American Idol S15 The End…Or Not?

9 04 2016

And the winner is…….

I’m just kidding. There are 2+ hours of filler before we find out who wins the very last spot as an American Idol.

President Obama made a speech at the beginning in a pitch to get people to vote and exercise their rights as citizens to vote in elections.

The opening number included Idol contestants from previous seasons. My mind instantly went to one Idol who will there be in spirit, Michael Johns. His death was so sad. The song started with the top 3 of this season and then moved out of to the broader focus that included all the contestants from this season. Then more contestants. I recognized Nick Fradiani, Diana DeGarmo, Katharine McPhee, Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon, (was that David Archuletta, too, next to him), Taylor Hicks, Chris Daughtry, Allison Iraheta, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Ace Young, James Durbin, Carly Smithson, Jasmine Trias (from season 3 who wore a flower in her hair), Bo Bice, Scotty McCreery, and Caleb Johnson. I am sure there are others I will see and be shocked at how much they’ve changed (like Bo Bice).   Tonight I believe more often than not we will be saying to ourselves, “Oh yeah, whatever happened to” fill in the blank.

Brian Dunkleman, the co-host of season 1, joined as a surprise guest, a nice book-end to the beginning of Idol history. But the jokes he continued making got old and they didn’t get many laughs in the audience. Awkward.

Trent and La’Porsha teamed up to sing “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston with pictures of their journey this season playing behind them.

Season 10 and 11 judge Steven Tyler began a series of retrospectives of their participation in Idol. Later Nicki Minaj shared her wishes. Notably absent was diva Mariah CareyEllen DeGeneres sent a video.

Former seasons 8 and 9 judge Kara DioGuardi performed and I wished she hadn’t. She is a better songwriter than singer.   Also among the people in this medley segment were Colton Dixon from season 11; a duet with season 1’s Justin Guarini and season 6’s Jordin Sparks; season 2’s Kimberley Locke; Tamyra Gray (season 1); Allison Iraheta (season 8); Larry Platt from season 9 (“Pants on the Ground” song fame but was never a contestant); finally ending with Pia Toscano (season 10). Sanjaya was spotted in the audience in a “Where’s Sanjaya” segment.  Glad he didn’t sing.

When Kelly Clarkson was visiting a few weeks back as a mentor, since she was pregnant and it was unlikely she could attend the show, she pre-recorded a montage of all her most popular hits. It showcased why we love her and the show that served as a gateway to all the music she brought to our lives. The medley ended with the song that started it all, “A Moment Like This.

Male Idol rockers did a medley of songs. The members included Bo Bice from season 4 (the biggest physical appearance change I have seen yet this evening); Caleb Johnson from season 13; Constantine Maroulis (season 4); James Durbin (season 10); and Chris Daughtry (season 5).

Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood (season 4) joined forces to sing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” originally by Stevie Nicks featuring Tom Petty (Tom Petty actually wrote the song). I wish Carrie would have had a crossover rock career. When Carrie sang rock songs on Idol season 4, they were my favorite and had me looking at her like a winner.

Next was a country medley of songs starting off with Diana DeGarmo (season 3); Skylar Laine (season 11) who wasn’t sounding so great; Kree Harrison (season 12) who I loved during her season also sounded not so great either (you were pitchy dawg). They were then joined by the boys are of country Bucky Covington (season 5); Ace Young of season 5 (who is married to Diana DeGarmo); and confusingly Constantine Maroulis (season 4). Constantine filled in for Josh Gracin who declined their invitation because he didn’t want to sing a medley of covers with other contestants (per his report on tasteofcountry.com). Then Lauren Alaina (season 10) and Kellie Pickler (season 5) came on stage. Lastly Scotty McCreery (season 10) came out.

Harry Connick Jr presented a very emotional segment along with his friend, Marley Fletcher, from The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in the heart of the 9th Ward in New Orleans to sing “What a Wonderful World.”

He then introduced some of the best singers Idol has had on center stage.   Katharine McPhee (season 5) and Casey James (be still my heart from season 9) singing a duet; Carly Smithson (season 7) doing a solo; Clay Aiken (season 2) doing a solo; Ruben Studdard (season 2) and Amber Holcomb (season 12) doing a duet; and finishing up with Jessica Sanchez (season 11) in a solo of ‘The Prayer” where the others joined at the end.

Jennifer Lopez sizzled up the stage with her new song “Ain’t Your Mama.”   I would have loved to see that in person. That was stellar. And she ended with “Let’s Get Loud” to get Idol pumped up, the perfect halftime song. This whole thing left me breathless.

Season 3 ladies Latoya London, Fantasia, and Jennifer Hudson performed a trio “Bridge Over Troubled Water. Jennifer Hudson sang a solo of her song from Empire “Remember the Music.Brandon Rogers (season 6), Clark Beckham (season 14), George Huff (season 3), Danny Gokey (season 8), and Elliott Yamin (season 5) banded together to sing a medley of Motown hits.

Fantasia came back to do some of her song, “Ugly.” Latoya London (season 3) came back on stage with Taylor Hicks (season 5) “Knew You Were Waiting for Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. Season 11 Joshua Ledet took the stage; wow he looks fantastic. He sang “It’s a Man’s World” by James Brown. He rocked that stage!   And more Idol joined in. Candice Glover (season 12) and Melinda Doolittle (season 6) along with a variety of other Idols including many of the season 15 contestants to sing “Joy to the World.” Even Harry Connick Jr was up dancing.

A tribute to David Bowie was done featuring Idol winners Phillip Phillips (season 11), Lee DeWyze (season 9), Nick Fradiani (season 14), David Cook (season 7) and Kris Allen (season 8) which included Bowie’s hits “Starman” from 1972, “Rebel Rebel” from 1974, and “The Jean Genie” from 1972.

Next was a playback of the worst or funniest auditions or moments during the early years with Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Ryan Seacrest including that awful Simon and Paula kiss. Randy and Paula came on stage and of course you were just waiting for Simon to make a “surprise” appearance. Paula and Randy gifted Ryan with the American Idol sign that Ryan will put it on his nightstand. Simon didn’t have a black T-shirt on. He dressed up for the occasion. Fatherhood looks good on him. And just when you thought the surprises were over out pops the non-surprise, William Hung who performed “She Bangs.” He ultimately released an album which sold 200,000 copies and made it to number one on Billboard’s Top Independent Album chart. He now works for the LA Sheriff’s Department as a technical crime analyst. Ryan Seacrest did a little dancing with him on stage.

Contestants throughout the 15 years shared how much they loved doing the Ford video segments. Trent and La’Porsha received keys to their cars for this year.

Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood sang her song “Something in the Water.”   She got tearful when talking to Ryan Seacrest.

Now it is time to learn who is the winner is of the very last American Idol. The winner is TRENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am just as shocked as he was. With everyone chanting La’Porsha’s name in the audience the night before I felt certain the win was hers. He deserves it just as much as she did but I thought it was hers. I thought Trent was going to pass out. Jennifer pointed to Keith as if she was saying, “you called it.” Jennifer looked shocked and Harry looked shocked too and mouthed “wow” to Jennifer. Trent was sweet when he said that La’Porsha pushed him during the competition.

Ryan Seacrest then signs off the show by saying, “We say to you from Hollywood, goodnight America.” The room goes dark and you hear him say “for now.”   For now? What the hell does that mean? Do they think in 10 years from now, they’ll bring back like X-Files for a limited event? Let American Idol die in peace and go out on a high. They weren’t going out on tour for that very reason so what makes them think bring the show back is “going out on a high?”

I heard later on during the Twitterfest that the producers were going to shop the show to another network. If this is true, it is a mistake. American Idol is forever associated with Fox Broadcasting and to try to resurrect it as the same show or anything that has the name American Idol even if it is in a different format, is just a mistake. American Idol had a great run but like all things, they come to an end, and so should this.

Thank you American Idol for the many years of entertainment; you will live on in television legend.  Guess I will need to get back to blogging about other things, too.





American Idol S15 The Final Final 2 Perform

7 04 2016

I can’t believe this is the last performance show ever for American Idol. The top three took the stage to sing “At Least We Stole the Show” by Kygo (or at least a bit of it). I wish I could be there. I enjoyed the season 10 finale which I was so fortunate to attend thanks to Fox Broadcasting via the Fox VIP program.

Winner’s Single

Trent was up first singing “Falling” by Trent Harmon. I guess Keith Urban already knows the words to the song because he was lip syncing the words as Trent was singing. I like this song so much better than both song choices last year. This is just crazy awesome. At this point in the competition unless the contestants have just major issues, they are all going to be great. The judges do not comment during this round.

The song for Dalton Rapattoni is “Strike a Match.” He found his fire again. I could hear this on the radio tomorrow. It was fabulous. He said he couldn’t feel his feet. I bet!

La’Porsha Renae’s song is “Battles.” This could be her anthem song. Anthem songs do really well for sales.

They all did really well with their individual songs, but based on what I liked lyrical wise, I would have to say La’Porsha’s song, then Dalton’s, then Trent’s. Performance wise I would have to say La’Porsha, Trent, and then Dalton.

Top 2 Revealed

They all came from the Little Rock auditions. But who makes it through? The first person through is La’Porsha (as if there was any doubt). Trent gets the final spot. I think Dalton already knew. But someone will sign Dalton quickly. He has a lot of pop appeal. If someone doesn’t sign him, they are just plain stupid. The winner is….from Mississippi! And I think both people will win because they are crazy good and labels would be stupid not to give the runner-up a contract.

Simon Fuller’s Picks

Trent sang “If You Don’t Know By Now” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. He messed up the lyrics “that we’ve been through” turned out “that we’ve been do.” I chalk that up to nerves. This is a good song for him. It has a lot of soul and I see him in an R&B/country fusion of some kind. Keith said it is extraordinary to see how far he has come in the competition. He thinks it will be the closest race in Idol history. Jennifer said it was amazing. Harry said he is happy that Trent is here.

La’Porsha answered with “A House is Not a Home” by Dionne Warwick. It was so fantastic. Goosebumps!! Jennifer said it is one of her top 5 songs of all time. Now we have the La’Porsha version; it was so beautiful. Harry thought it was the most complex piece of music she has ever done this entire season and told him a lot. It moved him. Keith said he doesn’t even smoke and he felt like he needed a cigarette. It was beautiful and smoldering. It was the perfect song choice.

Ryan asked Jennifer which one if she had to choose, for this round, who would it be. Jennifer thought La’Porsha edged out Trent during this round.

Contestants’ Choice

Trent Harmon chose “Chandelier” by Sia to sing again and it sounded just as wonderful as the first time. He became very emotional knowing this is the final song on which he would be judged. Harry thought it was really, really strong. If he was going to do anything to make it the hardest decision on Idol, this song was the choice. Keith added that for some people, he might have made it a really easy decision. His vocal transition from chest to voice to falsetto is so gorgeous. Jennifer said that from the very beginning she saw something very special in him and he would be in the last two. He deserves it. Trent showed them a book he kept of everything each one of them had ever told him and wrote it down.

La’Porsha Renae picked “Diamonds” by Rihanna. Insane goosebumps. The crowd started chanting her name and she was overcome with emotion. Keith thought it was amazing, a beautiful job. Jennifer said watching her up there sing that song–she has handled every performance effortlessly. She can’t wait to go to a show of hers and see her let loose. She is going to be there. And Harry said Jennifer can ride with him. He had nothing to say; it was incredible.

So the last critique ever from an Idol judge (Harry) was “I have nothing to say about that performance; it was incredible.”





American Idol S15 Top 3 Revealed

6 04 2016

Hometown Dedications

MacKenzie Bourg travelled to Layfette, Louisiana. The song he chose was “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. I thought it was beautiful but it didn’t give me goosebumps at all as some who sang this song in the past have done. Keith said it was such a great song for him. It was superb. Jennifer said it was a really strong performance. Classic MacKenzie. Harry agrees. It was a singular and powerful performance that shows how he has really grown.

Dalton Rapattoni returned to Dallas, Texas. First a stop at his grandmother’s salon, and then to Rockwell where he works at School of Rock. He reminds me so much of the Adam Lambert star quality. Adam didn’t win, and look how far he has gone. Dalton needs to remember that in case he doesn’t get to the final 2. He might. He certainly has the fan base. But Trent and La’Porsha are hard vocalists to beat. He chose “Calling You” by Blue October. I really enjoyed it. It was really unique. I wasn’t familiar with the song, but I really liked it. Jennifer said watching his hometown visit it finally sank in. She felt like there was a change in his performance because he realized he could possibly win. She felt a freedom in this song. Harry said he liked the arrangement that he picked. He likes the way he thinks about the words and he thinks about the whole performance. Keith said he is so in his zone and the best Daltonization he could have done with that song.

The next hometown visit was Trent Harmon to Amory, Mississippi. He had everyone sit so he could be their server in their family’s restaurant. Then on to his high school and the auditorium where he did a lot of musical theater. That was followed by a tractor ride down Main Street.   There were a lot of people who showed up.   The song he is dedicating to his hometown is “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton. I definitely got goosebumps with this song. Trent has such an amazing instrument and knows how to manipulate it. Just a reminder, I don’t like country music, and this gave me goosebumps. So there you go. Harry said what he is best at is arcing the performances. He thought it was a fantastic performance. Keith said it was a bulls-eye. Jennifer said he is getting his stride right now at the right time.

La’Porsha Renae went back to McComb, Mississippi. I just love that the final four are from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. She went to her church and the kids singing touched her heart. She next went to Wings Domestic Violence Center where she touched these women’s hearts and lift them up. And finally to her mom’s home to see her family and her child. Then the parade where her daughter was on her lap and waving at the crowd. Her daughter is a star in the making like her mama. The song dedicated to her hometown is “Glory” by Common & John Legend. I know she is going to slay it. MAJOR goosebumps. Keith was on his feet. Keith said it was so strong and pure. He had tears in his eyes. Jennifer said she is picking great songs. It was a great performance. Harry said many of her performances are in the critique-proof categories. He said there is an incredible elegance and grace which is important to see in a young woman like herself.

Final 3 Revealed

Trent Harmon is the first name to be called. The second is Dalton Rapattoni. Which leaves MacKenzie and La’Porsha. At that point, MacKenzie already concedes and La’Porsha tells him to stop it. But MacKenzie is right. Daughtry came in fourth, MacKenzie. Work as hard as he did, and you’ll go far. Thank you for your music and I have always loved your original song.

Scott Borchetta’s Choices

For Dalton, Scott chose “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen because Dalton’s strengths have a rock edge. He started the song slow and then it turned into some kind of alternate rock high-octane thing. I think I would have liked for him to pull someone up to dance with him just as a kind of nod to Bruce’s video. Keith mentioned Courtney Cox thing. Jennifer said his gift is taking lyrics and really making them feel them. It sounded fresh and new to her all over again. Harry said it sounded like some English new wave. It was an interesting arrangement. Harry loved it. His ability to take a lyric and make it his own trumps any lack of vocal ability he may have. Keith agrees. He did really good tonight.

Scott picked “Stay With Me” by Lorraine Ellison for La’Porsha. This song is kind of ironic for her. I don’t ever see her begging a man to stay with her after all she has been through. She blew it out of the water, but there was an emotional wall there. I don’t think I’m imagining it either.   Harry said she slowed down her vibrato again. Harry asked her why she didn’t like the song when Scott recommended it. And I was right. She told Harry she wasn’t going to sing a song where a woman was begging a man to stay. Harry said it was the first time he saw a slight veneer over it. Keith said the vocal killed it. Jennifer said she could see why they recommended it because she sang the heck out of it.

Justin Timberlake for the first time in Idol history gave permission to use one of his songs and Scott chose “Drink You Away” for Trent. It was FABULOUS!!!! Jennifer was on her feet for that one. Keith said “what was the guitar for” because he didn’t need it. Jennifer said that was singing to win. Harry said when the background singers start standing up and clapping, that says something.

Judge Performance

Keith Urban performed his new song “Wasted Time.”   This man can make me a country music fan.   I enjoyed that.

Judges’ Picks

For Dalton, the judges chose Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”   He started out in the audience and that created a lot of happy smiles from the audience. It was decent. I have a hard time listening to this song done by anyone but the original artists. Jennifer asked if he went lower on the key because at times she felt it was too low and it lost some of the brightness in that rendition of it. Harry liked how he reharmonized the tune. He had two strong performances tonight and he could go into why this one wasn’t, but he won’t.   Keith feels the same. Keith said he would have taken up the key a little bit more just because there is a buzz thing that happens when it is in the key it was meant to be in. When you take it down, and people who don’t know anything about music know that something is wrong but all they know is that the energy has dropped somehow. He felt he could have kept it in the key it was in.

La’Porsha was given a huge challenge to see what she could do with “Hello” by Adele to make it different. I had goosebumps. I worried at the beginning when it sounded like it might be a little too low for her, but it was just a temporary place and she sang it. Harry said he can imagine what a great performance that was but he was so distracted by the beautiful baby in his arms (her daughter). He said it was beautiful. Jennifer said it stretched her range a bit but it is nice to hear her kind of reach a bit. Keith said it was beautiful.

Trent closed out the show with “Waiting Game” by Parson James. Yep goosebumps. He has an amazing falsetto. I loved it. Keith said it was tailor made for him. Jennifer got goosies. He killed it. Harry said nice job. He isn’t sure if this is the last critique on American Idol – he thinks so – and if so it is an honor to critique a guy like him who is an extraordinary talent. He thought it was a beautiful performance. He added that it was an extraordinary night for everyone and he has to remind everyone that if they love one of these four [I think he means three] vote because they are not going to make it if they do. Jennifer said they were three very strong performances tonight. And Harry corrected himself about three not four.

Ryan congratulated everyone who has worked on the show the past 15 years.  Next week is a show retrospective, the final 2 artists perform and then Thursday is the final American Idol winner with lots of surprises.





American Idol S15 Top 4 Revealed

26 03 2016

I’ll have to catch up another time with last week’s Idol. I did see Tristan McIntosh was the one to go home. My life is insane right now during tax time.

Legendary Steven Van Zandt mentored the contestants this week. The first contestant through to the final 4 comes as no surprise – La’Porsha Renae. I LOVE her new hairdo. Now she looks like a rock star. They have to sing hard-rock songs this week. She chose Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” I don’t think there is anything she cannot sing. She is amazing. Keith said she killed it. She brought out the blue undertones of the song and it was really good. Jennifer said her voice is so undeniable she could sing the phone book. Harry says her ability as a singer transcends every genre. Her vibrato was in time and he had never heard anyone do that before.

MacKenzie Bourg chose “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. He started out a little pitchy. I like that he tried to do something different with the song, but there were sections where the band swallowed him up. But his pitch problems remained throughout the song. Jennifer is not sure if she liked how he “MacKenzied” it. It wasn’t as exciting as she wanted it to be. Harry thought it was alright. His vocal was fine but it wasn’t one of his favorite ones. Keith hated the arrangement.

David Cook returned to the Idol stage to sing “Heartbeat.” I really liked it. The beginning of the song though sounded like bits and pieces of his other songs.

Trent Harmon made it through to the final four. He chose “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. The first verse was very Louisiana deep-blues sounding.  He kept the chorus familiar for the audience. I loved everything about this. Jennifer and Keith were on their feet. Harry said he was so content with the groove in the beginning. In concert, he could have sung the same song twice. It was really smart. Keith said it was so freaking good. At this point they need a song to show off their attributes and it was a 10 out of 10. Jennifer said she has been waiting for him to have this performance. It was perfect.

Sonika and Dalton stood together to hear the results of the final person who makes it through to the top 4. I hope it is Dalton. AND IT IS!!!!!! He was going to sing one song, but it never really came together so he went with his backup song, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. This is NOT a hard rock song. After what I saw with Trent, this is kind of anticlimactic. For me to say that is tough because I’m a big Dalton fan. Keith said it was as pure as it gets. Jennifer said it is great that he took the advice. It was a really good moment for him. Harry said this one was the most complex harmonically and vulnerability. It wasn’t about a strong vocal but for him to get completely into the lyrics and he did that.

Katharine McPhee returned to sing “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland.

Sia was the mentor in the second half of the show. I enjoyed getting to know her more on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

La’Porsha is up first. Sia was blown away by La’Porsha’s rendition of her song “Diamonds” on a previous show. She chose “Elastic Heart” tonight. I loved the drum accompaniment, too. I loved it. Jennifer said she feels like she isn’t doing a job anymore. It’s so nice to watch. She has grown. Harry asked her if she sang in her head voice before and she said no. He says he feels like he is a passenger in a NASCAR seat when she sings. Keith said it is beautiful to come in with raw talent turn into a performer. He feels like he is at an award show watching her do an original song.

MacKenzie chose “Titanium.” I liked this song better than the first-round song. He took Sia’s advice and went for the falsetto for the high note on the first go-round and then took the note down later. Harry said it was nice. He gave him advice not to make it about a single note. Keith liked it as a singer/songwriter moment. Jennifer said there is more that he can do with his voice. Life doesn’t begin until you are out of your comfort zone.

Sia performed “Cheap Thrills.” She is such a performance artist with the dancers who work with her and how she presents in her songs in such a unique way.

Trent chose “Chandelier.” Wow. I really loved what he did to this song. I had goosebumps, more than Sia’s goosebumps on her legs. These were full-body goosebumps. I’m speechless. He has had a stellar evening with two fantastic songs. Keith thought it was beautiful. It played to everything he has that is so special to him. It was exquisite and he loved every minute of it. Jennifer said the voice is consistent but the wardrobe is like two. Harry thought it was phenomenal. He felt Trent was completely in another world with that. He gives it a 100 out of 100. (Wow, you can’t get higher praise than that).

Geeze, Dalton. I would hate to follow that. Dalton chose “Bird Set Free.” They discussed how they are both bipolar. It was a touching moment. I got goosebumps. That was a great performance for him. He was so emotional and I started crying with him. Jennifer said it is beautiful to watch him. He touches their hearts but especially tonight. Harry said this song was the best match up. He sure liked it. Keith said he is up against some insane singers, but he is always pushing through his limitations. It’s so inspiring.

I think Trent, La’Porsha and Dalton deserve the top 3. I have enjoyed MacKenzie’s work, but his growth hasn’t been as much as the others and I really haven’t seen him take risks other than try to make songs different acoustically. Also, I don’t see him as a book-end to Kelly Clarkson to close out American Idol.





American Idol S15 Top 6 Revealed

11 03 2016

There are just a few weeks away until the very last show of American Idol ever. Tonight they will perform a solo and then will be paired up in a duet with another contestant. Five contestants will go through based on America’s vote. The judges will hear the bottom 3 sing and then choose who will go through.

(Please note:  I write this as the show is on so I’m switching from past and present tense a lot).

Duets

La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon were paired up for a duet with “See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth.     She sounds a little different on this type of song. She started sounding a little nasal, but it worked itself out. I was not surprised that Trent was doing the falsetto part. What a powerhouse duo they make! I loved it. Keith said it was a great way to open the show. It was the perfect song that played to both strengths individually and equally. It was collaborative and great. Jennifer thought what a pair they made. It was magical. Harry said you couldn’t ask for a better way of opening the show.

Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid chose “Rise Up” by Andra Day. They were matched pretty equally vocally but I think Avalon brought the performance. Sonika has improved since Hollywood week. Avalon has a bit more experience in the performance arena. It was lovely. Jennifer said their voices are both so angelic and they were pushing each other to be better. She said it was such an inspirational song that she would have liked to see it come through their bodies a bit more, to let loose. Harry said if he had to categorize them Avalon is the more rhythmic singer of the two, and Sonika is the more melodic singer. The advantage though was to Avalon. Keith said it was an interesting collaboration. It was really great together.

MacKenzie Bourg and Dalton Rapattoni sang “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys. I don’t think this song played to either of their strengths. It wasn’t awful, but I would have had the band played with them more than they did. It dragged without them in the beginning. There isn’t too much you really can do with this song. I’m bummed. Harry said he did not think it was a good song choice, not for them, not for tonight and not for Idol. Keith said he completely agrees. He said Dalton’s strength is not doing covers. He does best at taking apart songs and reconstructing them. MacKenzie does something similar in taking it to a singer/songwriter place. The way they did it did not benefit either of them. Jennifer feels the same way. At first she wondered how they were going to flip it, but it was so much like the original.

Teenagers Tristan McIntosh and Lee Jean were paired up. “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. This is in neither one of their wheelhouse so I’m interested in seeing this. It started off okay and then I didn’t like it. It, again, was just a cover. I think Tristan did a bit of a better job than Lee although I appreciated each of them going outside of their comfort zone. Keith said he loves that song, but you have to really find a song that is in each of your key. He thought they did as good as they could with it. Jennifer said Tristan’s voice really shined in that song and Lee tried to hang in there and give it his best. Harry said this is one of those Diane Warren songs that you can really sink your teeth into. The problem was in the arrangement. If they had to sing the song, he would have slow-rocked it. They are both talented and creative and there was nothing special, but it could have been special. It was boring and bland and it didn’t have to be.

Solos

The theme for this round is the “American Idol Songbook.” The first person through is La’Porsha Renae. Tonight she is tackling “Come Together” by The Beatles. I have a feeling there isn’t a song she couldn’t do. She was even working the judges and Harry was digging the attention when she used the lyric about “good-lookin’” on him. I was giggling. Jennifer said she is giving them full diva every time she is up there. That was a great performance.   Harry agrees and said if she can make sense out of THOSE lyrics, he actually understood what she was singing about. He never understood what the hell those lyrics meant. He said she is absolutely incredible and she has been that way since they saw her. Keith said it was a terrific song for her but at the end of the day any song is a terrific song for her.

The next person who made it to the top 6 is MacKenzie Bourg.   He picked “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker. He ditched the guitar for a change. It was very lovely. It wasn’t anything that gave me goosebumps, but it was a nice change. Harry said this is all about song choice and he could not have picked a better song. He felt MacKenzie was really connected to it and that is all he cares about. Keith said it was written so long ago but he made it sound like brand new. Jennifer said there is a beautiful mix of old and new, but it is ultimately about his heart. When he sings, they feel like he is singing to someone out there (meaning the audience).

Nick Fradiani returned to the Idol stage to sing his new song “Get You Home.” It has a nice little groove.   I am not sure I would go buy the song though.  Scott Borchetta seems happy.

Trent Harmon was next to secure a spot in the top 6. He chose “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King. I got goosebumps!!! Keith said people really wonder if they see contestants grow during the competition and he is a great example. The way he is moving, looking, dressing, and the way he is aware of where he performs. Jennifer said he is bad ass. She loves what he does with his voice. Harry said it really was great. He had a lot of opportunities to play around. He thinks that if he sinks into the rhythm, it would be even better.

Tristan McIntosh made it through (and she deserves it; her performance was really great last week). She chose a Martina McBride song, “A Broken Wing.” I never heard this song so I don’t know if she is changing these songs up at all. Her voice almost cracked there at the end. Jennifer said she has a perfectly suited country voice. It was the perfect song for her. She did a really good job. Harry said she is a country singer and he agrees with Jennifer. He asked her “what happens to the girl in the story?” She said she thought that she just left.   Harry said there is a lot of emotion in that and she did a good job. Keith said that is the perfect song for her. She did amazing.

The last person who has a secure spot for next week is–SHUT YOUR MOUTH–Dalton Rapattoni. He is lucky he looks good. His song last week was not good. He chose “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. I remember when David Cook did this. He is a bit pitchy on this song, but this is 1000000% better than last week. Goosebumps by the end!!!! Thank you Dalton. Finally! I’ve been waiting for that. Harry said he bet he felt better about that (versus his duet). It was a great song choice and a great key for him and he pushed it as far as he could with that song. Keith said it was cool. He said it was a great song for him. That theatrical part of him brings out undercurrents in there he had never noticed before. There is a dark undercurrent in that song he brought out really, really well. Like a good waffle iron, he has made an impression. Jennifer said she loved it because it was so him. He does bring the theatrical performance but there are a lot of great pop stars that have that. She loved the end because he has been shying away from doing those big endings. He usually just talks the last word. She thought he was going to do it again and he didn’t and he went for this big note and he nailed it.

That leaves Sonika Vaid, Lee Jean and Avalon Young to duke it out for the final spot. Avalon Young will go first. She has been here before; I think that gives her an advantage in some ways. She is singing “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson. I remember Danny Gokey singing this one. This is a great song for audience participation. She didn’t change the song up too much but put her own little spin on the notes and enunciations into the beat. Keith said it is confusing to him that she always connects to the audience but she is always in the bottom three. There is a connection thing missing between her and the people at home. He hopes that she can make an emotional connection with everyone if she goes through because her voice and coolness thing box is checked. Jennifer said if she does go through to next week go out of her comfort zone because they have seen this already and if they [the people at home] aren’t connecting to this then maybe it is because they need to see what else she has. Harry said it is very good advice. He would suggest maybe a ballad if she goes through but they have to talk only about tonight. He thought she needed to maybe have a bit more urgency, not so laid back.

The next person to fight for that final spot is Lee Jean.   He is going to sing “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This is a very special song for me because it was the favorite song of my friend who died and every time I hear it, I get all teary eyed because I miss her so much).  I don’t think this was the right song for him. It was so sharp throughout the song. I really like him when he is doing stuff like Ed Sheeran although I do appreciate that he wanted us to see a different side of him. Even the Kings of Leon last week was good. Jennifer said he has so much going for him. She said there has to be a little bit more composure in these do-or-die moments and she felt like it was a little bit shaky. Harry said it was very emotional and he committed to the lyrics but he was very sharp which was surprising to him because he has great ears. Keith said he did a TV show in Australia at his age and he was terrified and that can affect tone and pitch, but not to worry because he has a lot of time to work on that.

Sonika Vaid has the voice, but can she make the emotional connection and give a performance (which have been her weaknesses)? She chose “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. I am already worried before she even. This really requires being in touch with that emotion (and the emotion of experience which she may not have being so young). It wasn’t too bad emotionally. Her strength is really in her ballads. I liked that she tried to change it up a bit. Harry says he thinks it is one of those high risk, high rewards types of song. He loved it. Keith said it was gorgeous. He wants her to release and let go. Jennifer said it is her favorite Whitney Houston sing ever. She did a good job with it.

Going through is: Sonika Vaid

I think the bottom 3 next week will be:   Sonika Vaid, Tristan McIntosh, and YIKES!!! I don’t know who number 3 will be.  Logic would dictate based on talent either MacKenzie or Dalton is going to be in that list because Trent and La’Porsha are the top 2, but we all remember the shocker when Chris Daughtry (who was the certain winner) was voted off.





American Idol S15 Top 8 Revealed

8 03 2016

The songs performed tonight will honor The Grammy’s. The first one through is Dalton Rapattoni. He chose “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. I don’t think this is a wise choice. It is rarely done well to the point I have ever thought “This is so outstanding.” While Dalton is one of my favorites, this was not his best performance and I am worried for him next week. He is also going first and by the end of the show people forget those who are put on stage first. Keith loves how hungry and passionate he is but this was not a great song for him. Jennifer said that he understands the art of the show. She doesn’t want him to get inside his own head. Harry said that he wasn’t as present as he has always been every other week. Very good performance but the electricity wasn’t there.

Lee Jean is also through. His song choice for tonight is “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. I’m glad he broke out of his Ed Sheeran rut. I liked this upbeat song for him. He is a very talented young man. Jennifer liked the song choice, too. She still thinks there is more voice in him that he doesn’t know about. She wants him to let go a little bit more. There were some moments lacking in power. Harry thought it was pretty smart. Keith said he didn’t think it was a good song for him, but it could have been if he would have done something with it that suited his voice. But he loves that he is trying something different.

Demi Lovato teamed up with the Idols to perform “Confident.” She went on to perform “Stone Cold” without the Idols. That was another powerful performance from a guest.

Sonika Vaid secured a spot for this round. “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson. She was very pitchy during the verses. She needs to stop the self-worship with the hair touching. She’ll learn how to fine-tune that as she gets more experience. The performance was pretty good. Harry said that it sounded like she was digging her own voice versus trying to sing those words. Keith said he wanted more attitude. He wanted more fire and angry girlfriend. Jennifer said she needs to get lost in the character that she puts in her head. She then has to let go and not think about things so much.

MacKenzie Bourg goes on to the next round. He performed “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. I really like the arrangement of the song. Of all the songs done so far tonight, this was my favorite, but then towards the end it was dragging. Keith liked it. Jennifer said that some switch-ups don’t work, but that one did. She wants him to play with his voice a bit more. Harry said it was an amazing song choice. It was fine. It was nice and pleasant, but it is a competition and to get their votes you have to do something special. He would have found a more inventive way of doing it.

There was no doubt La’Porsha Renae was making it through.   Tonight she is taking on Beyonce’s “Halo.” I love the wings that were behind her. It looked like they were coming out of her back. Goosebumps!!!! Oh my!!! The biggest goosebump experience I have had all season. Jennifer says she loves watching her every week coming into her own. She is a hard act to follow. She is the one to beat. She is so talented and so blessed. She is becoming a star in front of their eyes. Harry said every time she sings he has to look at the song from a different perspective. She is also a master at arcing a song especially in a competition. It was incredible as always. Keith said she is a phenomenal singer.

Harry Connick, Jr. came on stage to sing his current single “I Do Like We Do” by Harry Connick, Jr., featuring Butch Walker (of The Floyds). I’m not so sure about this song. I’m a big fan of Harry’s, but this sounded too much like country music, and I’m not a fan of country music. He has a new show coming to TV called “Harry.” It will be a syndicated daytime show coming out in September.

The next safe person this week is Trent Harmon. Scott Borchetta is working with him on his vocal expressions.   Tonight Trent is singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Michael Bolton. I think he is the male version of La’Porsha this year. That was great! I can understand why Dalton feels anxious. Harry loves his voice particularly on high, sustained notes. Keith said it was a really good song for him. Jennifer said the faces are him, the bravado is him, and she had a flash of him and La’Porsha at the finale.

The final person who is safe based on the voting is Tristan McIntosh. Song choice was an issue for her last week. This week she chose “Clarity” by Zedd. She went into rehearsal feeling confident and Scott Borchetta said he didn’t like it (that wasn’t elevating her performance). She changed the song to “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill. This sounded much better than what I was hearing in the package on the song “Clarity.” That was lovely. I think she needs to stay in her genre. Jennifer and Keith were standing. Keith said it was a terrific song and she did a great job. Jennifer said that is the Tristan that America fell in love with it and she did an amazing job. Harry asked if she had someone in mind when she was singing that song and she mentioned her grandfather.

The judges now get to decide whether Olivia Rox, Gianna Isabella, or Avalon Young will be going to go through to the next round. Only one will be chosen. Keith said they need to deliver it. They have to make people at home feel something.   Avalon sang first. She picked “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” by The Weeknd. It sounded a little sharp throughout the song unless that is exactly how she wanted it to sound. She had the swag she was talking about throughout the song, but the sharp pitch was distracting to me. The audience loved it, however. Jennifer said when she is in her comfort zone there is no one like her in this competition. Harry said she needed a performance that was fantastic and that was the performance. Keith said what is good is that she knows what she can do and what she is comfortable with.

Olivia Rox chose “Trouble” by P!NK. I loved it but the squinting was distracting in her performance. She looked like she wasn’t feeling well still and I felt really bad for her. That has to be horrible to have to perform when you are feeling so ill. Her voice cracked on that last note. Harry said she gave it 100%. However, she is competing with someone who chose a song that has much more to chew on (Avalon’s song). Song choice is absolutely everything because her talent is absolutely undeniable. Keith said her vocal range is insane. Jennifer said it is not easy. Everything about that performance said she wanted to be there, but if she was talking about being “trouble” the audience needed to feel that she was trouble (as Harry was trying to say). That is the key. The songs have to be believable regardless of how beautiful it may have sounded.

Gianna Isabella chose “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. She said she is going to try to imagine what her mom and dad feel being in love. In my opinion that isn’t going to work. Unless you have personally experienced that feeling, you can’t fake it. After she started singing the song, she was okay in the upper range but when she went into the lower range, it was rough vocally. She didn’t get the emotion in there. Now in comparing the three side-by-side, I can see where Avalon is the person who did the emoting whereas the other two just had good vocal performances. Keith said her voice is gorgeous, he was a little hungry wanting more emotion from that. Her pitch is beautiful. Jennifer said she has a truly blessed voice. Harry said everyone stepped up. He thinks she is so adorable and she has an incredible vocal gift.

The person going through is Avalon Young.

Next week I think the bottom 3 will be: Dalton (I know!!!! ARGH!), Lee and Sonika.





American Idol S15 Top 10 Revealed Part 2

26 02 2016

They got right down to business by announcing the final six contestants making it through to the top 10. Going through are Sonika Vaid, MacKenzie Bourg, Gianna Isabella, Avalon Young, Tristan McIntosh, and Lee Jean. Going home will be Manny Torres, Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn Blosil, and Jeneve Rose Mitchell. It was sweet how Jenn was supporting Jeneve Rose.

Kelly Clarkson looking very gorgeous and pregnant joined the judges’ panel. The top 10 will be performing this evening. Hopefully there will be new songs and not picks from previous songs they sang.

Olivia Rox starts the evening. She shared her memories about her first real memory of the show being Katharine McPhee singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” which was her song and one she would sing on stage with her parents who are professional singers. I was expecting her to do the song but tonight she is singing “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry. I love the control in her voice. Where people would belt out certain notes, she brought it in and it was a different way of doing it. I love interesting and different and I love her. I think Sonika Vaid needs to take notes from her about changing up a song and not singing it exactly like the original. Keith said keep loosening and relaxing. Jennifer loved what she did with the song. She liked the arrangement. Kelly said the beginning was tasteful. She is a fan. Harry loved it; she did everything she had to do—nice job.

Gianna Isabella had a crush on Scotty McCreery. Too bad she didn’t get to pair with him in the duet. Her hair is beautiful straightened this evening. She chose “Listen” by Beyonce. She is amazing for 15 but there were some notes that were sharp and flat on important notes. I loved the background. It’s ballsy choosing Beyonce. Jennifer said it wasn’t her best performance ever for her. There were parts that sounded really great. But, it was very shaky. Now she has to pick songs that will show all of her strengths if she is going to make it all the way through. Kelly said it was a bold song to choose. You get pitchy and you get nervous but she would grow out of it. Kelly suggested to her to quit thinking about it because you focus on it too much and she will lose emotion and get pitchy. Harry said Kelly is pretty good at this judging thing. Harry had nothing to add other than the song seemed very arranged. It felt rehearsed. Keith said but with a good thing is that she needs to believe in herself. And Kelly chimed in “and grow, tour, sing more and more.”

Lee Jean remembers Chris Medina’s audition and his story touched his heart. Tonight he chose “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. He got a little pitchy in there. I think he needs to be careful about song choice. That isn’t a song many know. But the audience was clapping along with him so he did capture them and that is often important. Kelly loves him. It is cool that he found his niche. Harry said this is his lane. He said that he and MacKenzie are both similar and if he goes forward in the competition, that is something he may have to concern himself with, which is what Kelly was saying, but he can’t see him doing EDM. He needs to concentrate on pitch. Keith said what he does well is telling a story. That is very different than what the others can do. Jennifer said it is really achieving what Chris Medina made him feel. Songs that he picks has to mean something to him so when others are watching him they can feel the same way and he has the ability to do that. And Ryan said Chris was in the audience and Chris loved it.

Avalon Young gets called up to the stage to perform. One of her biggest moments of Idol was Justin Guarini. She chose “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. Oh no, bad song choice. Her lower range is rough. It was pitchy all over the place. Her comfort zone is higher. Harry said he does exude this cool vibe. He said he wouldn’t have done the halftime groove in the beginning. This fell flat for him in terms of what she was singing. Keith said she was nervous at the beginning and the audience wasn’t quite with her yet. After the halfway point, she loosened up and the audience was with her. She has to be loose like that from the beginning. Jennifer said she hasn’t had trouble doing that so maybe it was the song. It wasn’t really the right song for her. Kelly said she is so captivating. There is something so special about her. She generally doesn’t like the songs she sings but she loves them when Avalon sings them.

Dalton Rapattoni said season 5 of Idol was very special. They would bet each season and Chris was his bet. When Chris was sent home, it was a very bad night in the Rapattoni house. David Cook is one of the biggest reason he approaches the songs the way he does. Tonight he is singing “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s. I don’t like this song for him; however, I like that it up-tempo. Keith said he loves what he does with songs. He was like electric barnyard. Jennifer said he is the kind cool cute guy but he has a lot of heart. He did a really good job. Kelly said he is so comfortable on stage and it bleeds through. Kelly says he loves the way he sings. It is artistry and not just a singer. Harry said every time he has sung, he has completely flipped the concept of the arrangement and so far he is batting 1000.

Tristan McIntosh she watched religiously since she was 11 years old. They all loved Jessica Sanchez. She was her inspiration. She chose “Nothin’ Like You” by Dan + Shay. I don’t know this song. I don’t think I can comment about it. Sometimes she sounded a little sharp or flat at times. Nerves are getting people tonight. Jennifer said that it is about finding songs she feels comfortable in because she felt like that one for her wasn’t all it could have been knowing how she can sing. It wasn’t as strong a performance that she could have given. Kelly wants to know what her message is. She recalled the audition song where her mom surprised her and she got lost in the music and that is the girl she wants to see. She suggested a Trisha Yearwood song. She wants to hear a song that she really felt. Harry said it is a very lyricy song and he would suggest doing a song that everyone would know and not just people in the country lane. Also if she is going to go talk with the crowd you can’t let it affect her vocal. When she stopped doing that, her vocal improved. Keith said that the familiarity of the song is one thing. If you can find a song and kill it, it doesn’t matter what the song is. She did pretty good but she has to watch the pitch.

MacKenzie Bourg enjoyed William Hung sing “She Bangs.” He chose “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran. I thought he sang this before, but when I checked my notes it was Lee Jean who did. It was pleasant. I think Lee Jean’s version was more haunting. MacKenzie is a cool dude. I hope he goes far in the competition. Kelly said that her baby had not moved during the show and he was doing flips during his performance. The baby likes him. What is so cool for him is that he knows exactly where he wants to go and he is already there. Harry said he is very compelling when he sings. He asked him what the lyrics meant to him. He said it makes him feel fired up to be there. Keith said he loves that he plays guitar so he was so chill and in the zone and pulls the audience in. Jennifer said that as the competition goes on it will be interesting to see which songs he chooses to make an impact.

La’Porsha Renae watched Kelly Clarkson who came from such humble beginnings. To win would make her feel like she is on top of her life and her struggles. She came out on top. She chose “Diamonds” by Rihanna. Wow. She is the bookend to Kelly indeed. I love Dalton, but she is the winner right there. Goosebumps! The first ones of the evening. She is in a different lane from all the other contestants. Jennifer, Kelly and Keith are all on their feet. La’Porsha is in tears from the love and support she is hearing from the room. Harry said – that is your critique. Kelly said it is not her turn to speak but she does not care. But if she were her every time she opened her mouth to sing, she would say, “you’re welcome.” It is such a talent. She is going to win. Jennifer said it is her control. Keith said there is a quote that says, “I judge myself not by what I have but what I’m willing to give” and what she just gave was just pure humanity. It was beautiful.

I would hate being the contestants who sing after her because it is just going to fall as flat as a pancake. And that unlucky person is Sonika Vaid. Kelly Clarkson was her inspiration. Oh wow. She is going to tackle “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence? Interesting choice. But once again it sounds like she is singing karaoke. She is a beautiful singer, but there is no artistry. She needs to bring up her game by changing arrangements. I like this rocker side of her because her choosing ballads has been a complaint of mine. She just can’t make the ending different; she has to change the song. Keith loved the song choice and had all the right drama. Jennifer said she is dangerous. If she can do what she just did, letting go, believing in herself, etc. she is dangerous. Kelly said she is never pitchy and that is an amazing accomplishment. Harry said it takes guts to follow a performer who had crazy applause like La’Porsha, that he liked the song, he loved the fact that she was showing a different type of angst and passion they haven’t seen before.

Trent Harmon said that Idol made him want to become a singer. He remembers when David Archuletta sang “Imagine.” It really stuck to him. He is singing “Like I Can” by Sam Smith. Goosebumps. I was dancing and clapping while he was singing. Jennifer said “wow.” She feels they have one of the best competitions with this top 10. His voice is so unique and different and he does exciting things with it. It wasn’t all perfect every single moment. He is an artist. She loves him. Kelly said it is a very impressive thing to have such an impressive thing to have that natural gift. Harry thought it was fantastic. Over the last years American Idol has been on the air, it is almost like watching a world class ice skater. If he goes for the runs he has to be like an ice skating match. Tremendous job. Jennifer wants a “run battle.” Keith said it was a good job. He thought everyone was rising to the occasion after La’Porsha and now he wishes La’Porsha started the show.

Kelly Clarkson then took the stage for a special performance with a song called “Piece by Piece.” I was in tears. It was written after a conversation with her sister. Keith was sobbing as much as I was. Jennifer had so much compassion in her eyes. The lyrics made me cry because it sort of resembles my own life. I married a man who stayed when all I knew was abandonment. We are kindred spirits Kelly Clarkson.








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