Jax has a lot to process in the next week.
The Atlantic Beach native will have a parade and a concert thrown in her honor on Friday, when she returns to her East Brunswick, N.J., home. She turns 19 on May 5. And, oh yeah, she may be the next “American Idol.”
“Jax is really on a roll,” “Idol” mentor Scott Borchetta said. “She has great momentum.”
Mentor Martina McBride was impressed by Jax after hearing her rehearsal of the Christina Perri song “Human.”
“That was really honest,” McBride told her. “As a singer, I’m trying to think of something to tell you.”
Jax also impressed Steven Tyler, whom the Top 5 met in a Nashville studio, and he asked to sing with her at the show’s finale. The only problem with all this good news is that the JaxPack might not feel the same intensity to support her as they have in previous weeks.
Jax seems even more impressive now, as the onetime front-runner Clark Beckham hit major hurdles in the show, with both his performance and likability taking a hit.
He battled with Borchetta over song choice and was gently criticized by mentor Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts for not listening to those trying to help him.
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“You’re on a fast-track to a Holiday Inn with this kind of music,” Borchetta told him after hearing Clark's R&B version of Josh Turner’s country hit “Your Man.”
After Clark sang it on the show, he faced criticism from the judges and felt the need to defend himself. “I really believe people like this music that I’m playing,” he said.
But he was challenged again by the judges. “As an entertainer, it’s also your responsibility to create an amazing moment for your audience,” Lopez told him.
It seems his front-runner status has gone to his head a little, causing him to stumble on his path to becoming the next Phillip Phillips.
“Don’t confuse people liking you with the music that you’re playing,” Urban tells him. “If you get it right, they’ll love all of it.”
With that backdrop, it was even sadder seeing Tyanna Jones eliminated. The 16-year-old had so much potential and a fearlessness that pushed her to try songs that Nick Fradiani and Rayvon Owen wouldn’t even dream of attempting. To punctuate her “Idol” run, she turned to Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls),” which was bold, messy and fun.
Here’s how the rest of the night shook out:
1. JAX, “Human”: Her vulnerable take on the Christina Perri hit could be on the radio today. And the way she lets her emotions carry her without letting them overwhelm her is masterful, especially for a soon-to-be-19-year-old. “This is a perfect example of the technical versus the emotional,” Connick said. “I really felt what you were doing. You let yourself go and ultimately that trumps everything.” Urban said it was the perfect song choice. “It was really great,” Lopez said.
2. JAX, “Empire State of Mind (Part II)”: She did a lovely job with the Alicia Keys version of the smash. “You understand that you can win this competition now,” Lopez said. “You have potential to take the whole thing.” Connick asked her whether she was hoarse and complimented her for singing through it. “I thought it was a great artistic choice,” Urban said. “Your talent still powers through.”
3. NICK FRADIANI, “What Hurts the Most”: His version of the Rascal Flatts hit was nice but, once again, very close to the original. He has become quite a strong mimic and for many that will be enough. “Tonight, you’re the star of the night,” Lopez said. Connick said he could imagine that song on his CD. Urban predicted it would be an iTunes hit.
4. CLARK BECKHAM, “Living for the City”: He starts in an oddly high key on the Stevie Wonder classic, and then he takes an odd break for a piano solo. But the key allows him to hit one spectacular note at the end and that’s probably the reason for it. “I thought it sounded really good,” Lopez said. “It was a really good start to the show.” Connick said it was solid, but said he wasn’t quite in the groove. “It’s just focus,” Connick said.
5. NICK FRADIANI, “Bright Lights”: Nick solidifies his role as a Rob Thomas knock-off with the Matchbox Twenty hit, which he delivers pretty faithfully. It was good but essentially risk-free. “You woke the room up with that,” Connick said. “It’s exciting in here.” Urban said he has a killer instinct. “Every time you perform, it’s getting stronger and better,” he said. Lopez said he’s peaking at the right time. “It was you at your best,” she said.
6. RAYVON OWEN, “Believe”: He oversings the Justin Bieber song, but at least he seems like he actually connects with it. Maybe because he actually sings it to his mother. “You sang phenomenally just then,” Urban said. “It was beautiful.” Lopez said it made her cry. “That’s what you have to do every single time,” she said.
7. CLARK BECKHAM, “Your Man”: He’s singing the Josh Turner country hit, best known to “Idol” fans as “that Scotty McCreery song,” as a ’70s R&B song, which is an odd, unnecessary risk. “I thought you sang it well,” Lopez said. “Do you really want to win? ... I think you can win ‘American Idol.’” Connick said he needs to think about it from the audience’s perspective. “It was kind of tepid, man,” Connick said. Urban said he needs singles, not album tracks.
8. RAYVON OWEN, “Need You Now”: Turning the Lady Antebellum ode to drunk dialing into something out of a Broadway musical was crafty, but it was overdramatic and oversung. There is no question Rayvon can sing. The question is whether he can entertain and this song didn’t bring us any closer to an answer. “I would rather have less of the dramatics and a little more of the heart,” Urban said. Lopez said he needs to work on connection. “There’s something to be said for restraint,” said Connick, who also declared his love for EDM. “I thought you sang the pants off of it.”
BOTTOM TWO Rayvon, Clark
SHOULD BE CUT Rayvon
WILL BE CUT Rayvon
ACTUALLY CUT ???