The Idol contestants returned to their hometowns during the past week. Next week is the finale. Tonight consists of three rounds. Round 1 picks will be the choices of Scott Borchetta. Round 2 will be the hometown dedications. Round 3 will be the judges’ picks.
Round 1–Scott Borchetta Picks the Song
Rayvon performs first. Scott chose “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo. It sounded a bit breathless doing all the falsetto which made him sound out of tune sometimes. It was nice though seeing him do an up-tempo song after so many ballads. I wasn’t sure about all the whooping noises he was doing. All in all I enjoyed it quite a bit. Keith thought it was such a great song choice for him. Jennifer thought it was perfect for his tone. Harry thought it was the best he has done on an up-tempo song. And then I heard singing coming from somewhere and Keith Urban decided to continue singing.
Clark’s song this week from Scott is “Beautiful Day” by U2. I liked his spiky hair. I got goosebumps. I haven’t gotten that from Clark in a long time. THIS is why you need to listen to people more experienced than you Clark. And it looked like he had FUN! Jennifer said Scott is 2 for 2 and she thought Clark did a really good job with it and it was a really good performance. Harry thought it was pretty good. Harry thought he needed to keep the emotion throughout the entire song. For example, he delivered the smile when he got to the chorus but he wasn’t getting the same vibe from the verses. Keith thought he should have risen up a little bit to the band. He hit the three-mile mark but needed to deliver the whole song.
Scott chose “Because the Night” by Bruce Springsteen for Nick. Major GOOSEBUMPS! I loved it!!!!! Harry thought it was fantastic. Keith said he looks forward to hearing his voice every week. Jennifer said she cannot stress enough about connection to a song. It was the perfect song. He sang it great and they felt the energy but she just wanted more of a connection to the lyrics.
The song picked for Jax was “My Generation” by The Who. I love that she understands the performance aspect of it. It was fabulous. She WORKS that stage! I think she wins this round. Keith was woo-hoo-ing. Keith said it was friggin’ awesome. When she went up to the key change that is when the song exploded. That was her best performance right there. Jennifer 100% agreed. It was the perfect song for her. She had the whole audience with her. She had her with her and Keith and Harry. She killed that. Harry said she absolutely made the most of her opportunity there. It makes his heart happy. She is listening; she is growing. By far it was the best performance she has done.
Jennifer called Jax the winner of round 1.
Round 2: Hometown Dedications
The first featured contestant is Nick. Jennifer wiped a tear from her eye at the end of the footage. On stage back at Idol, he is singing “Back Home” by Andy Grammer. I bet you Harry will talk about wanting him to sing a bit more in the pocket. He got the audience involved. It was nice. Jennifer said it was another great song from him. Harry said sometimes a critique isn’t warranted and these are one of those cases. It was very strong again. Keith loved it too.
Next up is Clark. The hometown dedication is Otis Redding “(Sittin’ On) The Dock on the Bay.” The song had a good vibe and the very end was nice, but I am thinking that even with his fabulous voice, he doesn’t have that extra oomph that Jax has and Nick has now becoming comfortable with. Harry said he liked the video because he got to know him. He thought it was a nice performance. Keith said it still needs that little bit of something to make him feel. It had too much veneer and not enough angst. Jennifer thought this was his soul and it was a really good performance. She felt his heart on it.
Rayvon‘s hometown visit was showcased next. The hometown dedication song is “As” by Stevie Wonder. No goosebumps but it was entertaining. Keith said the song was effortless. Jennifer said the way he looked and how he was singing all sounded perfect to her. Harry said that when he saw him singing and dancing at the school in the hometown piece, that is what he wanted to see. He looked great up there. To see him mesh the vocals, the joy and the musicality–that really did it for him.
The last hometown visit belongs to Jax. She chose one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, “My Immortal” by Evanescence. I love Jax but this was not one of my favorites from her. Jennifer said she loved it. She thinks Jax has a humility and confidence about her that is integral to being a superstar. Harry says that he defers to what Jennifer said and it was fantastic. Keith didn’t get to talk at all.
Keith thinks that Rayvon took round 2.
Round 3: Judges’ Picks
The judges picked “Earned It” from the Soundtrack of Fifty Shades of Grey by Weeknd. They wanted Clark to do something modern in that bluesy tone. It sounded out of pitch at times especially when he sang “Girl you’re perfect.” By the end, however, I did get goosebumps. Harry said one of the things he could have done to make that better is to take whatever he found at the end of that song and infuse it into the rest of the song. If he can find that intensity (which does not mean loud but intense) he would have knocked it out of the park. Harry is booed. Keith said he heard, felt and saw things he hadn’t seen from Clark before. It was very good. Jennifer said there is the Weeknd version of it and then there is a Clark version of it. She thought he did a great job with it and she was really proud of him. Towards the end it got electric and that is what you want to feel from the very first moment. She did get the goosies at the end.
Rayvon was assigned “You Are So Beautiful” by the late Joe Cocker by the judges. I had goosebumps from the start–goosebumps up the wazoo. Keith said it was a beautiful song for him and a beautiful arrangement. Jennifer liked it too, but she wanted him to sing to his mom again because something else happens. There are just so many lyrics in the song and the only variation comes with emotion. It was a beautiful arrangement. Beautiful, silky voice as usual. Harry said he disagrees–he felt like Rayvon was singing it emotionally. The arrangement was really smart.
The judges chose “Misery Business” by Paramore for Jax. That was…odd. Keith said it was an unusual arrangement. She sang it phenomenally. He said if she was going to go with an acoustic then change the vocal arrangement. The band was acoustic and she was rocking it out. It didn’t mesh together for him. Jennifer said they picked it because it meshed with her personality but to pull it back that far, they were like, “What happened?” Harry said that one wasn’t as strong as the previous two. As the lead singer she needs to drive whatever is on stage but she was using Hafa the guitar player as a crutch. She was looking away from the audience when she needed to perform for the audience. Jennifer added it was the week before the finale and it was about stealing the show. She yelled at her,”JAX STEAL THE SHOW!”
Nick was given “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. A few goosebumps. It was decent. It was a great song for him. I still didn’t feel like he was singing it to anyone. Good solid performance, good solid vocal. I think it should be Jax, Rayvon and Nick in the final 3 because commercially speaking Nick will sell more records because of his unique sound. Clark is talented but his look is too clean cut. I could imagine him putting out a country CD or a gospel CD (I almost feel like him singing to God would tap into a deeper connection. Taylor Hicks had a bluesy vibe and although he went in to later success in Vegas, his CD was one of the worst selling. I don’t think bluesy is the way to go for him, especially with the market so saturated with Sam Smith. But back to Nick. Harry said that it was a good vocal but what was better is that he sang the underbelly of what those lyrics mean at least to him. Harry said he nailed that song. Keith said he pictures him as a rock singer/songwriter. If that was an original song and he cut it, that would be a hit. Jennifer said it was so perfect. It was amazing.
Harry thinks Nick won that round. (And Clark didn’t win any round).
Top 3 Revealed
And now for the announcement of the top 3. Nick is the first name called. Then…WHAT???? Clark! No, no, no. This is not right in so many ways. Now the final spot is between Rayvon and Jax. And it is Jax.
My words to Rayvon: The opportunities will present themselves and you will have to work your butt off but sometimes NOT winning is actually a blessing. You will have much more artistic freedom. Look at Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee, and Kellie Pickler. I cried at your farewell montage.
My words to Scott Borchetta: If you know what’s good for you, you will sign this talented young man.