Tonight's American Idol theme is "Break Ups and Make Ups."
After Sam Woolf's elimination last week, which shocked everyone, there are, no doubt, some heartbroken girls in the audience.
Will the remaining contestants, all of whom are vying for a hometown visit next week, be able to mend their hearts?
Let's find out!
For the first of Caleb Johnson's three songs tonight (yes, each contestant will sing THREE songs), he's chosen "You Give Love A Bad Name" for his breakup song. No one is shocked that he would choose a big 80s number. (Secretly hoping he'll choose Meatloaf for the "Make Ups" category). There's nothing bad to say about his performance aside from the fact that it's predictable and exactly what we've come to expect from him week after week.
Keith loved where Caleb took the song in the end. Jennifer thinks Caleb is ready for primetime. Harry called it fantastic and gave him the note that he can't keep singing the same run because he can't do that 10 times a night in concert. 3.5/5
Jessica Meuse selected a Kelly Clarkson number for her Break Up song. "Since You've Been Gone" is her anthem to all the boys who broke her heart because they didn't fit with her life goals. She starts in the wrong key and stays there and then shouts the bridge. Jessica Meuse is no Kelly. Not even close. Her performance completely sucks the life out of this song.
Jennifer kicks off the critique by saying that Jessica had the right attitude but this wasn't the right song. Harry is glad she has two more songs coming because that wasn't her best. Keith thinks she's not lacking confidence and that he started dancing along to try and loosen her up. 1/5
Alex Preston's first heartbreak came when he left for college. Awwww. He's chosen "Too Close" by Alex Clare. He's stripped back the arrangement to make the lyrics stand front and center and right now I'll bet that girl who broke his heart is wishing she'd made a different choice. Once again, he's taken a popular song and made it sound brand new.
Harry liked the performance, but loves that Alex is constantly making songs his own. Keith wishes Alex had commanded his phrases a little more. Jennifer's concern is that Alex isn't creating moments in each performance that will help him win. 4/5
To end the first round, Jena Irene is singing "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benetar. I can't say that this song comes to mind when I'm asked to list break up songs, but Jena rocks it. Vocally she's fantastic. The performance isn't overdone. It's great. She just won that round by a mile.
Keith calls her a killer singer but thought she was holding herself back a bit during her performance. Jennifer disagrees with Keith and thought Jena gave a very controlled performance. Harry gives her a 10 vocally but agrees with Keith that she needs to let her emotions rule her. 4/5
For round two, Caleb Johnson is dedicating "Travelin' Band" to his band back in Asheville. Having grown up on CCR, I'm not hating this update on a classic tune. Caleb does a great job controlling the lyrics with the faster tempo. I'm not a huge fan of his ending, but no one can say he didn't leave everything he had on the stage, just like he always does.
Jennifer is speechless and says he'll be tough to beat. Harry compliments the band and says the performance was fantastic. Keith rocked out the entire time. He clearly loved it. 5/5
Jessica Meuse started her second performance, "So What," by P!nk, off much the same way she started the first. It's P!NK! Jessica has ZERO energy for this song. None. She's dragging and singing a second-rate cover version.
Harry thinks she's terrific but has made two terrible song choices so far tonight. Keith agrees with Harry. She's made terrible choices. Jennifer agrees with the guys. 1/5
In an odd "Dedication" choice, Jena Irene chooses "Bad Romance," by Lady Gaga. Glee's "Bad Romance" during the first Lady Gaga tribute episode was a million, billion times better than this. Vocally, Jena Irene is good like always, but this song choice makes no sense for the category and isn't necessarily a great fit for her. To be clear, she can probably do Gaga, but not this song and not tonight.
Keith liked that Jena changed the melody in the chorus and called it "really, really good." Jennifer calls her a force to be reckoned with but didn't love the changes she made to the melody. Harry thought she made interesting choices and called it a nice job. 3.5/5
Alex Preston has a ukelele for his "Dedication" song and plans to be singing "I'm Yours." His girlfriend is in the audience, so this is for her. The song choice is perfect for him, probably because we've heard him do things just like this all season. We know who he is as an artist. He doesn't do much to the song, opting instead to play it close to the melody. It's a solid performance.
Jennifer wants him do something to surprise them. Harry really wanted to hear Alex' spin on the song and was disappointed that he didn't give them that. Keith felt like Alex got into the song in the last 8 bars and that's what he wants to hear more of. 4/5
And now for Round Three.
Caleb Johnson kicks off "Make Ups" with "Maybe I'm Amazed." (Bummed it wasn't Meatloaf.) He puts way too much hairography into this which makes it feel comical instead of sincere. I do like what he does vocally with the performance. Caleb can absolutely sing. Keith and Jennifer give him a standing ovation.
Harry liked hearing him sing softly and called it "phenomenal." Keith totally agrees with Harry. Jennifer called this his best performance since the beginning. 4/5
Another Lady Gaga song is coming to the stage courtesy of Jessica Meuse with "You and I." She adds the acoustic guitar to it and gives it a bit of a country twang. It's definitely her best performance of the night, but one out of three isn't really enough to redeem her, is it? (Not to me, it isn't.) It's good, but she should've gone home weeks ago.
Keith called it the perfect song choice for her. Jennifer agreed and said this is what we've been waiting for all night. Harry says she came out swinging and killed it. 3.5/5
Jena Irene is singing "Can't Help Falling In Love With You" by Elvis, and she's going back to the piano. I'm completely sucked in from the opening notes. This, Jena behind the piano, is what saved her in the sea of Hollywood contestants and she just proved exactly why she deserves to be here. She doesn't even finish before Jennifer's on her feet. This is a performance to download tomorrow and she might have just clenched the entire competition with it.
Jennifer walked across the stage to give her a kiss on the cheek and says she could cry by how beautiful it was. Harry can only call it incredible. Keith calls her a "musical platypus" and her performance "spellbinding." 5/5
To close the night, Alex Preston sings "Yellow," by Coldplay. For "Make Ups," this song might not be the best choice given the Gwyneth Paltrow-Chris Martin split, but hey, Alex does what Alex wants to do, right? He makes some interesting melodic choices while keeping things mostly the same. Following Jena Irene will hurt him, but not greatly. It was another great performance.
Harry thinks people will remember his final performance and says he's happy he doesn't have to vote tonight. Keith thinks he has a poetic vulnerability and chose a perfect song. Jennifer called it beautiful and says he needed it. 4/5
- Caleb Johnson--3.5, 5, 4 = 12.5/15
- Jessica Meuse--1, 1, 3.5 = 5.5/15
- Alex Preston--4, 4, 4 = 12/15
- Jena Irene--4, 3.5, 5 = 12.5/5
There is a CLEAR break between the Top 3 and the person who needs to leave the competition this week. CLEAR. It's been clear for weeks now. At this point, if Caleb, Alex, and Jena aren't the Top 3, I'll be shocked to my core.
My money's on Jessica Meuse to be leaving us tomorrow night.
What did you think of tonight's American Idol? Which of the Top 4 had the best performances of the night?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.