American Idol 2014 Recap: Season 13 Top 6 Perform — April 23, 2014
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2014 FOX Broadcasting Co.    

American Idol

American Idol 2014 Recap: Season 13 Top 6 Perform — April 23, 2014

By Ryan Seacrest's spray tan, we're almost down to a single hand of American Idol contestants! This time next week we'll have just five singers still in the running for the Season 13 crown. Five!

Of course, getting the contestants from six to five isn't as easy as snapping our fingers. These folks are good and they're only getting better every week. Even the judges, Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban, are having trouble figuring out who will take this season's title.

To help us decide who to vote for, the wannabe winners will be singing not one but two songs this evening: one country, one a little bit more rock 'n' roll. Keith, it's your lucky night!

We've already got wind of who's singing what and, being totally serious, we think this has the potential to be one of the best nights of performances Idol has seen all season — which would be good, considering the kind of bummer ratings the show's gotten since January.

Check back with us here at Wetpaint Entertainment when the two-hour show kicks off at 8 p.m. on Fox. We'll be documenting every moment of the Top 6 performances and want you along for the ride!

Live Recap Starts Here!
We are officially Down. To. The. Wire. That's right. Our Season 13 Top 6 becomes a Top 5 tomorrow night, which means this group better get to singing their little hearts out if they want to stay in. We know America's votes are getting more and more critical as the weeks go on. If we feel this nervous, we can't imagine how the Top 6 is feeling right about now!

Tonight's theme: Rock and Country, which means we'll hear two songs from each contestant. Bring it on!

Jena Irene Asciutto: "Barracuda" — Heart
Jena opens the show with a bang, predictably knocking the socks off the judges (and the audience and us) with her version of "Barracuda." It's amazing how she has the ability to take classic songs and give them new life, especially since this song definitely isn't from her generation. J.Lo says Jena has a strong chance at being in the Top 3, and we don't think there's any question about it. Honestly, this crop of Idols hasn't been as promising (vocally, anyway) as past seasons, but Jena has stood out to us since the first day.

Sam Woolf
: "It's Time" — Imagine Dragons
In the spirit of rocking out, Sam's taking on the biggest song he's attempted all season. And while we would love to see a little more volume from him (maybe he could have borrowed some from Caleb Johnson, who never seems to be in short supply), Sam still does an awesome job, and we don't just say this because we have an age-inappropriate crush on him. No, we can tell Sam's putting in that extra punch to create a stage presence, and for a guy who seems so shy and reserved, competing on a singing reality show is a huge stretch for him. The best news of all: J.Lo's "goosies" meter is off the charts.

CJ Harris
: "American Woman" — The Guess Who
We knew there was a spark in CJ, and tonight, we finally get to see it! The third performance of the night makes three flawless performances — and the judges have barely anything negative to say so far. Also, Ryan's "This is not the first time I've been called an American woman," remark? Please be our friend.

Alex Preston
: "Animal" — Neon Trees
This might be the first time we've heard something from Alex that wouldn't be appropriate for a Starbucks mixed CD. We don't love it as much as we do his slower songs, but Alex does it fine. It's just not our favorite performance from him, after seeing what he can do in the genre where he's most comfortable. Keith agrees, noting that he's not "dominating" the song the way that he should be and J.Lo echoes her fellow judge's sentiment. It's good, just not great.

Caleb Johnson
: "Sting Me" — The Black Crowes
We almost don't even want to see Caleb's rock performance, because this is a no-brainer for him. He'll knock it out of the park. And, of course, he does. We're so ready to see him go country — fingers crossed he doesn't turn it into a rock song. That's gotta be against the rules or something, right?

Jess Meuse
: "Somebody to Love" — Jefferson Airplane
Jess' is made for this song, but she just stands at the mic with the guitar in her hand and sings. Where's the stage presence and audience connection? We want to see both of those things from Jess. She did try to dance, but we want more from her! Not necessarily a full on production, but just something. Harry loves what he's seeing from her, but Keith is like us: He wants more release.

Sam Woolf
: "You're Still The One" — Shania Twain
Keith is in his heyday as the theme clicks over to country. Sam's starting it off with a little Shania, and he does an awesome job. How adorable is this guy?! He is giving us life. We want to hug him. Suddenly, we are so jealous of these girls whose hands he's grabbing. We thought no one could ever take our hearts away from Harry, but Sam might just beat him out for our affections before this competition is through.

Caleb Johnson
: "Undo It" — Carrie Underwood
Trust Caleb to choose one of Carrie's loudest songs! The judges acknowledge that this song wasn't as good as his earlier "magic" performance, but how could anything compete with what Caleb's best at? As Harry says, his country attempt sounds "forced," but why shouldn't it be? He's stuck to his forte all along, and it's served him well. P.S. Happy birthday, Caleb!

Alex Preston
: "Always on My Mind" — Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson is a great choice for Alex's departure into country and his voice shines through the entire song. We love this so much more than Alex's earlier performance. Whether Alex wins the whole thing or not, we're looking forward to his inevitable album release. We never would have expected this kind of talent from him during auditions, but we're so glad it's what we've gotten to see all season. "I feel very lucky to have heard you do that in the competition tonight," says Harry, an amazing compliment for a guy who doesn't tend to give out compliments very often.

Jena Irene Asciutto
: "So Small" — Carrie Underwood
We're predisposed to think anything and everything Jena does will instantly translate to musical genius, so we like Jena's cover of "So Small" before we even hear it. But when we do hear it, it just emphasizes the fact that her voice gives her an awesome opportunity: to make just about any song she performs sound like something brand new. She's stressing about a tiny mess-up toward the end, but the judges love it. Keith calls her "everything that Idol is all about." Is it too early to say she's totally gonna win? Our money is on her.

CJ Harris
: "Whatever It Is" — Zac Brown Band
OK, we totally expected to feel the opposite, but why is it that we like CJ's earlier rock performance better than his country one? Maybe because we've seen how much energy CJ can bring to a performance, so we were hoping to see it again here? Maybe not, but his voice (and staying in key) just don't work for us in this song.

Jess Meuse
: "Jolene" — Dolly Parton
Jess is made to sing this song but she's got some big cowboy boots to fill. Keith says she doesn't quite make it and hates the arrangement, but the audience (of course) boos him. Harry likes the fact that Jess decided to take a little risk, and J.Lo? She thinks the vocal is really strong, and that she really comes through with those emotions.

Think you know who's going home after tonight's performances? Tell us in the comments!

04.23.2014 / 12:00 AM EDT by Nicole Pomarico
Related: American Idol, Features, Recaps, TV, American Idol Season 13

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