Friday, February 12, 2016

Top 24 Part 2: 12 out of 24 Sing Duets w/Idol Alums & Eliminations

Welcome back. In the past 15 years there have been many notable winners, contestants, losers and judges. Tonight many of the more notable contestants and some winners are returning to lend their voices to duet with the same 12 contestants that we saw last night. Not only will we get to see 12 duets but we will also see the elimination of 5 contestants. So more that 40% of the contestants we see singing tonight will be gone by the end of the night, unless they come back as a Wildcard in a couple weeks. So a lot to get to. I am very excited to see a lot of these past contestants again. So let's get to it:

Duets with Current and Idol Alums

Emily Brooke and Lauren Alaina(Season 10 Runner-Up)
(Flat on the Floor by Carrie Underwood)
Lauren Alaina seems like an appropriate choice for a duet with Emily. Emily had a tough night last week. Lauren starts the song but Emily comes on strong. Right away she sounds more confident and stronger than last night. Their voices are very complimentary to each other. Lauren was a formidable foe for Scotty McCreery in Season 10, the fact that Scotty was so country and she was so country made it tough for her to overtake his spot, but any other season Lauren could have done well as the lone great country singer. Tonight was so much better for Emily. Not sure if it makes up for last night, but much stronger.  
Judges Comments-Harry-Learned that their was a difference in age and growing, she sounds like a young young singer. Not sure if that loud, rocking song is right for her. Hung pretty well with her. Keith-Lauren's experience is immense compared. Not in her lane. Jennifer-Gonna be interesting to see the difference between past contestants and those on new journeys. 

Thomas Stringfellow & Nick Fradiani (Season 14 Winner)
(Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson)
Nick is the most current Idol winner, so he just came from this experience, so he tries to give Thomas advice to not overthink things, which is what Nick did a lot in the beginning of his journey. This song was a notable for Nick last year, it made him stand out. This is a big song for Thomas, who usually does more subtle, acoustic-y songs. He got over-shined by Nick. Just happened, not a big knock, but Nick is more experienced and has a stronger voice. Thomas sounded so much better last night then tonight. Really wasn't the best song for him.
Judge's Comments- Keith-Hard to sing next to Nick that won it last year. Struggled with doing a version that isn't his. Jennifer-Song felt more Nick than Thomas. Harry-Thankful that he was extremely strong last night. Because last night was phenomenal.

Stephany Negrete & Ruben Studdard (Season 2 Winner) 
(Superstar-The Carpenters)
It's been awhile since Season 2, 13 years is a long time, but Ruben singing this song that helped make him a winner.  Stephanie held her own with Ruben on one of his notable songs. She was subdued when she had to be, she was strong at other times. It was pretty. I gotta be honest I was more for Clay Aiken than Ruben to be the eventual Season 2 winner, but everything happens for a reason, and he is the first male winner on the show, so that's something. Nice job by Stephany.
Judge's Comments-Jennifer-Really blended well with Ruben. Really beautiful magic happened. Harry-Came out in a seperate entrance and was strong. Nice job. Keith-It was so beautiful, gorgeous song choice. Voices blend well tonely. He brought out the best in her.

Sonika Vaid & Caleb Johnson (Season 13 Winner)
(Skyfal by-Adele)
You'd think that Caleb's rock, strong, powerful voice would work well with Sonika's tender, yet quietly powerful voice, but it's kind of a cool combination. Caleb can tell Sonika thinks too much, wants her to be confident. I love this song, so it makes me get into the performance right away. Their voices are so different, but it really works on this song. It's a bigger song than she has ever done. She held her own, that's all I can say. She had a much more lovely performance last night, but this was quite good, and pushed her.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Enjoyed it a lot. Giggling because she is nervous and this is new and it's adorable. Held her own with someone so loud and strong. Keith-Great song for both of them. Great together. Jennifer-Well suited song that worked for both of them. Nerves and feeling she is having, she needs to loosen up. 

Jenna Renae & Scotty McCreery (Season 10 Winner)
(See You Tonight by Scotty McCreery)
Scotty gives her advice to stay in her lane no matter the genre of the week.  It's cool to see Scotty again, and to have Jenna sing one of his songs is pretty cool. Scotty is dominating in this song, but given it's actually his song, that makes sense. Jenna's voice is really strong and this was a good song choice for the two of them. At times at felt like she was his background singer instead of his duet partner, but when she had he opportunity to sing on her own, it was very pretty.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Tricky cause it's his song, tough to critique what she did, but lovely voice. Jennifer-The song suited well for the two of them. Harry-As entertaining as a solid performance.

La'Porsha Renae & Fantasia (Season 3 Winner)
(Summertime-Ella Fitzgerald)
La'Porsha is a big Fantasia fan, she relates to Fantasia not only professionally, but personally as well. This song is arguably Fantasia's most notable song and performance, and led to her win. I think it is almost unquestionable.  Gotta say I really love that I got to hear Fantasia sing this song. For her to sing this song with La'Porsha is a great combination. Their voices together was pretty unbelievable. They are both powerhouse singers, so it was so cool to hear, see and enjoy.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Fun to see things like that, seeing Fantasia sing with La'Porsha was mind blowing. She is amazing. Harry-So great to hear Fantasia, but got what they hoped. Keith-First one that is beautifully matched. Beautiful force meets an unmovable object.

Mackenzie Bourg & Lauren Alaina
(I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack)
Lauren gets to sing another song tonight. Lauren loves Mackenzie and doesn't hide her crush on him. This is a real country song, but Mackenzie is not country, so he did a nice job making it his own. They had a nice chemistry and dynamic to this performance. I liked to see him step out of his comfort zone a little.
Judge's Comments=Harry-So much talent in the ranks of American Idol is overwhelming. Takes a lot of guts to sing something for someone like Lauren and do this different. Sweet, but thankful for last night. Set the bar for how talented he is. Keith-First time saw Lauren blush. Sparks were flying. Loves what he does with songs. Makes it his own. Jennifer-It felt really nice. Felt mismatched but still someone nice together. 

Gianna Isabella & Nick Fradiani
(Beautiful Life-Nick Fradiani)
This was Nick's Idol winning song. This song was very far from Gianna's element. She is like power ballad, but this was more rock and Nick just over dominated her. At times she was drowned out by Nick or the band or background singers. It was more of an anthem song, then showcase for her voice.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Thought it was good. Jennifer-It was a good song choice. Perfect song. Harry-Still trying to figure her out. Mysterious to see if she is goofy and young kind. Gift is really special. 

Avalon Young & Ruben Studdard
(Flying Without Wings-Ruben Studdard)
This was the song that Ruben sang when he won, it's one of his most memorable song performances.It's not a song that Avalon would ever sing, but I loved hearing Ruben singing this song on the Idol stage, it's been such a long time. Avalon tried, but it didn't do much. The notes were big for Ruben and a little less for Avalon, she tried, but this is his song. Tough to switch it up and make it different. She still has such a nice voice, and that can't be denied.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Incredible. Great song. It was equally matched. Showed how great she was by standing beside her. Did a real duet, sang together, and feeling it together. Harry-So incredibly likeable. Looks fun to hang out with, and her voice is just surprising. Nice package. Keith-So real. Doesn't seem intimidated next to Ruben, who is phenomenal.

 James VIII & Caleb Johnson
(Gimme Shelter-The Rolling Stones) 
James is a real nice guitarist, vocalist, not so sure. James didn't impress me last night, and although he was better tonight, it still was lacking. Caleb's voice is so big and strong, and James is just there. There wasn't anything special by James, he just sang the song and added a little bit, but not enough.
Judge's Comments=Harry-That's gotta be tough. Talented, but that was Caleb's wheelhouse. Did a pretty darn good job hanging in there. Keith-Did a great job hanging with the big dog. Likes the way he performed. Jennifer-Complimented each other. Obvious they like working together.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell & Scotty McCreery
(Gone-Montgomery Gentry)
I was skeptical at first at her singing this song, but she impressed me. She put some attitude in there and tried to do her own thing. This song was one of my favorites from Scotty in his season. It was nice, not great.  
Judge's Comments= Keith-Bizarre. No idea why she got saddled with the song. Song was good, but did nothing for her. Likes her a lot, but gotta forget that performance. Harry-No one in the competition that is in this lane that she is in. Unique. Very interesting gift. Better last night. Jennifer-Likes her. Won her over. Today was reinforced. Feels every moment, a real performer.

Jordan Sasser & Fantasia
( I  Believe-Fantasia)
Other than Summertime, I Believe is Fantasia's second most popular and famous songs from her run on the show. This was her winning song. It's so powerful and suits her so well. Jordan tried, he really did, but Fantasia's voice is just so darn good that it overshadows everything else. Simon Cowell has mentioned that Fantasia is his favorite contestant of all time, and I can see what he is saying. Even more than 10 years later she still is so good, so powerful, and a deserved winner. Jordan was better than last night, but still not good enough for the Top 14.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Her voice brings tears to her eyes. Doesn't even seem like she is trying. Did a good job, held his own. Harry-Doesn't wanna upstage his duet partner, he crossed right in front of her. Keith-Telling that the ones tonight is ones they don't get out of their lane. Fantasia was singing so strong that Jordan was trying to go all over the place to stay in her lane.

Going Home Predictions(Based on Last Night & Tonight)
1.Emily Brooke
2. Jenna Renae
3. James VIII
4.Gianna Isabella
5. Jordan Sasser

Actually Eliminated
1. Emily Brooke
2. Jenna Renae
3. James VIII
4. Stephany Negrete
5. Jordan Sasser

Elimination Thoughts
Gianna over Stephany or Jenna Renae was the biggest "shocker", but they were pretty hyped up about how young and talented she is. Other than that the correct contestants moved on, based on tonight, but mostly last night.

Final Thoughts
*Seeing these past Idol alum sing some of their most famous songs that made them famous and/or winners was outstanding, whoever thought of this idea gets a gold star. Now to be realistic do I think that these duets made any impression on if the judge's were gonna save someone or not? Nope. I think their mind up was made after their solo performances and past performances in Hollywood and other points. But it was still nice to see this idea come to fruition.

*Next week we will see some of my favorite Idol alum, Chris Daughtry, Hailey Reinhardt, David Cook are toward the top of my list of favorte Idol contestants ever. They each bring their own unique style, voice and creatitivity. Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, and Constantine Mourilis will also sing next week. So much more rock, and soul instead of country and R&B.

* It is interesting that each Idol alum paired up with at least one person that moved on. No Idol alum had both duet partners eliminated. Surprisingly, Nick Fradiani is the only Idol alum to have both his duet partner's move on, Thomas and Gianna. Might not have guessed that combination when it was written down. But there ya go. 

That's it. I can't wait until next week to see how the current Idol contestants do with their solo rounds and how they match up with the Idol alum. So until next time see ya!

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