Simon Fuller's Pick: Florence and the Machine's "The Dog Days are Over"
Reprise: Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love With You"
Winner's Single: "We Are One"
Jena had a pretty good night. Simon picked a great song for her to perform with the Florence tune. It was basically a note for note rendition with a little Jena'izing added to accenting certain words. But, I agree that she commanded the stage like a seasoned pro. "Can't Help Falling in Love" was the idol moment of the season already, and she may have topped herself with that performance. The judges kept talking about someone already covering her. I had no idea what they were talking about, but it sounds like someone on The Voice did a similar rendition so maybe that was Keith subtly slamming the other show while praising Jena's original take on the song. That was easily my favorite performance of the night. The single was okay. Better than some of Idol's worst original songs like "Inside Your Heaven", "Do I Make You Proud?" I think we can all agree that the best single to ever come out of Idol was Phillip Phillips' "Home". Catchy from the first time we heard it. The Olympics certainly helped propel Phillips into one of the more successful Idol alums, but that was a decent song to come out of the show. My problem with Jena's song was that I could barely hear the lyrics. But, it sounded like it suited her style. I don't think it will hurt her any more than Caleb's song will hurt him.
Simon Fuller's Pick: Aerosmith's "Dream On"
Reprise: Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed"
Winner's Single: "As Long as You Love Me"
Caleb had a great night too doing what he's always done. Sing big, sing loud, and command the stage. "Dream On" was good and we all kept wondering if he'd hit the big note, and he certainly did. If anything would put him over the edge, it might be that. But, Jena hit right back with the Elvis tune and hit back big. "Amazed" was great again, but I could tell where the judges might have thought he was just going through the motions a bit. But, Caleb going through the motions is certainly less noticeable than say Sam Woolf! It was good. The new single was kind of rough. He sang it well and did his Caleb thing, but that whole lyric about 24/7 and "I'm in Heaven"? That's all I remember and it's painful! Maybe it just reminds me of Bo Bice disturbingly singing "Inside Your Heaven" and many adults' inner teenagers just chuckling at the unintentional innuendo. I'm sure most of us were thankful that Miss Underwood released the single instead and eventually had much better songs to make us forget about it in the end!
American Idol Season 13 Winner Pick
So, I've made it no secret over the past few weeks that I thought Caleb would be in the finale and I thought Jena (the wildcard!) had a pretty good chance of being there too. I've also said that I thought Jena's sleeper status and growth story is more compelling than the always cool and good Caleb. He didn't really have anywhere to grow. He may have done some minor tweaking along the way, but he has always been Caleb and has always been really good.
Here's the thing folks. If you think of today's popular music, who has a better chance of becoming a star? I'm not sure if you read me saying this before, but as far as what sells today, Rock and Roll is truly dead. Just look at the iTunes Rock charts to see what is topping them. (Daughtry, ironically a season 5 Idol finalist, is the only one that is a recent artist/band) And most rock stations would refuse to play Idol winners or finalists anyway, so where does that put someone like Caleb in today's music landscape? Probably starring in Rock of Ages on broadway or playing Meatloaf's role in a Rocky Horror Picture Show revival. Meanwhile, Jena seems like she could fit into the Alt-Rock Paramore-ish niche out there pretty successfully. We'll see how well she does performing with Paramore Wednesday night.
I'll get to my pick in a second, but one thing is for sure, no one should ever ever ever EVER sing "Breakaway" on the Idol stage again unless it's the one and only Miss Kelly Clarkson. I know all of the top 13 recorded the song as their farewell tune and I get that Per Blankens was trying to get that nostalgia vibe going all season and remind us of the success this show has had in developing stars. But please, that was painful! Okay, here we go.
As always I need to do a trip down memory lane with my finale record:
Season 13 Pick: Jena Irene
Had to go with my instinct I've had for the past few weeks. I really won't be disappointed either way on this one. They're both very talented and hopefully they'll each find a way to carve a spot in the music industry with whatever they want to do. We'll find out Wednesday night for sure! Let me know if you agree/disagree with the pick in the comments.
As always it's been fun writing this up even in the waning years of the show. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll most likely see you in some form next year!