American Idol 2014 Recap: Season 13 Top 9 Perform — March 26, 2014
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2014 FOX Broadcasting Co.    

American Idol

American Idol 2014 Recap: Season 13 Top 9 Perform — March 26, 2014

Here we are, fellow American Idol fans: officially into single digits for Season 13! Hard to believe? We think so too but here we be.

Last week we said our goodbyes to contestant MK Nobilette and while we totally saw (and still see) star power in the San Francisco homegirl, we'll admit she was a bit too camera shy to make it far on a show like Idol. Still, best of luck in your future musical endeavors, MK!

Now on to this week and the performances of Top 9. The wannabe winners are performing with the Idol band tonight as led by well-known musician Rickey Minor. This season the work between Rickey and Co. and the contestants hasn't always been the smoothest as the newbies get use to the pros and cons of having a live band as backing.

What does that mean for tonight's performances? Anything could happen but bet your biscuits judge and well-known big band enthusiast Harry Connick, Jr will have plenty to say. Also expect most of HCJ's technical jargon to go right over fellow judge Jennifer Lopez's head as Keith Urban smiles politely on the other side.

The action begins tonight at 8 p.m. and will last for two whole hours on Fox. Then, tomorrow night (March 27), prepare for the very first 30-minute results episode of the season. It'll be quick and dirty and also probably heartbreaking and sad. We're ready if you are!

Live Recap Starts Here!

This week's theme, "I'm With The Band," is the Top 9's shot to show their stuff. Now that the pool of contestants has officially been narrowed down to single digits, competition is about to get seriously fierce — and we don't mean those glasses Harry's wearing tonight. Dude looks good!

In keeping with the theme, Fall Out Boy is here to mentor the gang about working together with a band and touring — valuable info, considering we'll see everyone (plus MK Nobilette) on the official Idol tour this summer in arenas across the country.

Unfortunately, we're not crazy impressed with their performance of FOB's "Light 'Em Up," but hey, it's not like these people have been performing together as a band all along. Besides, they've got plenty of time to get their act together before they hit the road — and when they go solo, this crop of contestants put on quite a show.

Alex Preston
: "Don't Speak" — No Doubt
Alex Preston is the first contestant up to perform, and he gives us a very Jason Mraz-esque rendition of No Doubt's "Don't Speak." Slowing it way down and even drumming on his guitar, the song is barely recognizable from the original. But will the judges be impressed by Alex's willingness to make the song his own? Though they usually fall head-over-heels for Alex's unique renditions, they aren't quite blown away tonight. Sure, they love his vibe and the interesting tone of his voice... but now they're just waiting to see him take one step further.

Majesty Rose
: "Shake It Out" — Florence and The Machine
The Top 9 are on a roll so far tonight, because Majesty just gave what we consider one of her best performances all season. Not only did she finally look at home on the Idol stage, but her voice sounded amazing. Note to Majesty: This is your style of music. You have found it.

Dexter Roberts
: "Boondocks" — Little Big Town
Dexter's keeping it country — a wise decision after seeing others crash and burn when they strayed from the area of music they're really good at. As usual, he brings the house down — but he would have brought the house even more down had he moved around on stage instead of staying posted up behind his mic. (But that's just our humble opinion.) As he has pretty much every week before, Harry advises him to start putting his own twist on the songs so they don't sound so generic.

Malaya Watson
: "The Long and Winding Road" — The Beatles
Malaya packs her performance with a lot of performance — and her big voice, as always — but she doesn't seem to be eliciting much of a response from the audience. The judges, however, really liked her performance, especially the control she showed that allowed her voice to stand out.

Sam Woolf
: "Hey There Delilah" — Plain White Ts
Sam definitely has the best stage so far — those string lights? Swoon. But as far as performances go, Sam's is a little lackluster. Is it a crime for us to want to see a little movement?! Fortunately, the girls in the crowd are going absolutely crazy for him anyway (duh)... and J.Lo seemed to really like it. While we agree that the stripped-down, acoustic style is a winner for Sam, we wish we'd see him become more of an entertainer.

Jess Meuse
: "Rhiannon" — Fleetwood Mac
Jess is getting her Stevie Nicks on tonight, since that's who the judges compare her to most. Jess stayed pretty mellow throughout the performance, this time giving us a lot more intensity and a bigger connection to what she was singing. It's something the judges have been looking for from the start, adding that they're now starting to see a different, more confident side of her.

CJ Harris: "If It Hadn't Been For Love" — The SteelDrivers
It's CJ's turn at the mic, all smiles and sporting a classy hat to boot. He makes working with a band look easy — and we've gotta admit, he makes an awesome frontman. While the judges always praise him on his voice, they can't deny that it isn't his strongest performance. J.Lo notes that he got off track in the middle of the song, while Harry again tells him he needs to work on his pitch.

Caleb Johnson
: "Dazed & Confused" — Led Zeppelin
Tonight, Caleb is In. The. Zone. He once again wows the crowd by rocking out, which is exactly what he was born to do. J.Lo's visibly pumped as she jumps up and down in her seat — and we're guessing if you're looking for any reaction from the judges, this is the one you want. The crowd loves it, the judges love it. Even Harsh Harry admits that Caleb couldn't have performed it any better than he did. (Yes, he really said that.)

Jena Irene Asciutto
: "Bring Me to Life" — Evanescence
Jena is kicking it old school with Evanescence as she finishes out the show, and we can't believe we didn't realize how Amy Lee her voice sounds until now! As to be expected from Jena, she totally knocks it out of the park. This time, Idol producers really did save the best for last!

While just about everybody kicked some serious butt tonight, one of them won't make it to next week's round of performances. Who will it be? We find out tomorrow night!

03.26.2014 / 12:00 AM EDT by Nicole Pomarico
Related: American Idol, Features, Recaps, TV, American Idol Season 13

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