American Idol 2014 Top 3 Performance Show Recap: Alex, Jena And Caleb Battle It Out

American Idol 2014 Top 3 performances 8

The American Idol 2014 Top 3 took to the stage to fight for a spot in next week’s finale. And I have to say, it wasn’t a front-runner who shined this week.

Alex Preston stood out more than Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene, who have both emerged as front-runners in the past few weeks. Does that mean Alex has secured his spot in the finale? I think it’s possible. He had smarter song choices and his vocals were not flawed in any way.

That being said, I didn’t really like many of the song choices. Some were smarter than others because they were young and “hip,” so that might help pull in some votes. But overall, I was very disappointed and bored with song choices.

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

Randy’s picks

Caleb Johnson, “Never Tear us Apart.” The best song choice of the night, I’m awarding this one. When I say best, it’s not the same as when I say smart. So keep that in mind throughout this recap. Caleb has a blown vocal cord, so I’ll go easy on his vocals. I could tell in a few spots that he was having problems, but overall, he handled the song well. Performance Grade: A-

Alex Preston, “Pompeii.” Smart song choice. See what I did there? It’s fresh and young and may bring in some voters, but it’s not my favorite song. The performance was quite solid though. Alex really made it his own and he really had a fight in him. He wants in that finale and it shows. Performance Grade: A

Jena Irene, “Titanium.” Smart song choice? I don’t know. I think the song is very overdone already, so I’m going to say know. It just wasn’t my favorite performance of hers. She handled the high notes fine, but only after a shaky start. I think she definitely loses round one. Performance Grade: B

Judges’ Picks

Caleb Johnson, “Demons.” First we had a good song choice for Caleb, now we have a smart one. Imagine Dragons are still pretty hot right now, so this song choice can only do him favors. His voice is still a little shaky, but he’s holding his own. He’s a natural. Performance Grade: A-

Alex Preston, “Stay.” Interesting song choice, I’ll say. I never would have picked it for him, but for some reason it actually worked. So far, Alex is owning the night. Will voters see it? I’m not sure. It’s pretty clear based on this performance. Very nicely done. Performance Grade: A+

Jena Irene, “Heart Attack.” Sure it’s a young song choice, but it’s not a singer’s song. It’s a studio performer’s song, just like Demi Lovato. I’m just not happy with her first two song choices. But she did sing it better than Demi ever could, so there’s that. Performance Grade: B+

Hometown picks

Caleb Johnson, “Dazed and Confused.” Another good song choice for Caleb. It wasn’t as good as the first two, but I’m also seven performances in and I’m ready to get this over with. OK, I’m only sort of serious. Caleb I think will make it into the finale for sure. It’s going to be a fight between the other two, I think. Performance Grade: A

Alex Preston, “Story of My Life.” Alex officially had the smartest song choices of the night. It almost seems like producers were trying to boost him with these songs. You can’t go wrong with One Direction when it comes to young voters. And Alex again sang it beautifully. It was much better than One Direction. Performance Grade: A

Jena Irene, “Creep.” Finally, a good song choice for Jena. I was very happy to hear her sing this again. It was probably my favorite song of hers from the season. And while it was better the first time, it was still emotional and strong. I really liked it. She needed this after those first two songs. Performance Grade: A

What did you think of the American Idol 2014 Top 3 performances?





  1. FINALLY! I was hoping someone on this page would appreciate Alex over the Caleb/Jena bandwagon. GO ALEX!!!!!

    • I have been on the Alex bandwagon from the beginning. I have also NOT been on the Caleb/Jena bandwagon at any point. I don’t get their appeal, especially Caleb. He acts cocky, his whole schtick has been done before (and by better), and I don’t think he brings an ounce of originality to his performances. Jena, the sound of her voice; I don’t know what it is but it’s awful to me. She’s never quite in tune when her performance starts, she seems to flub words more often, and generally has no stage presence.

      So, yeah, GO ALEX!!!

      • i also liked alex from the beginning..true talent and creates his own songs and always excited to hear what he is singing next. humble, nice guy….not cocky like caleb…alex has a promising future of fresh new songs not remakes of old rock songs….alex is original and so marketable!!

  2. Caleb has been the most consistent performer, week after week after week, healthy, sick, blown vocal chord, whatever. From the start he’s been the best contender. And for those who say he’s only retro, not true – he writes his own music that has a great bluesy-rock sound – similar to great 80s stuff like Zep and Whitesnake, but current. Caleb should win American Idol. He probably will not. But I’m voting for him – he’s the only one I’d pay to see in concert. All the best to Jena, Alex and the rest of the 2014 Idol gang, as well – long may you sing!

    • this week last week and the week before he has actually had many issues and off performances so he is not exactly the most constant to be fair …id say alex is although i don’t like him he’s constantly boring for me but good for ppl who like him ..i prefer jena she’s more dynamic yes she has bad but when its good its out of this world

  3. I voted for Jena and Caleb.
    Alex, no.. I just don’t like him for some reason? The kid has a nice voice, but it bores me.

    • Wow! He plays a gazillion instruments and is the entire package of a true musician/singer! Caleb is amazing. Jena did not do well tonight in my opinion, but I have been a big fan of hers all season. With all that said, Alex is the true talent! And the underdog, unfortunately. He was the best tonight!

      • Wow! Really?

        Angie…we all get it how wonderful of a musician that Alex is, or that you believe he is. But…that does NOT mean, to some, that he is entertaining. He bores me to no end. He doesn’t bore you. Some people like cotton candy, some don’t. Same diff.Just because he’s YOUR entire package doesn’t mean he is for everyone. Is there anything inherently wrong with people having different opinions? What is so shocking to you about that, that would cause you to say “Wow!”?
        Wake me up when Alex’s set is done; which will most likely be tonight. Adios, Alex.

    • Senpai-sama? Hope you’re not referring to yourself using the honorific “sama.” アレックスの歌は退屈です。

      • He wrote ‘taikutsu’ – (pronounced “TIE-Koo-Tsoo”).

        >> “Alex’s song(s) is(are) boring.”

        And, he is correct, ‘sama’ is equivalent to introducing oneself as ‘The Honorable ____ ‘.

  4. I voted for Alex, but just online. Jenugh was just so overpimped. I was shocked they didn’t have her going through the audience in an apron passing out cupcakes. *lol*

  5. Alex really stood out tonight. I was hoping he would bring it and he definitely did. Would love to see him make the finale and hopefully get to perform “The Light Was Already Here.”

    On Caleb’s Led Zeppelin, it zoomed in on her FIFTEEN TIMES. That is TOO MUCH!
    Jeesus christ.

    • I totally agree!!! I don’t tune it to watch JLo sing, dance or cry fake tears for the camera. Also, it’s not fair that she pumps the crowd for applause after Caleb sings…he’s good, but that’s not really fair to the other two.

      • Life isn’t fair. Nothing is fair. Take what is dealt to us and overcome. Was it fair when j-Lo went on stage and did the smoochie-smoochie with Jena? As for pumping up the crowd…I think the crowd was quite in a frenzy all by itself, courtesy of one BA performer…Caleb Johnson.

      • what makes you think it’s not “rigged” anyway…. you would prefer that it’s not so you avoid the obvious
        Harry was sarcastically saying “the Whole Thing is rigged anyway, so…”

        or was he?…..

      • Caleb has, what Alex lacks.

        Alex is Great, but he doesn’t have Calebs’ “Electricity”

        and “Either” sell as much as EDM artists do

        my vote to win (because they are ALL “great” at what they do)


        the EDM Diva…

        Little Jena will be the Next American Idol!!!!

      • It’s nothing “Personal”

        it’s just “Business”…. (what’s left of the Recording Industry anymore)

        They would ALL be “Smart” to loose anyway…

        Anyone hear what they did to Candice Glovers Record?

  7. Branden – “smarter song choices” … did you not understand all the songs were chosen for the contestants tonight?

    • Obviously he did and obviously someone had to choose them. So Branden is saying “smart choice” to whoever picked the song of that round. What’s the confusion here?

      • The line by Branden: [Alex] had smarter song choices conveys that it was Alex’s decision to sing the songs he sang. Which is incorrect. Alex had nothing to do with his song choice—neither did Jena, nor Caleb.

        Branden’s diction should be re-written as: the songs chosen for Alex were better suited (for Alex). ‘Smarter’ has nothing to do with it. Who’s intelligence is being judged here?

      • No one’s intelligence is being judged. The intent of judgement is for the singers singing, not the writers writing.

      • Branden’s choice of diction is sub-optimal. He could have worded it much better; as is, it appears as though Alex, et. al., had the ability to make smart judgements regarding song choice.

  8. I would like to see Caleb win it all. Alex is my second pick. Jena is just so overly pimped. And I agree with another commenter who noted the constant camera shots of Jennifer Lopez singing, dancing, talking-whatever. It is just nauseating. Caleb was bringing the house down and we saw Lopez more than his performance. She makes me sick.

  9. I don’t AGREE today with your GRADE
    why Jena’s CREEP only get A? CXome on this must be very AMAZING and only A??? If me, I would like give her A+++ for her CREEP! and for her Titanium I gave her A- and her Hear Attack I gave her A only. Come on, She ROCKS it TODAY! She must win!!

    • I did not think Jena was as good last night as she normally is. I’ve been a fan of hers all season, but I think last night proved that she doesn’t have what it takes to win. Angie Miller sang Titanium so much better than Jena did and Angie didn’t even make it to the final 2. I think Alex and Caleb should make it to the final 2. I would live to see Alex win it all!

    • For the first time I do not agree with Brandon’s grade on anyone this week. I think all were given higher scores then they deserved. Last week great performances by everyone. This week, not even close.

  10. I’m predicting Caleb gets eliminated tomorrow. I’ve wanted Alex to go home for a while now but he’s the wgwg so he’s obviously gonna win.

    • Playing an instrument is actually a talent you know. So, I don’t get the insult.

      • Winning A.I. and then disappearing off the face of the planet… how many times has it happened?

      • Let’s see, there’s Phil Phillips, David Cook, Daughtry-all making good money. Check out Forbes.

      • Daughtry was not ‘WGWG’.

        Cook is questionable – but Cook definitely looked ‘tired’ last night.

        Lee Dywise – DeMise. ZZzzz…
        Kris Allen – All-out. ZZzzz…
        Phil Philips – Aside from ‘Home’, I’ve hardly heard a peep from him.

        C. Underwood, K. Clarkson, we’ve heard oodles and gobs more from those two.

  11. Jena has been my favorite from the very beginning, before mostly everyone’s favorite was Sam, Jessica, Caleb, Malaya, Dexter. The obvious ones. I was pissed that they didn’t chose her in the Top 10, and damn she freaking deserved it. Half of the top ten were terrible and did not deserve to be there. (Nor lasted long either) Then wildcards came, and I knew they had to choose Jena, she was the only one deserving of the spot than those other 5. CJ i suppose would be a close second. I was so happy she made the Top 13, and damn she just got better and better. Has been my vote everytime. Including tonight, Jena’s one of the best singers in the competition, personally. To me, she’s pretty tied up with Caleb. But Alex did great, and Caleb just lost his voice tonight It sucks, but it must of been his time. Alex and Jena finale, the two artists of the show.

    • I’m very AGREE with you
      I also love JENA from the begining
      she was the best by this FAR

  12. While Jena and Caleb battled it out, Alex won the show, that’s if you were there to vote for the best of the night!!!

    • Longest applause and ovation = win = Caleb.
      Alex at least got out from behind the microphone stand, for once.

      • Alex, can you even imagine going to a Alex concert? Where you would have to watch the “excitement” of 14 songs sung in row by Alex?

      • I read your question and then slipped into a coma as I imagined it.

        Darn you Foxstar!!

        I’m not sure Alex and concert go together well in a phrase. An Alex performance is more like syncopated poetry reading accompanied by ukulele or guitar.

      • I would go, I read he can play twelve instrumentsas well as sing. I wish he’d play the harmonica in one of his songs.

      • I can speak / read / write five languages, most of them asian. That doesn’t mean I do ANY one of those particularly well. Further, that doesn’t necessarily mean someone ought to pay to see me orate in Mandarin or Thai.

        Thousands of band members in high schools across the country that can play multiple instruments. Tens of thousands of choir members that can sing and be “artistic” in lyrics.

        Can he sell to an audience of more than 9 or 10 people not from his home town?

      • I think he can, I for one do not live near his home state and I know many people who are voting for him. We love his voice.

      • That is a very common theme amongst Alex fans—either you love his voice or his artistry, or both.

        I rarely hear Alex fans chime in to say how much they love his stage presence, or his performances (regarding how he engages the audience and moves around on stage). Because, he doesn’t. Alex is not a stage performer. He may have a gift for song and writing it, but seeing it live, .. its not necessary to SEE Alex on American Idol t.v.

        In fact, as others have posed, I think it’d be best for Alex to cut loose tonight and start his singer-song-writer career at this juncture.

      • “Alex is great on stage”…?!?!?


        And, I bet Kim Jung Il has a great hair stylist.

      • Actually, Alex is awesome in concert. He’s holding back on the Idol stage and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s what’s allowed or it’s what the time allows. He mixed it up in his concert at UNH during the home visit. One thing, however, if you’re a fan of a particular artist, you are not looking for significant variation. You just want to hear that artist do what he does. Bob Marley doesn’t really mix it up. He, like so many other artists was successful just being him. Alex will meet the same type of success. And I’m not *exaggerating*.

  13. Doesn’t matter who wins at this point. Alex is the only person who we will hear from if at all from this season. As fun as it was watching the judges, none of the singers really showed any promise for marketability and creativity. A few had said they performed on stage for a while and that did not show for any of them. Bad song choices, horrible musical collaborations; this season talent wise was a wash. I will say Alex has potential but no bigger than a niche market and limited radio play outside of colleges.

  14. i think its atrocious u ranked calebs first two songs that score! it was just vile and im a caleb fan! but i can admit when he was bad!!

    • I am a Caleb fan … And I agree with you 100%. But, given the circumstances, I give the guy props for doing as well as he did.

  15. Home towns of Alex and Jena picked songs they have already done …I believe Caleb’s was a new one …not really fair ..but he crushed it and did the BEST in my opinion anyway …his home town knew he could handle a hard song like that and he delivered !!

  16. For the first time, I very much disagree with both Brandon and the American Idol judges. Here is my personal review on all 3 performers this week.

    Alex- Considering all the rave reviews I read here for his version of “Stay”, I have to say that I was EXTREAMLY under whelmed. The judges gave it two standing ovations. Really? I found myself trying to wake up from the severe coma it put me in. The past two weeks Alex had two great performances … None tonight.

    Caleb- First, I have to give the guy props, as he was performing while having bronchitis (I think). I have had bronchitis and could barely whisper. Trying to sing high velocity, rock and roll music while having bronchitis is comparable to running a marathon, after having your leg amputated. My problem now is do I vote based on how well the performance of Caleb was tonight (sub par if I am being honest). Or how well I KNOW he would have performed those songs if he was bronchitis – free.

    Jena- I gave the win for the night. But, it was based mostly on a song (Creep) that she performed just a few short weeks ago. So, it did not have nearly the wow factor it did the first time. But, she also had the second best performance of the night, with her “Titanium” song. But, I keep asking myself if she would have come close to winning if Caleb was not hampered with bronchitis? I am thinking … Not even close.

  17. All 3 have amazing singing ability and quality. However, I believe Alex if his stage personna and shows are songs follow exactly as his AI performance have, I fear patron boredom. I could see my own self as well as my 2 teenaged daughters getting up and leaving out of shear boredom. He is good, but I just don’t see AI material. But hey..could be wrong!

  18. Are you kidding! Alex is obviously very good or he wouldn’t have made it this far. BUT his performances are not even close to the others. Jena was

    great as usual, but Caleb stole the show.
    If either Caleb or Jena are eliminated, it is a travesty.

    But remember a few years ago when James Durbin was eliminated, that was the biggest travesty in Idol history.

    P.S. Jennifer was gorgeous, as usual.

    • I don’t think James attracted the viewing audience as well as Caleb is this year. James had soul, but for some reason, I think viewers couldn’t quite get him.

  19. I am an Alex fan all the way! I hope he makes it to the finale. I lost respect for Caleb when he called his fans retards.

  20. Alex is the true musician. Caleb can sing and could front any rock band, but Alex is unique and would stand out on the radio today. Jena can’t sing for crap, and over sings everything. She never should have been in the top 20, but another Jlo favorite.

    • There is nothing unique about Alex except that his name is Alex. Stand out on the radio? Come on. He plays the same PC, marshmallow, EMO stuff that every other person like him plays.

  21. So…
    A “Rave” Diva
    A “Classic Rock Singing FrontMan”
    and a “CoffeeHouse Singer”

    I pick the EDM girl

    • I’m looking forward to what could be one of the best Idol finals in years. Here’s hoping Per Blankens and Louis Horvitz re-focus on the IDOLs, not the judges, not the Girlz Gawn Giddy, .. the IDOLs.

      And, do a frikk’n Sound Check!!

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