American Idol 2014 Top 8 Performance Show Recap: Back To The 80s

Alex Preston

It was 1980s night on American Idol 2014, and in my opinion, it was the most entertaining night of the season. The song choices were good. The vocals were good. I liked it a lot. As always, I’ve reviewed each performance and assigned the letter grade I think each one deserves.

Jena Irene, “I Love Rock n Roll.” I like the risk of starting a song like this on the piano, but it seemed a little weird. But I again, bonus points for being inventive. Luckily, she didn’t change the whole thing. I actually loved the arrangement when she got up from the piano though. And then at the chorus it sounded more like the original. I’m a huge fan of this performance. Performance grade: A+

Dexter Roberts, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” I’m really glad he picked this song because it’s not a strictly country song. It actually crossed several charts in the 1980s and is familiar to a lot of people, so that’s one of the best moves he’s made in the competition. And the vocals were solid and the whole thing was pretty entertaining. Performance grade: A

Alex and Sam duet, “The Girl is Mine.” First of all, horrible song. Secondly, boring performance. I almost fell asleep.

Malaya Watson, “Through The Fire.” Well I’ve never heard this song and I imagine a lot of other people haven’t either. That’s actually a terrible idea the week after you were in the bottom three. I hope this doesn’t get her in trouble. But it’s not looking good because this was probably her worst performance since the first week. Makes me sad. C+

Caleb and Jena, “It’s Only Love.” Now this is a duet. Caleb was on. Jena was on. the performance was solid. Liked it a lot.

Jessica Meuse, “Call Me.” Good song choice. But that’s never been a problem for Jessica. And neither has singing, really. Her vocals were perfect, but her stage presence was a little weird. She seemed reserved and bored or something. It was weird. Performance Grade: B+

Sam Woolf, “Time After Time.” First of all, I’d like to say that I picked this song for Sam in an earlier post! So go me! Of course, the performance was as good as I expected it to be. But it was still pretty sweet, tender and inventive. I like the kid, but I don’t know if this would be considered one of his best. Performance grade: B

C.J. and Malaya, “I Knew You Were Waiting.” No idea what this song is. I was bored most of the time and I’m a Malaya fan.

Alex Preston, “Every Breath You Take.” This is a pretty good song choice for him. I never considered this one for him, but I get it. I liked the arrangement. I mean it was so different it was unrecognizable. And some people might call it boring. But all those critiques aside, I liked it. His voice sounded amazing on the song. Performance grade: A+

Dexter and Jessica, “Islands in the Stream.” I like the song choice, but I didn’t like the pairing. But it was still an entertaining performance. Jessica was stronger than Dexter. Which was always the case with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Dolly was better.

C.J. Harris, “Free Falling.” Again, he confuses me with what kind of artist he is. But I say that every single week and I’m sorry. But I don’t get him. I did like this performance though. I really liked the arrangement of the song. Performance grade: A-

Caleb Johnson, “Faithfully.” Perfect choice. He needed a ballad and journey was a great direction for him. It was nice to see him pull back. But he didn’t totally pull back. He still commanded the stage and his vocals surely commanded the audiences at home. Great performance. Performance Grade: A+

Who do you think had the best performances from the night?




  1. I don’t think malaya did a terrible job. This is probably not her best but it is by far better than what you are thinking. Sorry. I think she deserved even an A- than a C+

      • Malaya’s major note was so shrill to my ears that I actually cringed. Jena was so much better than her.

      • Yeah I thought Jena was great! Not her best, because you can’t do much to that song cause it doesn’t really go anywhere. But damn she sure proved me wrong. I loved the beginning, the arrangement was very interesting, and i agree the key was a little of when she was singing the original way. But i still loved it! I thought Maylaya was good the first couple seconds, then kinda lost me there, and slowly picked herself back into it, so overall I would say Jena did it better for me. IMO

  2. Jessica was my favorite of the night. Followed by Caleb, then Alex. They should be this year’s Top 3.

    • Jessica stands out…. At this point, I hate to see any of them disappointed… Jessica is so pretty, has a beautiful smile and I like her voice and style… but not the pink hair and I hope that won’t take away from her. Tonight, I liked Dexter’s second and CJ third. I know CJ mostly is offkey — but so is Rod Stewart… I actually like CJ’s style and mellowness. In the middle, I have Caleb and Malaya. Bottom three – Jena, Sam & Alex.. Everyone has different tastes in music, don’t they? & the contestants are offering a wide range.

      • No way Jena is in the bottom three. I’d put CJ there with Sam & Alex. Sam still lacks emotion and personality when he sings and he has absolutely no idea how to connect with either the song lyrics or the audience. Alex, in my opinion, is totally boring. He puts me to sleep.

      • Sam is kind of white bread and mayonnaise. Not bad or good, just there. Alex though is creepy. Taking that psycho stalking song and treating it as romantic was nauseating. I admit he’s clever at rearranging but he picked the wrong song to show us that.

      • It would be pretty bad if Alex didn’t know what the song was about before he sang it. It was totally creepy!

      • Don’t think Jena or Alex will be in the bottom three – Sam may even pull up from the bottom three. His fans got the scare of their lives last week and they likely will stick with him a little longer now.

    • Jake, you may be on to something there. Fans are falling in love with Jessica slowly – they’re learning to like her voice – but even better – they’re learning to like Jessica.

      • We already have Haley Reinhart and she also sounds like Stevie Nicks to a great degree, with out the nasal sound. I like Haley better then Jessica.

  3. You people sound sick in the comments, how in the world could Jena be bottom 3. You’re sick. She was the best girl of the night and certainly in a tie for best of the night. She is no doubt safe.

      • I’d be interested in knowing who you think was the best tonight.?.?.?……..

      • Sam and Alex just about put me to sleep. Sam has absolutely no idea how to connect with song lyrics or an audience and he lacks personality in a big way. Alex is BORING and belongs on a small stage in a smoky bar or coffeehouse. Malaya’s big note literally hurt my ears and made me cringe. Caleb was fantastic as always and Jena was right up there with him.

      • You have SOME valid points. Watch Jena’s performance again and listen to her, she sounds terrible and is so insincere.

      • I’ve listened to it three times actually and I’ve loved every time. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I’m not going to convince you and you sure as heck aren’t going to convince me.

      • jena was amazing! lively performance with great energy- the ending was unreal – listen back… totally killer

      • I totally disagree with you. Caleb needed to show a different side and I believe that he did just that.

      • I already knew he could hit high notes, there was nothing new Imo it wasn’t so soft. He should have sang Jefferson Starship, Sara. it would have been more of a challenge.

      • Sunny, you got that wrong about Caleb. I’ve been wondering when he would wake up or be told to do this. He already had the hard rock votes for sure – now he’s shown those that don’t go for the hard rock that he has a different side. That’s what will sell his first album and pick him up additional votes in doing it.

      • I totally disagre with you. I may be a teenager, but I so disagree with you on Sam and Alex. This was a really good Sam perfomance. And if you can’t realize that, then whatever. And Caleb does good as always. But Koko Snoot Caleb, Alex, Sam, and Malaya were all better than Jena. agreed.

    • I like Jena’s singing voice, but her diction is so poor I can’t understand a lot of the words. If I know her song, I can follow it. But wait until she sings new material!.

    • I’m going to say Jessica will be the first girl’s name called out tonight as being saved.

  4. I still think Hollie’s rendition of “Faithfully” was much much better than Caleb’s. Nonetheless he was good.

    • I loved Hollie that season she was my favorite that season. I thought Caleb’s was actually really good for me. Almost close to her’s.

  5. David Cook was a tremendously good mentor, who would have thought he would do so well? Just think how much better the contestants might have done over the course of the show if he had been their mentor from the start.

    • David Cook is one of my favorite idols. It’s too bad he hasn’t been releasing music.

    • He was great and I’m going out on a limb… aside from Jimmy Ivine, I think David was the best ever!

  6. Anyone else notice how Dexter always performs first or second to first and Caleb always performs last or second to last. It really isn’t fair. Bottom 3 this week will be the exact same as last week but who goes home is anyone’s guess.

    • In the past last would have been an advantage. But because of voting being open on facebook during the show, and the results frequently being shown on the show, going early isn’t the disadvantage that it used to be.

    • I totally believe it’s because too many people would do just like I do….wait to hear Caleb sing, cut off the TV.

    • They should have saved the best for last, last night. Dexter should have got that spot. Caleb wasn’t that good.

  7. Or the scenario I mentioned last week after Sam got the save could happen and Caleb or Jena could get voted off and the judges won’t get the chance to save them.

  8. Wow, I totally disagree with you. This was not my favorite week at all. I thought a lot of the performances were very karaoke. My least favorite was Alex. He totally butchered a song I like a lot, which makes it really hard to listen to- and thus determine whether or not I like his singing. Just awful. Watching the whole show, rather than just the performances, helped me realize why CJ is still there. Sure, maybe he sings off key. Sure, maybe he looks terrible when he is singing with his scrunched up face. But at least he has some life in him! So many of the contestants in that final line shot looked apathetic at best.

    • I really like CJ- has the best appeal… so cute, sweet soulful voice… I get exactly what you mean…. I felt the same about Jena butchering two songs I really like — just not into that style.. I also like Jessica.

  9. Caleb…Caleb………..words matter, dude. Next time, don’t say “Make the OLD ladies cry” it should be “Make the ladies cry”….don’t say you were just giving a “baby face”, say you were thinking about some girl in the mountains. You are hurting yourself with your choice of words but love you anyways!
    Harry Connick Jr was annoying at best, he’s a judge not a clown. The girl on his shoulders made him look like a pervert

  10. jena was amazing! lively performance with great energy- the ending was unreal… totally killer… she is brave to always rearrange the songs and put her own spin on it… totally agree with the A plus! #jenanation #teamjena

    • No offense but there is no way that Dexter should be a frontrunner. He mumbles his words and honestly, there is nothing special or distinctive about his voice. It’s nice but that’s it in my opinion.

      I think we’ve had disagreements before about Dexter so we’ll have to agree to disagree. LOL!!!

      • I love Michael & Paul singing it as well but I didn’t care for Sam & Alex.

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