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).
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.
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.