With this week's theme being "Competitor's Pick," American Idol could have easily turned into a night of sabotage. But it didn't. The Top 7 played nice, and even provided a ton of fantastic song choices for everyone to choose from. (You can bet that if this were The X Factor, Simon and Co. would've encouraged them to sabotage each other.)
What resulted was a pretty enjoyable night of performances. Sure, not everyone was amazing and most weren't on the level of Jena Irene, but I found myself having fun watching the show.
But someone does have to go home, and there are still the obvious picks for who should be sent packing. So let's get right into it...
Regarding Alex's rendition of "Every Breath You Take" last week, I said that it was a middle-of-the-road performance
. But Alex got back on solid footing last night, and Dexter chose a great song that really fit Alex well -- that Ed Sheerdan style definitely works for him. The judges were on fire last night, really ripping apart almost everyone's performances, but this was one of the few that they actually liked.
Jena Irene: There's no question that Jena stole the show this week. Not only was the pimp spot well-deserved, but it's becoming more clear that she is one to watch in this competition and her path to the finale is getting easier. When she took on the likes of Paramore and Evanescence a few weeks ago, she found her element -- that's the style she needs to be in. And Radiohead's "Creep" was the perfect song to continue down that road.
IN THE MIDDLE
Caleb Johnson: If only Caleb had performed in the latter half of the show, then I would have put him in the Definitely Safe category. But as he's proven before, going first is a lot better than going second or third. I wasn't familiar with "Family Tree," but I loved his take on it nonetheless. (And did anyone else get a kick out of seeing how much fun Rickey Minor was having on stage?)
Sam Woolf: Sam was in the Bottom 3 for two weeks in a row. Then last week, American Idol all of a sudden had only a Bottom 2, which seemed kind of early for them to start that. Some wondered if the producers did that on purpose to show that Sam wasn't in danger after being saved by the judges. If that was the case, then he's obviously not completely safe. But is he in danger again? Considering he performed in the final half-hour of the show, I don't see him going home. He did make some improvements, which is good to see. His voice sounded quite good, actually, and that should be enough to save him.
Jessica Meuse: I think the biggest travesty of the night was how much the judges threw Jessica under the bus. I mean, they piled on big time. She wasn't as bad as the judges made her out to be. And to be honest, she made improvements over last week when her stage presence went out the window. Because of their negative comments, this is the most I've worried about her chances of staying or going. I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up in the Bottom 2. But I just hope she's not eliminated; if that happens, there will be a big reason to call out the judges for saving Sam two weeks ago.
BOTTOM 2 PREDICTIONS
C.J. Harris: The only singer who's guaranteed to be in the Bottom 2 is C.J. He wasn't bad or anything, and I found myself enjoying his performance. But he didn't stand out enough to make that big of an impression by the end of the night. And something else that's hurting him? Performing in third. If you look at the past two weeks, the contestant with the least number of votes had the third spot of the night (not counting duets).
Dexter Roberts: I've wondered if we'll ever see both country guys in the Bottom 2/3. If C.J. goes home, this is the final week something like that could happen. I didn't really have any problems with Dexter's performance, but the judges were really critical and he might have the same issue as C.J. with being forgotten by the end of the night.
Since Idol did a Bottom 2 last week, I assume that will continue tonight as well. If for some odd reason they go back to a Bottom 3, I'll add Jessica into the mix. But to me, there are only two options for the Bottom 2: either C.J. and Dexter or C.J. and Jessica.
C.J. Harris: And looking at those options, the contestants I see as most in danger are C.J. and Jessica. Out of these two, C.J. most definitely deserves to head home, especially over Jessica. Like I said, after the judges completely trashed her performance, it wouldn't surprise me to see her be a shocking elimination, but she's never been in the Bottom 2/3 before, so her fan base could very well continue that positive trend. That, combined with the fact that Dexter likely has a bigger fan base among country fans (and Southern voters), means it's the end of the road for C.J.
Who do you think is going home? Will we finally have a guy get the boot? Or will it be yet another girl? And because Jessica was thrown under the bus by the judges, do you think we'll get a shocker elimination with Jess? Take the poll below and let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments section.
American Idol airs Wednesdays at 8pm and Thursdays at 9pm on FOX.