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'American Idol' Recap: Top 11 Contestants Tackle Movie Night

Andrew Payne Andrew Payne
March 13th, 2014 9:07am EDT
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American Idol

Last night's 'American Idol' finally answered the question what do the songs "Come Together," "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Bennie and the Jets" have in common? They're all from movies, of course!

Yes, movie night struck as loosely as possible on 'Idol' last night. Luckily, the contestants were up to the vague challenge...

Sam Woolf sang "Come Together" by The Beatles

Keith Said: You can loosen it up a little bit.

J-Lo Said: It's like baby rock star. We need big rock star.

Harry Said: It was an average performance, but you're on the way.

The Verdict:

Sam ditches the guitar, puts on a green Members Only Jacket and turns The Beatles into a Vegas Lounge act and, against every conceivable notion of reason, it all works!

Sam's weakest point has always been his voice. Well, if you ignore his guitar playing and inability to do anything but smile like a Howdy Doody Doll, it's been his singing. Despite that, he sounds pretty solid on this song - right in tune and with a surprise jazz flair to what he's doing. This was the first vocal he gave that was even interesting, and he outdid that by being quite good.

It's still a lounge act/cabaret version of a Beatles song. But a pretty good one.

GRADE: B-

Pink Hair sang "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

Keith Said: You need to explore the space a little bit.

J-Lo Said: It never got the groove all together.

Harry Said: The band was off, but you kept your focus. I thought it was a nice job.

The Verdict:

Pink Hair just doesn't want to win this show. She had the country-girl spot right in her fuchsia clutches and throws it away on a weekly basis.

Tonight, it's some sort of acoustic Tori Amos hybrid without the ability to sing in tune. She's in about five different keys as she muddles through this classic and is painfully sharp in all of them when she's not singing directly through her nose. Her vocals are just getting excruciating at this point.

At least she played three chords on her guitar so...that's pretty basic?

GRADE: D

CJ Harris sang "Can't You See" by The Marshall Tucker Band

Keith Said: It was killer, man.

J-Lo Said: I was celebrating the whole time because I'm so proud of you.

Harry Said: I think you just picked and sang your way back to the forefront of this competition.

The Verdict:

Absolutely perfect song choice for CJ. This is right in his blues-rock wheelhouse and, for the first time on the live shows, he doesn't disappoint.

In fact, CJ exceeds what he could have easily done with this song: deliver a solid performance in his lane. Instead, he takes the song to church and injects some soaring soul into the vocal as it develops. It's something of a revival onstage as he brings an abundant joy to the vocal that isn't there lyrically but seemed essential in the way CJ performed this song.

This is one of the best so far this season.

GRADE: A-

Dexter Roberts sang "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Keith Said: You gotta keep finding places to make it individual to you.

J-Lo Said: I think you're starting to believe that you can win too.

Harry Said: You have to be bigger than that song.

The Verdict:

It's gotten to the point where Dexter is just generic garbage. How more on-the-nose can he get than half-playing a boring cover of "Sweet Home Alabama"? It's just cliche on top of cliche at this point.

If those show's goal is to find a pop star, they're not doing it with Dexter. If this show's goal is to find a guy who can play the county fair circuit in the Deep South and have people smile through their beers, the Dexter's their man.

I have higher standards for this show.

GRADE: D

Ben Briley sang "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John

Keith Said: I'm wondering who you are as an artist.

J-Lo Said: I don't know that it suited who you are, but it was a good vocal performance.

Harry Said: It felt like a lackadaisical walk through the song.

The Verdict:

Ben is a brand new artist every single week. From Frat Boy, to Dixieland, to Rockabilly to now lounge act complete with baby grand, green suit and a slicked-back coif.

The crazy thing is that he keeps making it all work. He may look and sound like Zach Galifianakis in "The Campaign" and move like him a little bit, but that hasn't stopped him from turning into an 'Idol' chameleon whose every shade turns him into a more complete performer.

He keeps getting me excited to find out what he'll do next.

GRADE: B

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Photo Credits: FOX