American Idol 2014 Top 8 Performance Show Recap: Reprising The Audition Songs

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The American Idol 2014 Top 8 took on their audition songs Wednesday night, which means we got to again hear some original songs. It turned out to be quite a solid night, despite mine and others’ doubts about the theme this week.

As always, I’ll be reviewing each of the performances and assigning the letter grades I think each deserves.

Jessica Meuse, “Blue Eyed Lie.” It was nice to get to hear her do her original song with a band backing her. I think it’s a pretty solid song, too. But I was a little bored. But that’s silly because that’s the song that got her a golden ticket. So I’m just being picky. But whatever, the vocals were great and most everything else was also solid. Performance grade: A

C.J. Harris, “Soul Shine.” I like this song a lot and the performance was entertaining because of that. But when I really listened I could hear how rough of a singer he is. It’s cool to be rough around the edges sometime, but this performance was just off a little too much. I understand why America isn’t exactly supporting him. But this song is so good, it might trick some people into voting for him. Performance grade: B+

Sam Woolf, “Lego House.” Finally, a song that really works for Sam. I think this was the performance he needed to keep him from being the next to go. The performance was smooth and tender and he seemed more connected to the audience then he’s ever been. I think people will respond well to this effort. Performance grade: B+

Malaya Watson, “Ain’t No Way.” Well this was the song that set the tone for what kind of singer she was going to be, so it was nice to hear it done on the Idol stage. I don’t think it was her best performance, oddly enough, but it was still solid. I love hearing her sing and this was time no different. Performance Grade: A-

Dexter Roberts, “One Mississippi.” Well, I think this is a dumb song, but I think country fans will like it. I think it was good for Dexter to have a good and tender moment after his trip to the bottom three the other week. I think this was definitely a solid performance, so maybe it’ll save him this week. Performance Grade: B+

Jena Irene, “Rolling in the Deep.” Well she did Adele, but at least she did a special version of it, so that makes it more forgivable. But then it got pretty weird at times, but her vocals were as good as they’ve ever been. I think she just made a game-changing moment. Maybe. I don’t think she’ll be finding herself in the bottom three again anytime soon. Performance grade: A

Caleb Johnson, “Chain of Fools.” I thought this was a weird song choice, but I liked the arrangement. It’s cool to see him take a song that is no where near his wheelhouse and totally make it his own. He’s a fantastic performer. He commands the stage and his vocals are never off. Performance grade: A+

Alex Preston, “Fairytales.” This is probably the best original song from anyone on the show. And it really does sound like a song that could be on the radio. I think this was definitely his best performance to date. And whereas I usually find him boring, I get the appeal after this performance. Performance grade: A+




  1. Branden, I have to disagree with you about Sam’s performance. I thought he was incredibly off, especially during the second half of the song. He seems to have no connection to anything he sings and his face always looks blank to me. Anyway, just my two cents. I’m sure there will be plenty who will disagree with me. Thanks for all of your articles.

    One other thing I forgot to mention, I found the breakdown of the first four singers absolutely hysterical. Those 21 and over ranked the teenagers 3rd & 4th and those under 21 were just the opposite. It didn’t surprise me in the least.

  2. Dexter Roberts has NOT been in the bottom 3 the past couple times. He’s only been there once. That being said, I think he will land in the bottom 3 again this week along with CJ. I could see the judges saving Dexter if Harry doesn’t vote it down, but CJ has no chance since he’s a wild card. As for the third spot in the bottom 3, it could really be anyone, but whoever it is probably won’t end up going home. I would say Jena, but I think she has enough momentum at the moment that one bad performance won’t derail her. And to all her fans, I’m sorry, but her performance was not good tonight. Hollie Cavanagh sang Rolling in the Deep better and still landed in the bottom 3.

  3. I always agree with your recap, but today, It’s obvious that Alex, Malaya and Jessica are the ones who really stand out! Jena obviously did a weak performance and it is also not Caleb’s night tonight. But still, since it’s your opinion only, I won’t bother to argue anymore 😀

  4. Dumb song,, Dexter+? he has, Imo the best voice. I really am wonding why the judges have not said anything to Malaya about only singing slow numbers. They sure got on Dexter and Caleb to do something different. Fair is fair.

  5. Branden, two comments 1) You said Jessica bored you but you gave her an A. I thought it was her best performance. She’s always beautiful, too. 2) You placed four singers higher than Malaya – you were way off there.

  6. top 3 performances last night:
    1.) jena;- JLo told her she should intend to obliviate the other competitors” every time” (like last night)
    2.)Dexter- great back up harmony!
    3.) Malaya-though I’m not a fan/
    Note: Both Alex & Jessica were boring. Caleb was chicken crap not to perform his original; and same ole same ole as Harry stated.

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