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The American Idol 2014 Top 13 took to the stage Wednesday night for the first legit competition show of the season. By legit, I mean that it’s all in America’s hands and will decide who goes home Thursday night.

Oh, and there’s a new theme to kick things off, too. It’s called “This is Me.” And the songs are supposed to represent who the contestants are as artists.

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

Dexter Roberts, “Aw Naw.” Well this couldn’t get any countrier. Yes, I just made up that word. But this is what Dexter needed to do. He needed to really introduce himself as a pure country singer. And he did it quite nicely. It was fun and energetic and felt a lot like it could be his song. Performance grade: B+

Malaya Watson, “Runaway Baby.” Ack. This was not the song for her. This was also not how she wanted to introduce herself to America. Sure she’s got a lot of energy, but this song wasn’t even close to what she should be singing. It was awful. And she’s been my favorite contestant so far. Not tonight. Performance Grade: F

Kristen O’Conner, “Beautiful Disaster.” Hi. My name is Kristen and I am a beautiful disaster. Is that what she’s saying or did she get confused by the assignment? Not only was the song choice weird to go with the theme “This Is Me,” the performance was not good. There were a few good moments, but it was mostly blah. Performance Grade: D+

Ben Briley, “Folsom Prison Blues.” I had originally suggested that Dexter take on Johnny Cash, so I almost got a song right for the week. I think Ben handled it better. And I liked what he did with it. It wasn’t just a Johnny Cash cover, it was actually Ben Briley singing a Johnny Cash song. The vocals were a little off, but I enjoyed it. Performance Grade: A-

C.J. Harris, “Radio.” What is wrong with most of these people tonight? C.J.’s performance was horrible until the chorus and even that was just kind of OK. I don’t understand what’s going on with this night. Two out of 5 performances were good. C.J. just wasn’t on pitch and was ahead of the band half the time. Not so good. Performance Grade: D+

MK Nobilette, “Satisfaction.” Wow. Another one. Where are the vocals tonight? I am so, so confused. This was a horrible song to do first of all, and then her vocals were just kind of there in the same place for most of the song. I feel like someone is pulling a joke on us to be honest. The performance finally picked up a bit at the end, but the first half was not good. Performance Grade: C-

Majesty Rose, “Tight Rope.” OK, another song choice that I found to be terrible. But her performance was pretty solid. There were a few times when she was singing so low it sounded like she forgot the lyrics. I know that was on purpose, but I thought it was a bad idea. Overall, however, it was a fun and energetic performance. Performance Grade: B

Jena Irene, “The Scientist.” Finally, someone who doesn’t sound awful. I’m again not really a fan of the song choice, but her vocals were pretty solid. I didn’t feel that she had much of a connection to the song, but it was all delivered pretty nicely. Performance Grade: B+

Alex Preston, “A Beautiful Mess.” First we had a beautiful disaster and now a beautiful mess. Do these people have self-esteem issues? Silly song choices aside, Alex at least pulled off one of the best performances of the night. It wasn’t exciting or anything, but the vocals were great and he really made the song believable. I really like his voice and this performance helped me decide that. Performance Grade: A

Jessica Meuse, “The Crow and the Butterfly.” I guess this was good? I was pretty bored, but that’s my norm with her. I’m waiting on her to grow on me since she’s going to be pimped all the way to end, but it’s not happening yet. She’s a perfectly great singer, but I’m just not a fan. Yet. I’m not ruling it out, though. Performance Grade: A

Emily Piriz, “Glitter in the Air.” That was sweet, soft, tender and way better than her “Paris Ooh La La’ song. Ha. A definite improvement. Not only were the vocals there, but she was connected to the song. There was emotion and poise. It was way better this time. Performance Grade: A

Sam Woolf, “Unwell.” Well I think the song choice was good for him but for some reason he didn’t’ really grab on to the song. It was just sort of there. He also didn’t seem very inviting. He was pretty emotionless during the performance, but I do like Sam and have a lot of hope for him. Performance Grade: B+

Caleb Johnson, “Pressure and Time.” I have no idea what this song is and I don’t know anyone who does, but it worked for him. This was exactly who he is. Finally, someone nailed the theme. The vocals were spot on. His tine is amazing. I would like him to pull back from the theatrics a bit, but whatever. That’s neither here nor there. That was some good stuff. Performance Grade: A+

What did you think of the American Idol 2014 Top 13 performances? Did you think they were as bad as I did?


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