American Idol 2014 Top 12 Performance Show Recap: ‘Home’ Turns Out To Be A Lackluster Theme

The American Idol 2014 Top 12 took on songs that remind them of “home” on Wednesday night and the outcome was a bit of a snooze-fest.


There’s just something off about the song choices this season and it’s starting to show.

New this week to the show was Ryan Seacrest revealing to us the online super vote results at the half mark and at the end. Of course that’s just one method of voting and early in the voting process, but it was still cool to see. Let’s get to the recap.

As always, I’ll be reviewing each performance and assigning the letter grade I think each performance deserves.

American Idol 2014 Top 12 Performances

Jena Irene, “Suddenly I See.” I thought this was a silly song choice at first because it’s not new but it’s also not old. Just a weird choice. But her vocals were pretty solid. I’d never call this my favorite performance, but I enjoyed it. She had a lot of fun with it and was really connected with the audience. Performance Grade: B+

Alex Preston, “I Don’t Wanna Be.” This was a great song choice for him. I hated how he started the performance, however. It was weird and choppy and then the chorus was at some weird tempo. But luckily, his voice is very solid and you can tell he’s an artist who knows his craft. Of course part of that is catering to an audience, and he’s not so good at that. He still comes off kind of awkward. Performance Grade: B-

Jessica Meuse, “White Flag.” I liked the arrangement of this song, but her vocals were a bit nasally or she was off key. I’m not sure what it was but it just sounded differently than she has sounded in the past. I’m not sure what to make of it. I’ll just say it wasn’t terrible, but it was no where close to her best effort. Performance Grade: C+

Dexter Roberts, “Lucky Man.” This was a very smart choice for Dexter. It was a very good idea to strip down this performance and just showcase his vocals. And they were solid. He doesn’t exactly sing his words very clearly, but that’s OK. It was mellow and tight and I think he’ll be good to go this week. Performance Grade: A-

Emily Piriz, “Let’s Get Loud.” This has to be a first. A Jennifer Lopez song on American Idol. Not exactly the best song choice, but at least it was fun and upbeat. It’s not much of a vocalist song, so there isn’t much I can say about the vocals. I’ll just say it was fun. Performance Grade: B

Caleb Johnson, “Working Man.” I really want him to pull back eventually. I think he’s really coming off as a one-trick pony. But had this been the first time I’ve seen him perform, I’d say it was great. And it was good, I just want to see what else he has. His vocals were solid and he’s believable. This is who he is and he’s true to himself. So I can’t criticize him too much. I just hope he does something different soon. Performance Grade: A-

Online Super vote results at the halfway point: Dexter, Jessica, Caleb, Jena, Alex and Emily.

MK Nobilette, “Drops of Jupiter.” That was not what MK needed after being in the bottom last week. it was not a great song choice, it was boring and she seemed really distant. I like her, though. She’s got a great voice and she’s so soft and tender. But I think this could be a bad week for her. Performance Grade: C+

C.J. Harris, “Waiting On The World To Change.” Now he’s doing John Mayer. He continues to confuse me with what kind of artist he is. It’s actually getting pretty annoying to me. And this is such a boring song. But C.J. is a great, great singer. I love his tone and his discipline. But he’s got to figure out what kind of artist he is. Is he country or is this him? I don’t get it. Performance Grade: B-

Sam Woolf, “Just One.” OK, what is this song? And why did he sing it? I don’t understand the song choices this season. The good thing is that Sam handled this song beautifully. And the staging was great. I think he really looked and sounded like a star, but I’m not OK with the song choice. Performance Grade: A-

Malaya Watson, “Take Me To The King.” She made the exact move she needed to make. She was 100 times better than last week. She picked the right song, she was clam, he vocals were on. Like Keith, I don’t know the song, but when it’s performed like that, that’s OK. Much, much better. Performance Grade: A

Ben Briley, “Turning Home.” Well at least one of the songs tonight had home in the title. Ha. I know the theme was specific, but I just had to say that. As for the performance, it was pretty sweet. It was a bit rocky at first, but then he brought it. It was a very solid performance, but I still think Malaya was better. Performance Grade: A-

Majesty Rose, “Fix You.” Why was this the last performance of the night? It was boring. I liked that she changed up the song and I was about to give her the benefit of the doubt, but that “high” note was super flat. It was painfully flat. Ack. Performance Grade: C-

Super vote results at the end: C.J., Sam, Ben, M.K., Malaya, Majesty. Of course this means nothing and things are sure to change.

What did you think of the performances from the American Idol 2014 Top 12.






  1. Branden, I mostly agree with your grades except for Malaya, who I thought did a good bit of “screaming” and at times sung off key. I loved the song choice and the feeling she put into it, but she was way off in my opinion.

    • rewatch it and you’ll find yourself at the king’s palace! it ‘s like you are travelling from down below to the heavens…

  2. I love Caleb!!! I think he’s amazing – but I see what you mean, I’d love to hear him sing something soft and tender.

    I worry about MK, she just can’t seem to get comfortable. I think being in the bottom last week affected her.

    Dexter was awesome tonight!!!

    && I’m totally a member of the Woofle Pack! I love Sam, I think he’s just going to get better and better!!!

    Harry can be a bit annoying sometimes. Always negative. He also says ‘pitch’ way too often. Every one is off pitch and sharp…. blah blah blah.

    • Harry is totally annoying. Hardly anything positive. He is a Simon wannabe. I know these guys don’t compare to the ones on the Voice…really. And I hardly watch that. But Harry is terrible

      • Harry is way better than Simon ever was and comes from a kinder place. He is the best judge they have had although I like Keith a lot.

  3. You get it so wrong, Branden!
    by far, your wost recap. Malaya A?!!! It was C at best!!!
    and Jessica C+? I think it was a A- at worst.
    Bottom Three: MK, CJ, Malaya.

  4. Harry’s feedback is spot onas uncomfortable as it makes us feel. He deserves praise, not criticism. These contestants are not performing well with the exception of Caleb who is always great with both his vocals and stage presence. The only thing is that rock is not as popular as it once was, sadly. I still like Alex for his musicality, CJ for his voice and likeabilty, Majesty for her sweetness and essence, Jessica for her voice and uniqueness and Sam for his beautiful tone. The winning spot could be Sam’s if he just learns to perform with that wonderful voice and his charisma if he lets it out.

  5. How do you like it when a judge says all these bad things about a contestant, but ends the critique by saying, “But – you won’t be going home.”

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