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?