American Idol Finalists Start With A Bang; End With A ‘Meh’

Once again Caleb Johnson out-did himself with a song chosen by American Idol creator Simon Fuller — “Dream On” by Aerosmith. By the end, the judges and audience were on their feet and the screaming and applause went on forever. He was indeed the Rock n’ Roll Viking that Keith Urban dubbed him. He did the Steven Tyler scream so well that host Ryan Seacrest made the comment, “If I could have looked in your throat I could swear Steven Tyler was in there waving.”

I agree with Harry Connick, Jr., that the first of the song lacked power, but, man, did he make up for it. Keith disagreed with Harry, saying that Caleb “had me in the opening”. Jennifer noted that “that’s what you gotta do, you gotta seize the moment”. As she turned away from the camera we could hear her say, “That might have did it”.

First in the line-up, however, was Jena Irene, with Simon Fuller’s choice of “Dog Days Are Over”. Once again she sounded like she was screaming and running out of breath. Too much stage presence and not enough singing. Keith said she “owned the stage”, was a “real pro”, but noted that she had issues with breath control. Jennifer thought she had “electric energy” and that halfway through she loosened up. Harry was impressed with her walking in time to the music and then double-timing it, though it cost her in control.

In the second round, Jena sang her awesome version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by Elvis Presley. It was still beautiful, but lacked the whole heart that her first performance of this song had. However, it finished with Keith standing, and a good audience response. Harry liked that she comes up with her own unique renditions of songs many others have done well. Keith called her a trail-blazer and a leader. Jennifer, again, got goosies and said she could hear her soul come through.

Caleb’s choice was Paul McCartney’s “I’m Amazed” that he did amazingly well a few weeks ago. Though, like Jena, you couldn’t fault his singing, he lacked the feeling he had the first time around. This was also noted by Keith, who warned him to not get so caught up in his power that he forgot the feeling. Jennifer said she was missing the soul coming through. Harry just tossed in a meaningless comment about them both being heavy-weights.

Round three brought contestants and their audience together for their Original Potential Single, neither of which will see a dime of my money. Seacrest introduced Jena as the first wild card ever to make it this far in the competition. She sang “We Are One”, which she co-wrote with Felicia Barton, a hopeful from Season 8 who, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut. Once again Jena lacked the breath to sing it at its full potential, but could make a decent studio song, I suppose. I’m just going by the tune. I didn’t understand one word of it. Judges comments were blase, maybe because they seemed pushed for time. Jennifer called it a nice finish, Harry called it strong, and Keith said it was perfect for her.

Caleb sang “As Long As You Love Me”, whose lyrics, if I got them right in those spots I could understand, was letting the girl know she didn’t have to be with him 24/7, and something about he wasn’t cruel, and a few other phrases that are fleeting, but that I wouldn’t want to be sung to me by anybody for any reason. The message of the song, to me was, as long as YOU love ME, I can go do what I please. Jena had the better song (relatively speaking).

Though I have loved Caleb’s voice and rocker performances throughout the season, I have long known that if I’m looking for depth I won’t find it there. That was borne out from an interview last week by Jason Ikeler of TVBuzz, where Caleb called his fans “retards”,  and that he doesn’t “really enjoy having to see somebody tell me what song I need to sing. I think at this point in the competition, I can pick and choose my own songs and represent me the best. I don’t need 10,000 people telling me you should sing this, you should sing that, listen to me, listen to me. Fortunately guys, I’m going to listen to myself, whether you like it or not.”

Frankly, dahlin’, I think this says a lot about a young man who doesn’t even realize that his big mouth could cost him the competition. It has several times before to other hopefuls. I don’t think his “peanut” apology will work on this one. Kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?



6 thoughts on “American Idol Finalists Start With A Bang; End With A ‘Meh’

  1. Wow! I’d heard about Caleb calling his fans retards and that he has apoligized, but trash talk like that may cost him the competition. I didn’t care for his mention of coccaine being on the scene when he makes his home town visit either. I don’t know whether to think he just doesn’t give a hoot about what people think of him or it he’s so confident of winning that he feels he can say anything no matter how rude. Jena just might win by default.

    As for the singing, I didn’t like either “original winner’s single” at all. And you’re absolutely right about Jena screaming and screeching her way through Florence & the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” It seemed like there was too much adrenalin driving her. She also needs to work on her lower register. Every time she sings a low note, I can’t tell what the lyrics are. It’s like she swallows the words.

    Otherwise, I thought it was an interesting night. Tonight should be, too.

    So You Think You Can Dance starts next week, I think. Yay!

    • Hi, Jo Anne, you said all of my thoughts exactly. Haven’t gotten to writing about the big night. I missed pieces of it because of stomach problems. Real bad night.

      I did see the end (most of it), and was pleased to see that Caleb looked shocked and humbled. I also agree about his talking about drugs. I don’t know if he’s trying to be seen as cool by other rock musicians or what. I hope this helps him grow up.

      • The finale was OK, but waaaay too many commercials and boring stuff….a least boring IMO. However, the ending jam with the judges all performing together was awesome. I loved their camaraderie and chemistry together. I couldn’t help thinking that would never happen with Nikki Minaj and Mariah Carey as judges. They’d rather die than perform together. 🙂

        I was a little surprised that Caleb won because I thought his trash talk might cost him the title. I do wonder though if Caleb will just be a flash-in-the pan, a one-trick pony. I wouldn’t buy his album. Too much screaming for me.

        I think Jena, on the other hand, with some good coaching, could go on to have a very successful career.

        I read today that the number of Idol finale viewers has dropped every year since season five. This year was 66% lower than just three years ago. I guess having these three good judges hasn’t made a difference. The Voice is dropping every year, too. The article concluded with the opinion that America is getting tired of singing competition shows. Maybe so.

    • I have to look up stuff more now than I used to. Like . . . is that z or s, etc. Spelling and grammar were always my strong points. Time chips away at everything. But I just keep on plugging. Thank God for Google!!!!:)

      • “Thank God for Google!!!!:) ”

        Indeed! I rarely use my dictionary unless I’m not on the computer. It’s SO much easier to just open another window and go to Google.

        I’ve always been a good speller, too, but I’ve become too dependent on spell checkers. Since I can’t have that at Word Press, I have to pay more attention to what I’m writing….or visit Google.


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