American Idol Top 6: The #SamSpiracy Comes To Life

This is the face everyone in America makes when asked "Why won't the judges say something critical of Sam?"

This is the face everyone in America makes when asked “Why won’t the judges say something critical of Sam?”

The fix is in.

After tonight’s performances, there’s no doubt about it – Season 13 of American Idol isn’t about talent, song choice or performances. It’s all about how marketable you can be and what you’ll do for ratings.

It’s really the only explanation. I mean, for weeks we heard the judges chirp at Dexter Roberts for singing songs exactly the way they sounded on the radio and tonight when Sam Woolf sung Imagine Dragons exactly the way it sounds on the radio, J-Lo, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban couldn’t stop praising him for being who he was an artist.

The #SamSpiracy was in early and it was a running theme for the night.

Tonight wasn’t American Idol as much as it was American Karaoke. There was very little originality – something the judges have praised Alex Preston and Geena Gina Jena Irene for in past weeks – and a whole lot of singing the songs how they sound on the radio. It was boring and mundane and really the only exciting part was Fox showing Ryan Seacrest touching a pussy on live TV. The cat looked less than enthused to be involved.

The only Idol you could actually respect for both performances was Jessica Meuse and, predictably, she got pissed on like one of R. Kelly’s dates. I’m not going to sit here and sell you that either one of her performances – Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” – was something you needed to spend $1.29 on iTunes for, but they weren’t worthy of the critiques J-Lo, Connick and Urban threw at her.

Same goes for CJ Harris. He did a note-for-note copy of Lenny Kravitz’s cover of “American Woman” (So is that considered different because it’s different than The Guess Who’s? That’s up for debate) and it was solid, but not great. He followed by singing Zac Brown Band’s “Whatever It Is,” a move right out of the Dexter Roberts Playbook – play uber-popular band’s uber-popular song, watch the votes roll in.

Since the #SamSpiracy was in, Jess and CJ got destroyed and I’ll even make this prediction now before I get to the rest of the show – they’re in the bottom two and CJ is going home. That sucks because when he’s not out of tune, he’s got the best voice on the show. It’s the most unique and it’s better, by miles, than any of the guys, including Rock God Caleb Johnson.

Other than Jessica, it was a mixed bag of a night.

Alex also went to the Dexter Roberts Playbook and sang a popular song by a popular band – Neon Trees’ “Animal” – that was way out of his comfort zone. He looked awkward but sounded OK; the judges, instead of ripping him for being unoriginal, praised him but did say he had room for error. Which was true. Then Alex came out and did a terrific cover of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind,” redeeming himself more than Harry when he got the moped in Dumb & Dumber.

Jena performed along the same lines. She did a replica of Heart’s “Barracuda” – a brave choice considering how easy it is to screw up Heart songs – and her rocker vibe clearly worked. Her country song was Carrie Underwood’s “So Small” and since this guy had never heard it, didn’t know what to compare it to but it sounded pretty damn good.

Caleb had a strange night. He rocked – because duh – but his performances were lacking that “special” quality. If it wasn’t for the judges’ abuse of Jess and CJ I’d say Caleb would be in trouble, but he’s not. Picking the Black Crowes’ “Sting Me” was a horrible decision because if you don’t listen to the band, you don’t know any of their songs other than the cover of “Hard to Handle” or “She Talks to Angels.” Picking songs people don’t know doesn’t work. He came back with Underwood’s “Undo It” and I loved the artist, not so much the song. I’m not going to go too crazy on the country performance because of my complete lack of understanding the genre or the popularity, but I really would have loved to see him take on “Last Name” or one of her popular songs. His voice trying to do her songs was an A-plus idea.

And Sam?

Sam was bad. He couldn’t have copied Imagine Dragons more – and with nothing but respect for them, these entertainment reporters need to grow a set and question the judges/producers on what’s up with the inconsistency in judging – and tried to steal my heart with Shania Twain’s “Still the One” (admit it – you don’t skip that when it comes on in the car), but his performance was brutal. In fact, it was one of the worst of the season. But he’s not going anywhere. He’s too American Idol to not be the American Idol.

I don’t think we had a big winner tonight. There wasn’t one performance that made me think differently about the outcome of the show. Alex is still the front-runner, Caleb is still coming in second (although Jena is gonna have a huge say in that), Jessica and CJ are in the producers’ crosshairs and Sam is the Golden Boy who isn’t very good.
Jessica and CJ are bottom two and CJ will go home even though the bottom two should be Sam and CJ with Sam going home.

Song by song breakdown coming up after the West Coast. This is what happens when tweens try to tell you how awesome R5 is on Twitter.