American Idol 2014 Top 4 Performances Recap: All For Love

American Idol 2014 Top 4 contestants

The American Idol 2014 Top 4 took on songs all about love Wednesday night and a lot of love is what they got in return. The judges loved most of the performances and most of my grades below would suggest I loved it as well. I won’t go that far, but it was a pretty solid night.

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

Caleb Johnson, “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Finally he sings a Bon Jovi song. It wasn’t one I had suggested for him ever and I don’t know why because it was a great choice. His vocals were on and his stage presence was great also. He now needs to work on his likability, though, because a lot of people are upset with things he said outside the show. Performance Grade: A

Jessica Meuse, “Since You Been Gone.” Good song choice. The start of the performance was super rocky though. She could get in tune and it sounded terrible. She finally got the right note but not until I was already cringing. Not her best performance, I must say. Performance Grade: B-

Alex Preston, “Too Close.” Great song choice. And a great performance. This was a perfect song for him. I want to hear him sing more songs like this. It was very believable and effortless. It was probably one of the times I wasn’t bored by him. So I’d call it my favorite Alex performance ever. Performance Grade: A+

Jena Irene, “Heartbreaker.” FINALLY, she’s singer Pat Benatar! Great song choice. And an even better performance. I loved the energy and the subtle changes to the arrangement of the song. It was my favorite performance of the first four. Performance Grade: A+

Caleb Johnson, “Travelin Band.” What part of the theme is this song? I don’t understand. Anyway, I like the song choice. CCR is a good band. And Caleb delivered the same amount of energy and his vocals were as good as always. There was something sort of boring and one-note about it, though. Performance Grade: B+

Jessica Meuse, “So What.” Another good song choice for Jessica but the performance was nothing special. There was nothing existing or spectacular about it. It’s almost like she’s giving us fourth place performances because she knows this is the end for her. Performance Grade: B

Jena Irene, “Bad Romance.” Eh. There was something not right about this performance. The chorus was super fast and the rest of the song was completely unrecognizable. This definitely was not my favorite performance of hers. Performance Grade: B-

Alex Preston, “I’m Yours.” Zzzzzzzzz. I want to be nice, but I hate this song. And the only thing worse than Jason Mraz singing it is a singing show contestant covering it. I mean it was fine and the vocals were great and Alex is a musical genius, but I’d rather hear him sing something else. Performance Grade: B

Caleb Johnson, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” It was nice for him to slow down (a little) one of his songs from the night. And this was another good song choice. I think I got pretty bored by the third song (that’s too much, Idol), but yeah. Another good one from Caleb. Performance Grade: A

Jessica Meuse, “You And I.” Two Lady Gaga songs in one night. OK. Of course Jessica’s effort was better than Jena’s. And this effort by Jessica was better than her first two. Her vocals were right and her connection to the audience was where it needed it to be. I liked it. Performance Grade: A

Jena Irene, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” Elvis? Seriously? OK. I hope Jena knows what she’s doing because this was not the night to make some of the choices she did. That being said, it doesn’t matter what I think (not that it ever does), but people loved it and I still have to think about how I felt. I think I liked it, but I might be under the influence of the judges. I do greatly appreciate how she made it her own. Performance Grade: A

Alex Preston, “Yellow.” Hmm. I think I liked this. I would have preferred a song that I actually knew was a love song. But I think the vocals were great and his connection to the audience has finally improved. I think Alex had a pretty solid night. Performance Grade: A




  1. My goodness, but methinks tonight AI has officially become The JLo Show. Enough already with the theatrics. I almost thought she was going to throw sparkles on her like Mariah did last season. Even Harry put his hand on her shoulder to try and calm her down enough to give his critique. And what’s with the f-bombs? She’s fluent in at least two languages, that I know of, couldn’t she find a better word to use as an exclamation?

    • Sorry for the rant…I thought most of the performances were great.
      Caleb: Song choice and performance – All three got an A++ with goosies on the third song.
      Jess: Song choices: 1st – C, 2nd – B, 3rd – A
      Performances: 1st – C, 2nd – A, 3rd – A. I thought she nailed So What, but the song choice didn’t show how great her voice could be.
      Alex: All three song choices and performances were the same. Alex needs to get new cookie cutters to keep me interested. Yellow was my favorite song and performance.
      Jena: Song choices and performances:
      1st – A++, 2nd – B, 3rd – A++ with goosies again on the third.
      She is beginning to interest me. She’s growing and making consistently good song choices and changing them to suit her. I think there is a really great voice under all the affectation she does to make her voice unique. I wish she would let it out more. I’m starting to believe the final two will be Caleb and Jena.

      • Jessica killed it again… very nice.
        My prediction of them starting the standing ovation for Jena during the intro video was close. JLo has clearly declared JENA her favorite, and maybe she has it in her contract to pick the winner… she acts like it.

      • ‘So What’ was ‘so off key’ and off beat, I could not wait for it to be over. She killed the song, alright, but not in a good way.

      • I think you are one of the few that still recall Caleb got tossed in Season 10, where James Durbin went on to the final 4 that season. I do think Caleb has more talent than James D., however.
        Having tried out twice before (season 10 and season 11) he was so good why have go back 3 times ?

    • You didn’t hear that guy on the mike talking during Jena’s song? We heard it in my house.

  2. I thought it was a fine episode, but they seemed to go super nice on Jena – not only JLo walking up to her, but also them not bashing her “Bad Romance” one, which I thought was awful. They sure seem to favor her!

    • The lasers were annoying as heck and did not fit well with Jena’s performance. And, the sound was way out-of-line; the band should not have been so over-powering.

      I would not have been as nice to her as the judges were, however, I still think Jena’s 2nd song was better than Jessica’s and Alex’s 2nd tries.

  3. Wish Alex had not used the uke. Ever since that guy named Tiny Tim used a uke, it reminds me of him when someone else uses it. Who’s Tiny Tim? Not the one in the Christmas Carol. I saw him on YouTube. When Alex marches in place while he plays, it reminds me of what Sam said, “You look like you need to go to the bathroom!” I like his arrangements of songs, and his voice is good on slow songs, but I don’t like to watch him perform. Between Alex and Jess, I like Jess better.

  4. According to the results above, Alex was the winner tonight. He had the best overall scores (1st, 2nd, 1st) over Caleb (3rd, 1st, 1st), Jena (1st, 4th, 1st) and Jessica (4th, 2nd, 1st).

    Alex should be safe. I really hope he wins.
    Jessica is most likely to leave, but I actually want to see Caleb go home.

    Oh, and forget JLo. #Overrated

    • Jessica is so talented but I don’t think AI has been the best vehicle for her to show her artistry. If you’ve seen her on YT then you know what an amazing writer she is; she really wowed me with not only “Blue Eyed Lie” but with the fabulous song, “Done!” If you haven’t seen her, you should look her up and listen. I think you’ll be impressed.

  5. Caleb and Alex bore me now. I thought Jena’s I Can’t Help Falling…” was amazing. It isn’t that she hit every note as much as her entire performance. She is frickin 17 and she brings a passion and emotion way beyond.

    • For the first time, I could clearly hear every word Jena sang tonight… she didn’t mumble.

      That said, the acoustics were gawd awful tonight. I really want the Sound Engineer to be fired. This whole season, the sound of the band has just not been in proper context—often over-powering the singer or just off beat. And, I blame the Sound Engineer; someone has not done a thorough job of testing the sound equipment … as it is seen on t.v., a majority of the viewing audience.

      When Jena’s at the piano, e.g., or when Alex is practically a capella with his guitar, the sound is fine. But, unless you have a guy like Caleb who can keep up with the band volume, Jessica, Jena, et. al. often get lost in the mix. I’m betting the on stage / live performance is different than what we hear / see on t.v.

      • people are just going to hate her just because. She of them all has had three show stopping, first rate performances starting with decode, then with creep, and now with Cant help falling in love. Grand slams each and every one

      • I don’t hate Jena “just because.” I don’t enjoy her performances, not her vocal quality or the way that she performs. What she did to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” was completely embarrassing, and if Alex is chastised for fiddling with the melodies, Jena pretty much mangled the melody of this song. I did not like anything about how she performed. I find her rocker efforts to be minimal at best. She also just annoys me no end with her personality and the way she speaks, but it is her weird pronounciation and lack of enunciation that is the third worst thing about her – first bad thing is the lack of quality in her singing, second is the ridiculous overplay of the staging and overt singing that borders on shouting, and third is the garbled delivery. Those things keep me from voting for her, throughout the season. I just don’t think she’s good, would never buy her music.

  6. So it looks like Jena sang the song that derailed Colton Dixon two years ago. That could be a problem for her, but she definitely doesn’t deserve to go home this week. Caleb was as great as ever and he sang that song that his Season 10 counterpart James Durbin had his best performance ever with. However, we are at the top 4 week. Shocking eliminations tend to happen on this week and his comments towards his fans and use of the “r-word” might have lost him a lot of support. Jessica was the first contestant so far this season to make the judges show their favoritism. They bussed her after all 3 performances and clearly want her out. This might have a Hollie Cavanagh effect and cause her to not go home this week, but she won’t make the finale. Then there’s Alex. I have wanted him gone for weeks, but he hasn’t even been in the bottom three yet so by now I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that he’s gonna win.

    • I think you are one of the few that still recall Caleb got tossed in Season 10, where James Durbin went on to the final 4 that season. I do think Caleb has more talent than James D., however.

      Nit-picking your fans is NOT an advisable method to engender votes.

      • caleb was so good then why don,t he get toosed in season 10 then have too comeback ?
        seams unfair allowed him back.

      • The second time Caleb tried out it was best he didn’t make it, they sent the best guys home. Remember… They sent Johnny Keyser home.

      • It was an absolute joke that Johnny was sent home that season. He was one of the best!

      • Caleb would have been all of 17/18 yrs. old in Season 10. In those days, 17-18 yr. olds rarely got the OK from the likes of Simon & Paula. James D. was a tad bit older, if memory serves.

        Others have had repeat seasons, getting to Hollywood. I think Caleb’s done well with his time away from Idol, actually. You can see how comfortable he is on stage; and he can practically sing anything.

        If he’d been on Season 10, he’d been paired against James D., and you’d have to wonder whether either could have gotten as far, splitting votes.

    • I think you are one of the few that still recall Caleb got tossed in Season 10, where James Durbin went on to the final 4 that season. I do think Caleb has more talent than James D., however. Having tried out twice before (season 10 and season 11) why he allowed back so many times if so good aready won the idol . had a band .

    • Colton saing September by Earth Wind and Fire, he changed it up and it was the song that got him sent home.

  7. Alex is boring.
    At least Caleb and Jena, who some people say “scream”, can raise the roof and not make me fall asleep like Alex does.

    • Alex will sell well on iTunes – no doubt.

      But, Alex will not fill a stadium like Jena or Caleb would.

      To me, Jena & Caleb are ‘Idol’ material. Jessica is somewhere in-between.

      Still don’t know why Jessica cannot bat more than .333. She had one decent performance tonight – Gaga. The other two were songs I’d expect to hear in a bar-room karaoke setting.

      • Will not fill a stadium… Can you say that to Jason Mraz? Can you say that to coldplay? Can you say that to City and colour. All these people have very similar sounds to Alex, and if I’m right they sell out nearly every concert.

        It’s not just the ability to bounce around and make noise. It’s the ability to actually sing. And yeah, Caleb’s voice is fine… But he can’t sing ballads well AT ALLLL.

      • I have wanted Caleb to sing “Living Inside Myself ” by Gino Vannelli, for sometime, that type of ballad would do his voice justice. If he sang it it would most likely take him to the top and keep him there.

      • Coldplay is an entirely different level than Alex. Coldplay is a complete band with a huge suite of songs. There’s a reason Coldplay can fill a stadium…!!

        Alex is akin to Lee DeWyse, okay… One Man With Guitar. Very good at it, but the breadth of what Alex can do well … just is not there. Period.

        You can whine about Caleb not being able to sing ballads, but, waah, waah, waah, is all I feel about that. Caleb sang Skyfall well enough. Last night’s Amazed performance was well done, too. waaah, waaah, waaah, waaah Caleb waaah, waaah, waaah, waaah.

  8. now I see JLo is so Fake, I don’t understand what for, she stand, walk and kiss Jena? is she really afraid that Jena might go home, because she is her fav? so she did that to make people vote for jena? is it mean that Jena is better than the other 3? I really don’t think jena is that good, Jlo reaction is so awkward to me.

    • You’re being totally off-base, Jena delivered that performance so damn well, and flawlessly she had to do something, to show how beautiful she did it. You cannot base anything that J-Lo does to think it make like Jena was the best. Because she already showed she was the best on that performance. Caleb needs to watch out for Jena now. She could take the title from him in a flash. After tonight she is undoubtly 110% safe. We’re going to see our precious Alex or Caleb in the bottom this week.

      • I didn’t like Jena’s performance at all. Caleb is kind of the same-old-same-old. Jena just doesn’t seem to have enough talent. JLo’s nonsense of getting up out of her seat to kiss Jena – come on, we get it, JLo like’s Jena for teh win. The bubble bursting is going to be hard on Jena although if she goes home tonight, they all come back in just a few days to star preparation for the finale and tour.

  9. There is nothing you can say about Jena’s last performance, go ahead and try to hate, you Jena haters. All this crap about screaming and mumbling had nothing to do with it. Perfect song, best performance of American Idol 2014. Jena will probably win, but If not I’d give that title to Caleb or Alex.

    • It is a perfect song, which is why her rendition of it was so appalling. It was bad. She does scream, shout, oversing, and mumble. She bought into her own hype. Jena needs to go. Although Caleb could be the surprise going home tonight.

  10. Alex has a unique voice and I like it, but he is boring as a performer. If you take him his guittar i feel he falls down. I’d really like to see how he perform without guittar. Jess has a great voice but I don’t feel her songs I hate the way she looks at camera and starts singing ,awful performer. I like to hear her voice in itune . All her performances are same happy, crazy, sad any kind of songs she sings are the same. I think Jena, Caleb and ??? deserve to be in final.

    • I agree with everything you say. Especially in regard to Alex. Can one imagine the train wreck it would be if Alex tried to sing with the passion all three of the others at least attempt.

  11. When Jess and Alex perform I close my eyes and listen to them. Alex is better than Jess anyway. You can see some changes in his face to show feeling, but Jess has an ice face. The only part of her face moves is her mouth no emotion. I’m wondering how she looks like when she is upset or mad. In all situations I think she just opens her eyes. Jena’s 3rd song was amazing nobody can deny it. Her performance and vocal was incredible. She brought me to tears. Amazing! Beautiful! CALEB AND JENA definitely deserve to be in final.

  12. Jessica started slow .. gained momentum and finished with the best performance of the night. Caleb screamed with his usual dime-a-dozen ‘cover-band’ performance .. Jena screamed and then put us all to sleep with the slowest song in the history of A.I. and Alex did the same predicable ‘coffee-shop’ rendition he’s done every week.

  13. idk but after watch Jessica’s perf. Human & You&I…I loooove Jessica more and more now…go go go Jessica, hope the best for you!

  14. I have to give Jessica props for taking the crap the judges have slung her way all season with complete class. She’s become the AI punching bag. Jena sounded horrible on “Bad Romance” yet the judges went easy on her. Caleb sounds the same on everything he sings and Alex is just BLAH to me. Jessica’s tone is beautiful and her artistry incredible.

  15. I forgot to say that it was completely inappropriate for JLo to walk up to the stage and hug Jena. Talk about impartiality!

    • Perhaps. But, if she did so to your favorite performer … Would you be so offended?

  16. I am hoping that Jena gets voted off. The judges, ESPECIALLY J Lo are making her out to be the greatest thing since slice bread which she is not. Jessica is far better than her. has a smoother tone to her voice and far out exceeds Jena.
    As for Jena singing Elvis, it sucked pure and simple. She does not have the intonation in her voice to since such a beautiful song. I would have liked to see Jessica try it or Alex. As for the phony crap that J Lo pulled by hugging Jena at the end, that was all bs. Her first reaction shot when Jena was singing Elvis’s song said it all and she probably knew she was caught on camera and had to come up with a way to make it up to Jena.

  17. It seemed like all the performers were a bit off on each of their first songs. All the performs except Caleb were still having a problem on the second set. But, by the 3rd set, they all came alive (even Alex). I think each of them gave there best performance of the season (by far) on that last set. But, I have to say I loved Caleb’s version of vocal range on “Maybe I’m Amazed” and Jena’s stripped down version and passion filled version of “Can’t help falling in Love” the best of the night.

    • I agree, but Alex did just as well as Jena and Caleb he just has a different voice. I’m glad he came in second this week, at least I believe he did.

  18. Caleb’s my favorite. His opening number was solid. I love the song “Travelin’ Band” and thought he did John Fogerty proud with his version. His performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed” was very surprising – I think he showed another side of himself. Great job.
    Jessica was better than she had been, did a very good job on her last song. I think she has a good voice and will record well but just doesn’t cut it on this type of stage.
    Alex was solid. I thought “Yellow” was really good. He has a very contemporary style.
    Jena was all over the place. “She sang “Heartbreaker” well, but the nerdy, “good-girl” outfit while singing that song? THAT was the disconnect the judges couldn’t put their finger on. As tiny as Pat Benatar was, she always looked like a chick you didn’t want to mess with and that attitude came across in her performances. I’m going back and forth on her last performance – parts of it were stunning, and in other parts her unusual inflections/pronunciations (which I generally LIKE from her) distracted me from the song.

  19. Caleb, Jena & Alex is the top three in my book (talent wise) Jessica can sing we just rarely get to see it. She has NO stage presence & has absolutely no rhythm. Even if she makes it to the top three she won’t win! Its a toss up between Caleb & Jena and I don’t care which one takes it. I like them both. We did vote 2000 votes for Alex. Hope he gets the top three!

    • Alex has been smooth and steady he may win yet. I like his voice just as much as the others.

      • Alex had a moment this week with the song “Yellow”. He also had one last week with a song I am not familiar with (“Say Something”). But, his performances do not seem to very much from song to song. And they are often on the sleepy side. I think he might be in danger of leaving this week.

    • You never know about American Idol. At this stage of the game, I would be afraid to vote 2000 votes for the opposition. That could place Jena or Caleb in the bottom. I gave all of my votes to Jessica for so many reasons.

  20. I hated how Jena did Elvis’s song!! That is one of my favorite songs and I would never want to hear it like that again. I don’t like Jena’s singing and have been wishing she would go home for a long time. Jessica’s voice is so much better than Jena’s and I don’t care if Jessica doesn’t bounce all over the stage and scream. To me that is not talent. I would much rather go to a concert with Jessica or Alex any day than Jena or Caleb.

    • Is it ‘talent’ to sing off key, out of tune, Connie?

      While I agree that Jessica has an interesting voice and disposition, she cannot seem to hold a song in tune … akin to CJ’s problems. “So What” was a disaster.

      Given your stance above, though, I don’t think Jena could really do anything ‘right’ enough to change your opinion of her.

      • they have all had good and bad performances but Jena’s voice to me is just irritating. you have your opinion and I have mine. leave it at that.

      • No, that’s fine. I just value ‘ability to sing in tune’ over other vocal aspects of a contestant.

  21. caleb needs to go arrogant ai should boot him for the remarks he made about people with disabilities i voted for jessica’ alex makes me naeuseous jenna is so so harry connick is a joke liked jennifer till last night love keith but they need to bring back simon cowell paula randy the real judges

  22. I don’t think that JLo favors only Jena…I think she also favors Caleb. Now for Alex and Jessica…..I don’t see the same reaction from any of the judges that Caleb and Jena get and for a good reason….Caleb and Jena get on that stage and perform..Alex and Jessica stand in place most of the time while singing…not always, most most of the time….Jessica almost appears to have stage fright to me….like she is afraid to react….and Alex reminds me of Tiny Tim tip toeing through the tulips! (sorry it just seems that way to me). I really do wish them all the best now and in the future…we all have our favorite (s). I see Jessica leaving tonight…

    • That is hilarious, he is a Tiny Tim reincarnated. As far as Jessica is concerned, it’s sad because she is definitely treated like the stepchild and JLo is without a doubt the (jealous) wicked stepmother. No matter what happens, I’m glad Jessica got this platform to show people what she can do. Keep thinking Chris (4th) and Adam (2nd), both proof you don’t have to win to make a career when you are talented.

    • I agree with every thing you said about each of the performers. But, I do not really see the judges favoring anyone were it is not deserved. When Jessica performed the song “You and I” she got great praise from the ALL the judges. When she had a mediocre performance, such as her song “So What” … The judges call her out on it. Is that not what they are supposed to do?

      • hi…your right…that is what they are suppose to do….I get so caught up in all of this…I love watching the show and you know, all of the contestants bring something different to the stage…and the judges have done a wonderful job and give very sound advice to all of them….in the end I do believe America will pick the one who is most deserving..gee, once the show is over I’m not sure what I will do with my time!!!

  23. The Audio Engineer slayed Jena’s last song.

    What the heck we’re they thinking… did J-Lo actually SHOUT out the F-bomb so loud? or was her mic on for some odd reason?

    Her comment never should have been picked up.

  24. Some of these songs didn’t work that well for anyone, and it wasn’t especially the fault of the singer, No to the Kelly Clarkson song choice. No to the two Lady Gaga songs. No to the Pat Benatar song. Caleb should have done the “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” song selection, instead of Jena – that song is so beautiful as sung by Elvis. Sounded like a bargain-basement night overall. There are better love songs, makeup, and breakup songs than most of what we had to hear last night.

  25. JLO’s two favorites are Caleb and Jena. She even said to Alex that he needs to do better if he wants to beat specifically Caleb and Jena. What about Jessica? That just proves that they really don’t care about Jessica and Alex at all and want Jena and Caleb in the finale.

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