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 Season 14 Top 3 Revealed

12 05 2015

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.