"American Idol" Top 8 revisited the start of their journey on the show in the "Back to the Start"-themed week. On Wednesday, April 2, the remaining finalists performed the song they used for their initial audition for the judges. In addition to the solo performance, they would be paired for duets.
The show opened with Jessica Meuse singing an original, "Blue Eyed Lie". The judges raved over the performance, with Jennifer Lopez calling it "really perfect." Keith Urban said, "That was a great start to the show," and told her to move her whole body. Harry Connick Jr. compared her to early Cher and Nancy Sinatra, and disagreed with Keith about the body movement.
C.J. Harris sang "Soul Shine" by The Allman Brothers Band, which was far better than his initial performance. "That sounded so soulful and heart-full to me," J.Lo commented, while Harry praised C.J. for working on the issues that had plagued him.
After Jena Irene and Alex Preston's duet of "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink and Nate Reuss, Sam Woolf took the stage to sing Ed Sheeran's "Lego House". He slowed down the tempo this time. Harry gave some advice to connect more with audience, Keith said Sam's getting better each week, and J.Lo gushed that thay saw "a glimpse of the magic of Sam Woolf."
Jessica Meuse and Caleb Johnson teamed up for a cover of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty before Malaya Watson performed "Ain't No Way" by Aretha Franklin. She earned a standing ovation from Keith who praised her control. J.Lo said Malaya's "blossoming into this star."
Dexter Roberts went with "One Mississippi" by Brett Eldredge. "I got to hear so many little difference nuances that I hadn't heard in all these weeks, since we first met you," J.Lo excitedly commented. Harry also praised him while Keith suggested Dexter to pay less attention to the sound of his voice and more to communicating the lyric.
Malaya Watson and Sam Woolf did Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz's "Lucky" for their duet, followed by Jena Irene's performance of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". She slowed it down and Keith loved the bold arrangement. Harry, meanwhile, hinted that Jena wasn't the best singer as he reminded her how tough the competition is getting.
C.J. Harris and Dexter Roberts covered "Alright" by Darius Rucker before Caleb Johnson sang a rock version of Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools". "You are a blues warrior, you are a soul conqueror, you, Caleb, are a rock 'n' roll Viking," Keith gushed. J.Lo had nothing but praise, but Harry told him to do something not so loud, just once. "All the great rock singers ... there were times in their careers where they did something softly," he explained.
Alex Preston with his original song "Fairytales" ended the show. J.Lo enjoyed it so much that she almost forgot to comment. She loved that he stayed true to himself. Harry also praised him, saying, "You were shaking that vibrato out."