Right before Ryan Seacrest announced who had been eliminated on “American Idol,” judge Harry Connick Jr. declared with a straight face: “I have no idea what’s about to happen.”
Really? It would have been so much better for “truth-telling” Connick to have said what every “Idol” watcher knew: “You’re going home, Quentin Alexander.”
Quentin was probably doomed from the moment he seemingly began pouting last week, sad that his friend Joey Cook was destined to be eliminated. Then, his declaration that the situation was “wack” made it worse, because some people — including seemingly smart ones like Connick — were going to misunderstand what he was saying and send him home. Quentin started his own downfall, but Connick sealed it when he called him “disrespectful” and told him that if he didn’t like the way the show was structured, “you can always go home” — a clip the show aired again (minus the explanation that Quentin was referring to Joey’s potential elimination) at the start of this week’s show.
Quentin’s fate was sealed, even though he delivered two of the night’s best performances — a groovy, inventive version of The Doors’ “Light My Fire” and a decent take on the difficult, dramatic “Shake It Out” from Florence & The Machine. To make Quentin’s exit seem even less about music, Rayvon Owen offered up the absolute worst performance the show has seen in weeks with his off-key, off-tempo, screechy version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.”
In any case, Rayvon is now in the Top 5, along with Atlantic Beach native Jax, who leaped back into the front-runner position with a stunning version of Dido’s “White Flag.” She was also thrilled about advancing.
“Thank you guys so much, this is incredible,” said Jax, adding that her favorite concert was seeing the “American Idol” Season 5 show, with Katharine McPhee.
Jax will get the chance to perform on an “American Idol” tour of her own now that she has made the Top 5. This year, in an odd bit of downsizing, the show is only sending the Top 5 out on tour instead of the Top 10.
Jax is also still in the running to sing the official anthem for Fox’s coverage of the women’s FIFA World Cup, a bonus prize for the show’s winner.
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Here’s how the rest of the night shook out:
1. JAX, “White Flag”: Her stripped-down, piano-and-cello version of the Dido hit was stunningly good. More than showing off her voice, it showed her emotion and her artistry. “I was completely riveted to that,” Urban said. “It was great.” Lopez said that she felt Jax needed to show more gravitas to win the contest and this performance removed that worry. “That is exactly what you needed to do right now ... That was so beautiful for you.” Connick said it was phenomenal. “There’s nothing to say,” he said.
2. CLARK BECKHAM, “Yesterday”: He took a lot of risks on the Beatles classic, twisting the arrangement here and there to better show off his voice. It paid off. “You gave yourself an amazing melody to sing,” Connick said. “Really nice job.” Urban said it sounded current and fresh, like if Sam Smith did it. “It was risky what you did,” Lopez said. “You did a beautiful job.”
3. TYANNA JONES, “Party in the U.S.A.”: Young Tyanna goes for a more metal-edged version of the Miley Cyrus hit, which allowed her to add some power and depth to the lightweight anthem. “It’s a side of you that we haven’t seen before,” Urban said. “It was good to see the fun side of you.” Lopez said she did a great job and it played well for her to act more like the 16-year-old she is. “You killed it,” Connick said.
4. JAX, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?”: Jax raises the cool factor on the Jet hit, adding a bit of sass and some breathy vocals to the original. “That’s how you open the show right there,” Urban said. “You have every right to feel good about your talent.” Lopez said that she will be great on tour, while Connick said that he has a good idea what her live show will be like, adding that he hopes she’ll comp his ticket. “That was strong,” Connick said.
5. RAYVON OWEN, “I’m Not the Only One”: He does a good job with the Sam Smith song, which suits his upper register and falsetto perfectly. “I thought you did a great job,” Connick said. “You really knocked that one out of the park.” Urban said at some point maybe “you’re going to be the only one left.” Lopez talked about him possibly winning the show.
6. NICK FRADIANI, “Harder to Breathe”: He started out too intense on the Maroon 5 hit, but he eventually settled in and showed how comfortable he is on the stage now. “You have them in the palm of your hand,” Lopez said. “Getting better and better every week.” Connick said his performance should be scary to the other competitors, adding, “That was great.”
7. TYANNA JONES, “Heaven”: OK, so the smoke machine working overtime to make it seem like young Tyanna was standing above the clouds was a bit too much. Her performance was technically good, but she looked a bit rattled. By the time she got to the end, though, she seemed OK. “I think it was a good job,” Lopez said. “I don’t know that it was my favorite from you, but I enjoyed seeing you in this light.” Urban added, “You’ve got a beautiful voice, baby.”
8. NICK FRADIANI, “Maggie May”: His version of the Rod Stewart hit was very close to the original and a little bland, though he sounded all right. “That’s a good song for you, man,” Urban said. However Lopez worried it wasn’t memorable enough. “You’re picking songs that suit you really well,” Lopez said. “It’s about making moments.”
9. CLARK BECKHAM, “Boyfriend”: This is what overconfidence sounds like. His bluesy twist on the Justin Bieber hit was almost indecipherable on the verses, and the final chorus sounded oddly rough and forced. “It was OK,” Connick said. “It was like one giant blues scale.” Urban said it was too technical, adding, “It’s not raw and dangerous like Bieber is.”
10. RAYVON OWEN, “Go Your Own Way”: He starts way off-key on the Fleetwood Mac classic and seems dazed by it for a while. He strays off-key throughout the rest of the song and then offers a terrible screaming note at the end. “That was a crazy high note,” Urban said. Lopez said it was a great way to end the show. “You are such a fighter,” she said. “It was a really good performance for you.”
BOTTOM TWO Rayvon, Nick
SHOULD BE CUT Rayvon
WILL BE CUT Rayvon
ACTUALLY CUT ???