American Idol 2014 Top 9 Performance Show Recap: They’re With The Band

The American Idol 2014 Top 9 took on the theme “I’m With The Band” Wednesday night. They got to strut their stuff along with Ricky Minor and the band as the frontman to their own little mini concert.


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

Alex Preston, “Don’t Speak.” Well that was a surprising and adventurous song choice. I know I’ve heard the arrangement before, though, so he can’t take full credit. But whatever, that was a great performance. It was inventive and smooth and fun. I thought it was probably one of his best. Performance Grade: A-

Majesty Rose, “Shake it Out.” Well this was not the song or performance she needed to keep herself afloat this week. I don’t think she’s going to like the outcome of this performance any more than I do. Her voice was thin and she lost control of the song a few times. I just wan’t into it. Performance Grade: C+

Dexter Roberts, “Boondocks.” That was a very good performance. His vocals were there. His energy levels were there and so was his connection to the audience. But I don’t think the song choice was right. He really, really, really needed to pick a pop song and put a country spin on it. I think he’ll be in trouble again. Performance Grade: B+

Malaya Watson, “The Long and Winding Road.” This was a perfect song choice for Malaya. Ever since that first week when she made the worst song choice, she’s really stepped up her game with song choices. And this was another solid performance from her. I think she’ll be just fine again this week. I liked this one a lot. Performance Grade: A

'American Idol': Top 9 Perform TV Recap

Sam Woolf, “Hey There Delilah.” I think this was a good song choice for him. I think it was kind of boring and safe, but I think it’s a known enough song that it will be a good thing for him when the vote comes out. I think he’s done better, but I won’t say it was bad at all. Performance Grade: B

Jessica Meuse, “Rhiannon.” Perfect song choice, first of all. I love Fleetwood Mac so I’ll always encourage it. It is hard to hear someone other than Stevie Nicks sing Stevie, but I liked this. I think it was her best performance to date. Her vocals were spot on and she made the performance really believable and natural. Performance Grade: A+

C.J. Harris, “If It Hadn’t Been For Love.” Well this was boring. And I don’t know what to make of it. His vocals were solid, I guess, but every single week it’s like I’m watching a different person perform. I have no idea what kind of singer he is or or what kind of singer he wants to be. I don’t get it. Performance Grade: B-

Caleb Johnson, “Dazed and Confused.” Led Zeppelin was the perfect song choice for Caleb. This performance was fantastic. It was the right mix of tempos and his vocals were perfect. This was definitely his best performance ever. Performance Grade: A+

Jena Irene, “Bring Me To Life.” Good song choice. I had originally thought Evanesence would be good for Jessica, but this works for her as well. She lost her voice a few times so it definitely could have been better, but the performance was entertaining and I think she’ll be safe this week because of it. Performance Grade: A-

>> Next: American Idol 2014 Top 8 Elimination Results Live Recap! [VIDEOS]




  1. I DVR’d the show because I can’t stand all of the extra “crap” but I am trying hard not to fall asleep after listening to Alex. Boring in my opinion.

    • my husband and i record the show for two reasons…all the extra crap, as you say, and also to watch the ranger game. (let’s go rangers! riight to the stanley cup!!) all you really have to see and hear are the performances and the comments, especially harry. he’s not as blunt as simon but he doesn’t sugarcoat the truth

  2. CJ just can’t keep a tune! The judges prop him up, otherwise he would have been gone a long time ago. The judges sell who they want to stay!

  3. Okay, I persevered and finished watching the show (although it was difficult at times) and boy, am I glad I did! Jena & Caleb stole the show and were truly the only ones who rocked it tonight!

  4. I sure miss all the opinions that folks used to share on this blog. So here’s this engineer’s two cents…
    Alex — I was surprised to see him in the first spot of the night,usually reserved for those the producers want to get rid of. I was also surprised how the judges trashed him. Although I didn’t know the song, I enjoyed his artistry, even the banging on the guitar at the start, the stuttering, plus the key change was great. The band had a muted role, which worked fine. I didn’t know Gwen Stefano had sung this song till J. Lo said so; shows what I know! Grade: B+
    Majesty — She had a nice melodic start, her outfit was cute, but she was not really loose and relaxed during the performance. The tambourine was cheesy, but her pre-schoolers probably loved it. She went pitchy and breathless on the high notes near the end. Grade: C
    Dexter — The band was too loud, what’s with the sound guys? Dexter started off strong, then just phoned in the rest. Maybe he should have sung all of “Satisfaction”, like he did a bit of in the group number, instead??! That might have been a “moment” — or a train wreck. Grade: B-
    Malaya — Great control, sincere, left me with tears in my eyes. Listened to it a second time, with my eyes closed, and noted some breathing problems and notes chopped off at the end of phrases. But she just keeps getting better. I enjoy her infectious energy. Grade: A
    Sam — Well, it was another sleepy, retro-style number. (I could swear the melody for this song was mostly stolen from an old Simon and Garfunkel tune, but that’s another story.) Judges pimped Sam shamelessly. Sam seemed almost pitchy at times, lost the rhythm now and then, and I just don’t get the hat at all — he’s definitely no Sinatra. Just too monotone for me. Grade: C+
    Jessica — This song has been done too often. Jessica mostly showed that she can’t sing without her guitar / or with a band! Had a few nice moments when she actually displayed some energy and had a rasp in her voice. She’s about as animated as a wax model in Madame Tussaud’s Museum. Very beautiful face, just not expressive. Yet. Grade: B
    C.J. — Rough, vigorous and very uneven. Off key more often than not, but did his very best near the end. So full of soul. If his rehearsals really are on key, he should get himself into a studio as soon as possible. Grade: D for most of song, then A at the end.
    Caleb — I love Led Zeppelin, so I really was unsure what Caleb would do to one of their tunes. I watched this through one time, and thought, hey the band is doing great, Caleb’s screaming is worthy of Adam Lambert, but Caleb needs stronger showmanship. Then I backed up the DVR, listened to the performance with my eyes closed — and it was tremendous! Just spectacular. Grade: A++++
    Jena — Poor Jena had to follow the best performance of the night; as a result, she appeared rather karaoke. She screeched a bit at the start, sang soft when the band was loud, was not comfortable with the band on stage, and I couldn’t understand half her words. The judges pimped her; she had the pimp spot; but I wasn’t sold on this performance. Grade: B-
    I have absolutely no idea who will end up in the bottom 3, nor any inkling who will go home. This season is just weird.

    • I have to disagree with you about Jena. Her rendition of “Bring Me to Life” was phenomenal. Her voice is incredible as well as her stage presence.

    • Jena was fine, and there is no pimp spot.

      nearly 60 percent this year the one who goes last gets hit with some hard criticsm.

    • The band was so loud, Jena had to over sing! I still think she did great… Either the sound man, or the band needs to get a reality check.. Something has been wrong from the beginning of idol this year!!

      • I completely agree with you regarding the sound problems the show has had since the live shows began. I don’t know what the issue is but at times they drown out the person singing.

      • For one thing, they moved. This isn’t the old Kodak theater. New stage = new sound system. And, you’re right, the band volume is not in check. Nor is the singer’s mic.. I think the wireless feed from the singer’s mic or in the mixer, something is getting lost. By the time we see it on t.v., Jena’s and a few other permformers’ voices are getting cut off in spots.

        It’s a disservice to singers like Jena, I think, because its not coming across properly once we see it on t.v.

        I’m not sure they properly double-checked the sound system (watching the feeds on t.v.) prior to filming. It probably sounds great to them in the booth, at the theater.

  5. I think CJ is going home tonight seems like he’s shouting when he sing and Majesty and Dexter will be in bottom. I dont think judges would save because he’s so inconsistant.

  6. I’m worried for Dexter, Imo, he has the best voice in the group,, Harry should get a medal for trying to get rid of him, he just talked about his song choice not how well he sang it, He did sing well last nignt, Now to be so rude and bring out that gummie bear, I did not find it amusing. They were suppose to be going over Dexter’s song.

    • Dexter wasn’t great last night or last week in my opinion. I love country music and Boondocks is one of my favorite songs but Dexter did nothing with it and was drowned out by the band quite a bit. I totally disagree with Keith’s statement about Dexter having a hit with that song if it wasn’t already a hit for Little Big Town. I think he will be in the bottom 3 again tonight.

      • I don’t love country music, just certain songs and singers, Dexter is one I’d buy, he was not only great, he was fantastic, did you notice that when the music and crowd were really loud he never went off key through out the whole song?. I admit I only heard Boondocks yesterday, before the show, but wilI sat I liked Dexter’s version better then the group that sang it.
        I agree Dexter might be in the bottom three but in reality he doen’t deserve to be.
        Myself I’m a jazz lover, but I didn’t like Alex go at it last night.

  7. I really like CJ as a person but he should be the one going home tonight. I agree with the people who think that he sang out of key or out of tune; pitchy as “yo dog” used to say. He sounded terrible. Majesty was much, much better than CJ.

  8. I wonder why Dexter never gets to sing last. He’s been in the top four all season, Anyone know what’s up with that?

    • Dexter was in the Bottom 2 last week.

      Not sure how they get ordered, but with just 5 performance nights so far more than half of them couldn’t have the chance to go last even if it was a round robin. It is surprising to see repeats in the pimp spot though.

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