American Idol 2014 Top 8 Performances Round 2 [VIDEOS]

In our American Idol 2014 recap tonight, the Top 8 take the stage again and this time they’ll be taking on songs from the 80’s. We’re dearly hoping for some of the best American Idol performances of the season this evening based on the song list leaked earlier today.

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We are especially looking forward to Caleb Johnson following the American Idol judges’ advice to show off his softer side this evening with “Faithfully” by Journey. Although, we are still hoping he’ll have the chance to pull out a Freddie Mercury/Queen or Meat Loaf song sometime soon. We wish we had the American Idol spoilers for the #idolrequest week songs if those have been decided yet, because that’s the week we might see Caleb finally do Meat Loaf!

Another one of the American Idol performances we think could be great tonight is Jena Irene Ascuitto with “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Jena originally said she was “going back to the piano” this week to do a “fan favorite” song… so we’re wondering what’s going on there. This song has never been done on American Idol before, maybe she means a fan favorite suggestion on Twitter? And it doesn’t really seem like a piano tune… Perhaps she changed her mind, it’s happened before. Or we’re about to see a very interesting version of this song.

All of the song choices tonight are interesting, and there are some other possibly great picks, like Dexter Roberts doing “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by Georgia Satellites and Jessica Meuse doing “Call Me” by Blondie — previously done by Haley Reinhart and Carmen Rasmusen on the show.

The ones that worry us are Malaya Watson taking on “Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan, because Siobhan Magnus already did it and killed it, and Sam Woolf doing “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. This song has already had three American Idol performances by Colton Dixon, Nadia Turner, and Brandon Rogers. It was actually one of Colton’s best songs on the show. We really don’t see Sam topping that version, and this song in particular just seems like it could go very monotone and flat for a singer like Sam.

And here we go… THIS is American Idol!

To kick off the show tonight, we have a brief recap of Sam Woolf getting saved at the end of the show last week. Then we get a video montage 80’s style of the celebration of Sam not going home, which really looked more like someone winning the show than barely avoiding elimination.

Who’s that? Why it’s former American Idol winner David Cook in a glimpse at the Top 8 preparing for this week. After more cheesy 80’s graphics, the Top 8 finalists enter from backstage with each one saying their name and “I’m the next American Idol.” Host Ryan Seacrest enters after them and says he can’t say he’s the next American Idol, but let’s get this show started!

Ryan introduces the Top 8 finalists and then, of course, the American Idol judges. Jennifer Lopez has son fluffy hair tonight in an 80’s poof and yet another super short skirt. Harry looks dashing as always and not at all 80’s… but Keith is looking a bit scruffy and has a fake mullet with clip on hair!

And now we get an awesome montage of former American Idol winner David Cook, one of our favorite finalists ever. The American Idol season 7 champ’s performances were some of the most iconic on the show ever, including “Hello” and “Billie Jean” — both songs from the 80’s. Wearing very ‘smart people’ looking glasses, David mentors the Top 8 on how to stand out for the right reasons in their performances.

American Idol 2014 Top 8 Performances (Redux):

Jena Irene Ascuitto: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock N’ Roll”

Judges:  Keith Urban says it was a great way to start the show. He loved the arrangement change up and kind of dug it. It was cool to start on the piano and how it kicked into gear. He loved the originality, although the key seemed a little low at the start. Jennifer Lopez thought it languished a little in the middle. But she liked it that Jena put her stamp on it and made it her own. Harry Connick Jr. didn’t love the arrangement, but he liked her continuing to push. He thinks it was a bit too stiff though and she needed to loosen up.

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Dexter Roberts: Georgia Satellites’ “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”

Judges: Jennifer Lopez says Dexter just always comes out and sings kind of perfect. She thinks he was really good today and had personality. Harry Connick Jr. says Dexter can almost do no wrong tonight because of his performance last week and this week was good too. Keith Urban thinks the first part was a little stiff but he loosened up. Keith wants him to just do something totally unexpected and let loose in the moment.

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 Alex Preston and Sam Woolf – “The Girl Is Mine” by Michael Jackson (Duet)

Malaya Watson: Chaka Khan’s “Through The Fire”

Judges: Harry Connick Jr. feels like she was staging the start of the song too much to prepare for the big notes in the end. Overall the American Idol judges don’t really seem blown away by the performance. We thought it was good, but not terribly exciting this evening. Malaya did seem a little more controlled this evening than usual, which was good for her vocal control but she lacked some of her contagious exuberance.

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We interrupt our recap for a brief moment of judge Harry Connick Jr. saying he “cant’ stand it” anymore and leaving the judges’ table to invade the screaming crowd in front of the stage. Yeah, he’s weird.

Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene Ascuitto – “It’s Only Love” by Tina Turner and Bryan Adams (Duet)

Jessica Meuse: Blondie’s “Call Me”

Judges: Harry Connick Jr. doesn’t seem to be in love with the performance. He thinks Jessica wasn’t feeling it enough and wasn’t really in the pocket. Keith Urban says it all still seems like Jess is “close to the door and ready to go into the party” but she’s not in there yet. J-Lo says Blondie was looseness and sexy cool, and it needs to be a sexy song and if you can’t let loose and tap into that, it’s not a great song choice for her.

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Sam Woolf: Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”

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Judges: Keith Urban says he loves that Sam did the song with an acoustic guitar. He teases that Harry didn’t get the same kind of looks from the girls when he went in the audience! J-Lo thinks Sam did a great job tonight and his simple version really showcased him. She thinks he did better with feeling the song. Harry thinks he is getting better every week, but once again he was looking into the camera the whole time and not at the audience and connecting. He tells Sam to look up young Ricky Nelson for inspiration and watch what he does.

 Malaya Watson and CJ Harris – “I Knew You Were Waiting” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael (Duet)

Alex Preston: The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”

Judges: Harry says Alex put his own spin on the song and that was great. However, he thinks there is a difference between a performer and an entertainer, and Alex is still too “coffeehouse” and needs to be more of an entertainer. Keith says when Alex starts singing, he always grabs his attention. He says it was bold undertaking rebuilding the song like he did, but he needs to push and pull the song a bit more to make it into even more. J-Lo disagrees with the guys and says that while she loves Alex’s song, she did not like how much the song was changed. She thinks he lost the soul of the song.

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Dexter Roberts and Jessica Meuse – “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers (Duet)

CJ Harris: Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’”

Judges: Jennifer says there has been a contestant she has rooted for note by note every single time. She thinks it started off shaky but by the end… he just has the ability to touch peoples’ hearts. Harry says CJ just has a connection every time he gets up there. He says CJ was in tune on the high notes, but pretty much implies the low parts weren’t so much on pitch. Keith says it was a great rendition of the song and CJ has a ‘survivor’ tone to his voice that he’s going to rise up and survive no matter what.

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Caleb Johnson: Journey’s “Faithfully”

Judges: The audience is very loud as the judges try to talk. Harry says it was exciting watching Caleb to walk out because everyone was expecting a strong vocal and to listen to him sing something more subtle. He says Caleb did and he is proud of him. Keith Urban says it was the perfect song choice for him and it was great. He weirdly compares it to a “fanny pack” – being all about function, not flash. J-Lo says she could tell Caleb was a little out of his comfort zone in the beginning. Harry challenges her on it and tries to speak but J-Lo ignores him. She thinks he couldn’t wait to get to the high notes and then blew it out.

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>> NEXT: Find out who went home in our full recap of the Top 7 results show here!




  1. I don’t really know who Siobhan Magnus is, but her performance of through the fire is really terrible! Her high notes were not so good, and I think she’s nervous the whole performance. So, I think it’s not good to say that she nailed that song because she definitely did not. Just my opinion :DD

    • There is no one by that name on American Idol. Are you posting about Malaya….. has a tendency to screech ?

      • There is actually…. Shoban Magnus was one of the contestant in Season 8? or was it 9?

    • I agree, I never watched the season with Siobhan, but I just watched a youtube video of Siobhan singing “Through the Fire” and i thought, how did she make it that far? I don’t think Malaya and Siobhan are in the same league. Malaya may not be super polished, ( she is only 16), but I don’t think it is fair to compare her to someone who sounds like a dying cat.
      I guess you are going to hate me since I am a Malaya fan. I don’t understand why people think she is going home since she has a lot of potential.

      Let’s just be honest with ourselves…the best singers are Caleb, Jena, Malaya and Sam. If all the contestants had to sing one ballad chosen by the judges, you would definitely hear the difference in talent amongst the singers.

  2. Where is Simon when you need him, these contestants are really bad. They cannot sing and the judges are compensating. Msaybe because they selected them in the first place. The ratings for this show has to be falling…Wow!

    • Thank you! Finally somebody who can hear properly, and has good taste in music. All of these contestants are just horrible, with the possible exception of Caleb – and he only sounded good because all the others are just beyond belief! Alex just destroyed one of my favorite songs. Jessica looks almost lifeless, with no stage persona at all. The rest are also just God awful. Talk about a show jumping the shark!

    • So glad that Simon is gone with his meanness and his errors in judgement. They all can sing, but the performances are inconsistent.

    • Actually, I think his comment about making “old ladies cry” was not his best moment as he is talking about women in their 40’s I think and the comment was just in poor taste. I realize he is only 22 and maybe a bit clueless. There is something about Caleb that just isn’t as genuine as most of the others and it has bothered me because I think he might be deserving of winning this thing, but the winners on Idol always are really likable and have a genuine quality in addition to their singing ability. Still, he brings it every week, so I voted for him despite the crappy comment.

    • Bottom 3 tonight – Malaya, CJ and Jessica.

      These are my reasonings:

      Malaya will be in the bottom three, because for some reason America refuses to recognize talent and tunes into “Imagination Station” .

      I actually believe Malaya should be one of the top 4, but usually on American Idol, there is always one contestant who doesn’t get judged fairly. People have their favourites, and she just doesn’t happen to be one of them. Ah well, at least Malaya can look forward to her Grammy Award one day.

      CJ – He is a good singer, but that is all…he is just a good singer and at this point in the competition he is just becoming a tad boring.

      Jessica is alright, but she lacks expression and to be an Idol you need that “IT” factor and she is missing it. I love the way she looks though – so cool.

      Why the following are safe?

      Alex – He has a pleasant voice and he never sounds like sharp fingernail scratching a blackboard. Unfortunately , though, his performances aren’t memorable. I agree with Harry’s coffee house comment. I have heard performances like his at Open Mic nights before. Maybe one day Alex will be the next Santana, but his vocals are pretty mediocre. And why is he safe? Because he plays it safe. He needs to take more risks.

      Sam – Well, he is young and has a lot of potential. I think everyone can see that he has so much more to offer.

      Dexter – I think there is just a bit of favourtism when it comes to Dexter.

      Caleb – He deserves to be safe – he is fantastic. In the beginning I thought he was annoying. Yelling does not equate to singing, but he proved me wrong with last night’s performance. I also enjoyed “Skyfall” a couple weeks ago.

      Jena – She is amazing. I predict that she WILL be the next American Idol. We must also remember that she is only 17 and she sings like has been doing this for decades. WOW

      • Yes. I agree that Jena is amazing! She’s my favorite and I’ve been supporting her from the very beginning! I hope she is safe!

        I think the bottom 3 will be some kind of combination of Malaya, CJ, Dexter, and Sam.

  3. Alex and rhythm, what would it be like? Maybe Baby, Baby, Where did our love go? a Diana Ross remake could show us what haven’t we heard from him.

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