American Idol Season XIII: Top 5

American Idol Season XIII is halfway to naming their new winner! Up until this week, we’ve said goodbye to MK Nobilette, Majesty Rose, Malaya Watson, Dexter Roberts, and C.J. Harris. Still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Top Model Idol are Alex Preston, Jessica Meuse, Sam Woolf, Jena Irene, and Caleb Johnson – a solid party of five, if you ask me. Here are what I believe to be the Top 5’s personal highlights thus far…

Alex Preston‘s “Fairytales” is the stuff that dreams are made of. As an American Idol first, contestants were granted the license to perform their own material during the voting rounds of the competition. The sensitive singer-songwriter jumped on the chance to perform his original song, which brings to the surface the troubadour’s creative, heart-on-your-sleeve style, reminiscent of his musical influences, Jason Mraz and Ed Sheeran.

Yet another original song comes from Jessica Meuse, the cool country-rock girl with a voice that’s like a mega mix of Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Christina Perri, and Lana Del Rey, (all of whom she’s covered on Idol) while still inherently all her own. Her “Blue-Eyed Lie” tells the honest truth about who she is – a badass musician with a knack for writing a killer tune!

Sam Woolf first captured America’s attention with his audition song, Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”, showcasing his perfect pitch and incredibly smooth and easy-to-listen-to vocal tone. When he reprised his performance for the live shows, he showed great improvement in his confidence and connection. Just ignore the random display of antique lamps in the background.

Jena Irene entered into the fray as a wildcard and has thus earned her place in the competition with her exciting stage presence, passionate piano-playing, and signature alt-rock/electronica sound (which is like a blend of Hayley Williams, Demi Lovato, and Katy Perry, interestingly enough). Her captivating cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” cemented her status as a contender for the crown.

Caleb Johnson is the resident rocker (of the classic rock/southern blues variety) who never fails to give you a damn good show every time he’s on. Only the very best Idols get the honour of performing Led Zeppelin on the show (an impressive roster which includes Adam Lambert, Haley Reinhart, and Elise Testone) and Caleb is definitely a worthy man by pulling off consistently awesome performances week after week. His “Dazed & Confused” is on a whole other level to anything else this season.

(For more comprehensive rundowns and reviews of this season’s performances, check out Andrew Rogers‘s American Idol series on The Hudsucker)

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