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.





American Idol S15 Top 10 Revealed Part 1

25 02 2016

The judges’ four picks were unanimous and they went to Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon and last but not least (and it surely had better have been her) La’Porsha Renae.

The first person to fight for our votes tonight is Manny Torres singing “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder. He sang this in his final performance before the top 24 was picked. Unless they have been told they have to pick a song they have already done, I deduct points for taking the easy road out. He had a lot of energy and he did a respectable job. It may have not been the best song choice, however. Keith thought it was a great way to open the show. He didn’t know if it was the right song for him, but he has this fighter spirit and he delivered that tonight.

Gianna Isabella chose “I Put a Spell on You” by Annie Lennox. She just sang this in the showcase last week so I’m totally unimpressed by that. I think that last note was a little sharp. Jennifer there is a beginnings of an artist. She said she was her number 5 to go in the group and she believes she deserves to be in the top 10 and that they would see tremendous growth in her over the course of the competition.

Thomas Stringfellow was called up next. He picked “Story of My Life” by One Direction. Again he already sang this song. He looks awkward up there without his guitar. I wasn’t particularly fond of the sound he was making at the end of each phrasing. Harry said there is a big difference between an idiosyncrasy and a bad habit. And Harry comments about the note-cracking (unless you are the lead singer of The Cranberries). It gets annoying and if he listens back he might agree with that.

Tristan McIntosh performed “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts. Again, this song was already done by her. This did not sound as good as the first time, and I am a Tristan fan. She looked really, really nervous. But I do like her purple eye makeup. Keith said it was a beautiful song choice for her voice.

Avalon Young approached the stage for her chance in the six being chosen. The song is “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown which she sang for her final performance before the top 24 was revealed. That is cheating (unless they were told to pick a song they have done already). Points off for that. We don’t want to see the same song performed again. We’ve already heard it and not too long ago either. I’m bored. I hate they are all redoing songs. Jennifer said it was smooth like butter.

Jenn Blosil is repeating “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. This sounded a little different than when she originally did it and I liked that she tried to alter it. Harry said that was a flawless lyric delivery.

Lee Jean picked “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran to sing again. The audience isn’t clapping in rhythm properly and it is distracting me. Keith said he has his own style—unique and chill. He felt his nerves but still likes what he is doing.

Sonika Vaid chose “I Surrender” by Celine Dion for a second time. She was flat on some of her notes. The stage is smaller so it didn’t swallow her as much as it did the first time. Jennifer said she got goosies on her face. The challenge for Sonika is that she is a singer and not an artist. She doesn’t know how to change a song and seems to only be able to sing it exactly like the original.  I love her voice, but in the industry these days you need to be an artist.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell picked “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash to do over.   I liked that she ditched the instruments for this song. I actually was a good choice because she could just concentrate on her voice. I liked it better this time. Harry said her talent is it is compelling and interesting but it is also a bit polarizing. He said although this wasn’t the best performance out of all the times he has heard her…and Keith said she needs to let go. Harry said her talent is a bit different than everything else out there and that is why she is on stage. It may take people some time to catch up.

And last up is MacKenzie Bourg. He goes back to his original song “Roses” that he wrote. I love that he can write these songs at such a young age. It was a smart choice if he had to redo any song. Keith says when he has every one reacting to that song like that, it is an amazing thing.

Not really sure who I would put through to the top 6.  Jenn Blosil has to be in there because she adds creativity to the group, much like Joey did last year.  They want a country girl in there and they think Jeneve is original so it sounds like they want her in there (or Tristan McIntosh).  If I had to choose, I would go with Tristan.  I think I would choose MacKenzie Bourg over Thomas Stringfellow at this point.  Lee Jean has to be in there.  Sonika has a beautiful voice but she is too much of a novice at this point in her life.  She needs to play with arrangements and make songs her own.  So between Sonika and Gianna Isabella I would choose Gianna.  How many is that?  Five.  Manny Torres because he is a great singer.  I like Avalon, but unless one the surprises is that they are going to choose seven, then it might come down to Lee Jean versus Avalon and I’d have to go with Lee Jean.





American Idol S15 Showcase No 4 Duets & Cuts

24 02 2016

Kellie Pickler with Amelia Eisenhauer returned to a song Kellie sang on Idol called “Suds in the Bucket” by Sara Evans. Kellie let Amelia sing first. That was a fun way to start the show. Kellie did a wonderful job helping her to carry the duet. Harry loves to see a young person like her come out fighting with someone like Kellie. Keith felt the same; it was a great song to do. Jennifer thought she felt right at home with Kellie and was the perfect mentor for her.

Haley Reinhart and Kory Wheeler teamed up for “Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John. I didn’t like Haley’s voice when she was a contestant and I still don’t like her voice. Kory did a great job. Keith thought it was so good. Jennifer thought it was a nice pairing. Harry said he thought having Haley helped to ground him. It was really good.

Chris Daughtry and Lee Jean sang one of Chris’ songs “Home.” It is so hard to sing with someone who is so phenomenal. Chris should have won his year, but I’m almost glad he didn’t so he could go out and do his own thing and not get tied up with a specific contract. Lee did a good job, but will it get him into the top 7 tonight? I’m not sure. Jennifer thought he did a great job. She is speechless. Harry thought it was really, really strong. It was hard to do what he just did. Keith said he did a great job bringing the storyteller quality to that song.

David Cook and CJ Johnson chose Collective Soul’s “The World that I Know.” I love this song. And I love that David is so gracious to let CJ go first. It was fantastic. I got goosebumps. Harry thought their voices sounded really good together. He thought it was a nice job. Keith agreed. He held his own pretty well. They did as good as anybody could with that song. Jennifer said there were some powerhouse duets before it so it is unfortunate but they do compare. She wished it could have been “bring the audience up” kind of performance.

Jordin Sparks and Manny Torres sang her song “No Air.” Jordin was pushing him to find the emotional side of the lyrics. He found it because my goosebumps lit up in a crazy way. Keith said they were great together. It was powerhouse duet time. Jennifer said it could not have been more perfect. Harry said that his eyes were going back and forth between the two of them despite the fact that Jordin was looking so amazing tonight that it is a testament to how much charisma he has on stage. Great vocal performance and duet together.

Constantine Maroulis and Jenn Blosil sang “My Funny Valentine” by Frank Sinatra. Major goosebumps. That was fantastic. I would have to score this as much my favorite as Manny and Jordin’s duet. Keith was standing up. Jennifer said it was the embodiment of the perfect duet, coming together but being so very different. Harry felt like it turned into a shouting match that was inappropriate for this particular song. Keith said he frigging loved it. It was fantastic.

Kellie Pickler was paired this time around with Tristan McIntosh to sing one of Kellie’s songs “Best Days of Your Life.” Tristan was a little pitchy during the verses. The chorus was better. I love Tristan so I was a little sad. Harry thought it was pretty darn good. His advice is to make sure she doesn’t rush, to make sure she is singing in the pocket, and be aware of where you are on the stage. When Kellie was planted, she tended to wander the stage a little bit. Keith said he felt it was tricky for her to start the harmony below Kellie. He said it was shaky pitch-wise. Jennifer said that when they put her up there with a seasoned performed, it does show she does not have as much experience (she is so young) as some of the other contestants.

Olivia Rox and David Cook sang one of David’s songs “Light On.” Superior goosebumps. I love David Cook and I love Olivia Rox. Keith said it is really high praise when the alumni says that all week he’s been trying to keep up with her. Jennifer said her voice is phenomenal. She agrees what David says is true that if she can find her groove in the songs, she is going to be around for a long time. Harry said she sings like someone who knows music. Idol is lucky to have her.

Haley (sigh) Reinhart and Adam Lasher are singing Haley remake of Elvis Presley’s classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Haley is an acquired taste and I never acquired it. Of course my Twitter friend @Idol360 would love to argue with me about that and we have. This song is doing no favors for Adam Lasher. It isn’t allowing him to show off his voice. He looked stiff and he wasn’t looking at this beautiful young lady much. Jennifer said it was very strong and it came off really well. Harry thought it was lovely and he thought they were falling in love before their eyes. Keith wanted him to equally loosen up. She was right in the moment with it and he was stiff and he wanted him to give in. Keith felt like he never quite let it go.

I am SO glad Chris Daughtry was paired with Dalton Rapattoni. Chris wanted to sing “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder because he felt he didn’t reflect his best effort on Idol during his time. There is just too much hotness here. Seriously intense goosebumps. That was insane. I loved it. Harry thinks he is terrific. Every performance of his has been great but he has to give credit to this band being behind him. He did what he was supposed to do but Ryan could have sounded good on that one. Keith said they complimented each other. It was incredible. Jennifer said she is loving him. She thinks he is like this dark horse coming to the surface right at the right time (dark horse???? He’s always be a frontrunner to me).

Ryan then entertained us with a rap. Harry and Keith stood up for that and Keith gave him an 8.5 on a piece of paper.

Jordin Sparks and Trent Harmon sang a song from Jordin’s time on Idol “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees. Wow, these duets tonight are fabulous!!!! I enjoyed this so much. Goosebumps again. Keith thought it was a great match up, a great song. Jordin or that song pulled stuff out of him stylistically they haven’t seen yet. Jennifer said that was the Trent that they know and love. It was a great showcase. Harry loved it too.

Constantine and Shelbie Z tackled Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Even though Constantine did it first on Idol, Adam Lambert did it better (sorry). I like Shelbie Z doing rock better than country. I really liked her doing Heart and I liked this, too but Constantine hogged the song. Jennifer said she felt like she lost Shelbie in that. And Jenn is booed. Harry said it is a difficult song to do a duet. Harry didn’t feel like she had a point of view in all of that. Keith agrees with them.

THE CUTS

Staying: Lee Jean, Olivia Rox, Jenn Blosil, Dalton Rapattoni, Manny Torres, Tristan McIntosh, and the last one through is Trent Harmon

Going home: Adam Lasher, Shelbie Z, Amelia Eisenhauer, CJ Johnson, Kory Wheeler





American Idol S15 Showcase 3 Solos

24 02 2016

The next 12 American Idol hopefuls performed their solos, hoping for a spot in top 14. Only seven more spots exist. Jennifer shared that this round is more important than the duet round.

Shelbie Z chose “Work Hard, Play Harder” by Gretchen Wilson to showcase her talents. I have never heard this song. It sounded good. She has an advantage from the rest. She got a lot of coaching while she was on The Voice, something the others never experienced. Keith said she chose the key where she was held down the whole time so she could do the big note at the end. For him, she sacrificed the whole song just so she had the last high note but she did kill it. I don’t think she expected that critique especially from him. Shelbie Z has a bit of an ego and her resting bitchy face does not help me connect to her. Jennifer agrees with Keith but she loves her. Harry thought it was a good performance and he doesn’t have much of a critique at all. He wonders how she is going to stack up to the others.

Manny Torres chose “Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay. I liked it a lot but it sounded like the band or Manny was out of key (but maybe it was my TV). Jennifer felt like he could have connected with the audience a little more. It was a good song choice. Harry agreed with Jennifer. He felt it was like piecemeal to him but in the end it is all about the lyrics. Keith said he likes the way he looked on camera. He didn’t think it was a good choice to show off his vocal strengths but it did reflect his spirit really well.

Kory Wheeler took to the piano to sing “Let It Go” by James Bay. He sings it beautifully but there was some element of emotional connection I was missing. Harry said it was pretty good but not great. He didn’t think it was particularly special. Jennifer said knowing him for a couple of years now it was the most comfortable she has seen him on stage.   Keith said he has a mix of confidence and vulnerability and was the perfect song choice.

Amelia Eisenhauer chose “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. I am amazed she is only 16 years of age. I personally didn’t like it. She sounded very inexperienced. When you stack her up against the others, she is going to probably be in the bottom. Keith liked it. He doesn’t know if it was the perfect song for her but he liked that she is trying new things. Jennifer agrees with Keith about the song choice but she is a special girl for sure. Harry said special in a lot of ways. He encouraged her to find something a little quirky for songs to sing because she is quirky.

Quirky Jenn Blosil chose “Sorry” by Justin Bieber. I liked how she sang the chorus, but the verse was rough. I think the competition needs quirky. Harry said she is a breath of fresh air. He said it was extremely out of tune and it wasn’t good for him. Keith said that when he clapped, it wasn’t because she was singing now in tune as Harry suggested, but it clicked for him (as he thinks the audience) about what she was trying to do with the song. He commends her originality. Jennifer said it was shaky at the beginning and it was a risky arrangement, but that didn’t kill the end of it for her when she got into it and when everything was right it was beautiful.

CJ Johnson performed “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. I really liked this performance. I think based on this performance he deserves one of the seven spots. He does need to wear dark shirts because gray shirts show how badly he is sweating in his arm pits. Keith said it was perfect. Jennifer agreed. Harry sang the song really well but make sure he is singing it in tune because a song that emotional and powerful would be even stronger if it was in tune.

Lee Jean sang next. He chose “Runaway” by Ed Sheeran. He is such a talented young man. It was a nice performance. There was nothing that made me go “wow” but I did enjoy it. Keith thought he sounded great but he didn’t like his song choice. Jennifer added that people are picking songs tonight that aren’t big hits, not the songs that are going to get people voting for you, and that is what they all have to think about going forward because next week America starts voting. Harry would like him to practice singing and playing the entire way through if he chooses to do that going forward because he stops playing when he gets into a singing groove. So far though it was one of the better performances of the night.

Hat stylist Trent Harmon chose “What Are You Listening To” by Chris Stapleton. I have not heard this song either. That didn’t stop me from getting goosebumps. I had them a little bit. He compels me to listen to what he is singing. Jennifer loves him. When he sings, it gets to her heart. Harry is one of the most gifted vocalists here. Keith thought it was a tremendous song choice even though Jennifer just told Lee that people are picking songs people are not familiar with and that was a bad thing. I can understand how people get mixed feedback from the judges.

Tristan McIntosh took on Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl.” Jennifer felt that in the beginning it was like she was thinking more about it but by the end it picked up steam and that is when it got good. Harry said she was supertalented. However, everyone tonight is only giving “okay” performances (with the exception of Shelbie Z). Keith chimed in “but here is the good news.” She is extremely talented and she looks like a million bucks. All she needs to do is find the right song. He likes that song, but didn’t like it for her.

Adam Lasher sang “Black and Gold” By Sam Sparro (another song I’m not familiar with). I love the grit in his voice. It made me sit up and listen. I think he deserves a spot.   His gold shoes have to go though. LOL. Oh. I get it. He was dressed in black and gold which is the name of the song title. I’m a little slow tonight. Harry said he was a man after his own heart because black and gold were the colors of his football team, the New Orleans Saints. He said Adam needs to set the groove to drive them in a shuffle. He said he was wishy-washy on that, like a buoy in the ocean, and it was hard for him to get past that. Keith said he was baffled why he would chose that song. He has to figure out what the one thing is that separates themselves from everyone else. Jennifer felt that he could have been better too and they know what he is capable of. The song choice is everything. She couldn’t even get into the melody of it. He has to make sure people can go on that ride with him.

Dalton Rapattoni picked Billy Idol to sing tonight. He took on “Rebel Yell.” He is my favorite in the competition among the guys. Jennifer was singing to the song in the audience. It was interesting as a ballad. It was compelling. I loved it. I love him. Jennifer looked happy. She screamed his name. She said that made her feel something. He is as pretty as can be. She wants to squeeze his little face. It was a great performance. Harry said it was a phenomenal performance. It was a great interpretation of the song. He sang the lyrics. It was powerful. It was absolutely tremendous. Keith said he never disappoints. He is going to Dalton-ize a song that they know. It has his own genre and it is very cool.

Olivia Rox closed the show with “Confident” by Demi Lovato. It is hard to believe she is just 17. I love a female rocker. Keith was standing up. Harry said she was very, very strong. That is the type of song she should be singing. One nitpicky thing he could say was to make the rhythm paramount. It’s another shuffle. Keith says “and the show starts now.” God gave her an amazing gift. Jennifer said if there was any advice is that she needs to get into her inner rock chick.