The top six finalists were revealed on Wednesday’s two-hour edition of American Idol, an installment that featured one contestant being saved by the fans for the third straight week, and another contestant making a controversial remark.
After learning that he was the last safe artist, and that Joey Cook and Rayvon Owen would be singing for the “Fan Save,” Quentin Alexander angered judge Harry Connick, Jr. by commenting, “This whole thing is wack.” Harry found the remark “disrespectful,” noting Quentin was biting the hand that feeds him. He also offered the Idol hopeful the chance to leave the competition if he had a problem with it. Alexander later clarified his statement, explaining it wasn’t the show, but rather the situation that offended him.
Host Ryan Seacrest announced the return of the “Fan Save.” After the top five contestants performed, the two remaining hopefuls sang for a “Fan Save.” Viewers had a five-minute window to cast their vote on Twitter to save one of them.
The five contestants who advanced as a result of America’s votes are: Tyanna Jones, Nick Fradiani, Jax, Clark Beckham and Quentin Alexander.
The final contestant to advance thanks to the “Fan Save,” for the third week in a row, is Rayvon Owen.
Joey Cook was sent home.
Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. were back behind the judges’ table, and Idol mentor Scott Borchetta was also on hand.
The theme this week was the “American Classics.”
The top seven contestants each performed two classic American tunes chosen by the fans, who were asked to tweet their suggestions over the past week.
Here’s a rundown of Wednesday’s performances:
Tyanna Jones’ first song was Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers’ “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.” Keith thought the performance could’ve used a little more “edge.” Jennifer agreed, adding the 17-year-old needed to not think too much about the performance. Harry echoed what mentor Borchetta had told the teen earlier, that she needed to move around and engage the audience more. Tyanna did better her second time around, tackling Ike & Tina Turner’s version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit “Proud Mary.” Harry, noting Jones had to nail this performance, dubbed it “close to perfect.” Jennifer added that Jones got to “stretch and play a little bit,” which is where the singer “lives.”
Clark Beckham hit it out of the park with his first song of the night, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” which began with a bluesy guitar solo that Beckham mimicked with his voice. J-Lo noted Clark is “starting to look like a star.” Connick agreed, as did Urban, who suggested that Clark could move around better if he wore the guitar a lot lower on his body. His second number, Frank Sinatra’s “Moon River,” got a mixed reaction. J-Lo called the performance “smooth and creamy,” but Connick noted that Beckham, playing the piano this time, needed to challenge himself by dressing up the arrangement with bigger-sounding chords.
Jax tackled Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” for her first number. And the judges all agreed she gave a strong performance. Her second song of the night was Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” which got rave reviews from the panel. Connick loved seeing Jax “run around the stage and act like a complete idiot.” Keith called the performance “contagious.” Jennifer, echoing Harry’s remark, but a little more tactfully, declared Jax looked “cool.”
Nick Fradiani, the competition’s oldest contestant, told Borchetta he’s finding his groove at the right time in the competition. He sang Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” for his first go-round of the night. Urban noted he was “engaged the whole way through.” Lopez declared Fradiani had a “radio-ready voice.” Connick said the performance was “dead-on.” For his second go-round, Fradiani delivered a laid-back rendition of Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.” Urban loved the arrangement, giving Nick a “10 out of 10.” Lopez agreed, but Connick called the performance “self-involved,” explaining that unlike the original, Nick didn’t appear to be singing to the girl in the song.
Quentin Alexander’s first song of the night was Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Jennifer thought the whole performance “worked,” but warned Quentin about his tendency to go off pitch. Harry complimented Alexander’s artistry, but thought the hopeful’s vocals just copied the original version, adding he was overshadowed by the band. Urban disagreed, noting Quentin “held his own.” Alexander returned later with Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence,” which Jennifer called “dramatic and moody.” Harry once again reminded him about singing on pitch. Keith wasn’t blown away by the performance, but said he loved what Alexander was going for.
In between the top five’s first and second performances, Seacrest announced that Joey Cook and Rayvon Owen were in the bottom two and therefore left to sing for the “Fan Save.” Each performed two songs – one in the middle of the show and one at the end. Joey’s first song was another Sinatra tune, “My Funny Valentine.” Connick thought she did a good job with the song. Urban commended Cook on her artistry, but thought the performance fell flat. Jennifer also noted the performance “didn’t move” her. Owen sang The Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin.’” Keith thought Rayvon had the “killer instinct,” but wanted to see a little more edge. Jennifer noted the artist was “fighting.” Harry thought he was lacking “the perfect song.” The person saved was announced at the end of the show.
Later, Rayvon sang Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” for his second song. Urban thought it was the right song, sung well. J-Lo said it gave her “goosies.” Connick noted Owen was a ballad singer and nailed the song. Joey Cook returned with Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” Jennifer liked this performance better than the first, noting it was more intense. Harry also thought it was a solid performance, as did Keith.
In a close vote, the fans saved Rayvon for the third week in a row. Cook was sent home.
The theme of the show next week will be “Arena Anthems.”
American Idol airs next Wednesday on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
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