old daughter. Twitter hated it and based on what I heard, she should be a lock for the bottom three.

Jena is starting to get it. She’ll be among the contenders soon, I think, because she’s showing signs of understanding what it takes to do well on the show. J-Lo – who baffles me with her naivete – said she didn’t know why Jena was in the bottom three last week without mentioning the fact Jena was god awful. She’ll be OK this week.

The rest of them? Too boring to mention. Dexter Roberts isn’t good and can’t win. He’s just playing songs everyone loves – which I am all for – but he’s doing exact covers – which I am against. Sam Woolf can sing whatever and teenage girls are going to vote for him even though he’s approaching brutal territory.

If I’m picking the bottom three, it’s Ben, Sam and Majesty with Majesty going home, but this is one week where nothing would surprise me.