Thursday, March 31, 2016

Top 3 Revealed & Perform: Hometown, Mentor and Judge's Choice

Welcome back. We are scarily close to the end of American Idol, I mean next Thursday April 7th is the final show....ever. Tonight is the last time we will see Hometown visits, which has been a staple of the show. This is also the last real non-special episode of American Idol if you want to get technical. I mean tonight is the last time we will be on the Hollywood stage, next week all the episodes will be at the Dolby Theater. Next Tuesday will be the Idol Retrospective Special where nearly 50 former contestants, winners and non-winners will return, along with familiar faces like past judges and mentors. Next Wednesday will be the reveal of the Top 2 and their performances, and next Thursday will be the Series Finale. It's real folks, I am excited and sad all rolled into one. We will post all of the past American Idol contestants slated to return next week in the Final Thoughts section below.

With all that said, last week we predicted MacKenzie and Dalton in the Bottom 2 with Dalton going home. There will be 3 rounds tonight. First is Hometown songs, second is Mentor Scott Borchetta's choice and third round is judge's choice. Lots of singing, and hometown visits to watch so let's get to it:

Weekly Rankings
Each week before the contestants perform we will post our rankings of the contestants. The criteria is based on 1. their success on the show, 2. personality, 3. judges & audience response and 4. belief that they could win. Each week we will do a new weekly ranking and let you know if they have risen, fallen or stayed flat in the rankings:
1. LaPorsha Renae (Same As Last Week)
2. Trent Harmon (Same As Last Week)
3. Mackenzie Bourg (Same As Last Week)  
4. Dalton Rappatoni (Predicted to Go Home) 

Round 1: Hometown Visit Songs

MacKenzie Bourg
(Hallelujah-Leonard Cohen)
He is from Lafayette, Louisiana. We are reminded that before MacKenzie was a singer he was a basketball star, but then he fell ill with heart and lung failure, and then thankfully recovered but devoted his time to singing. We see him visit his old high school, his grandmother, and MacKenzie even got to play in a pickup game at the school. Then we see him visit the Pediatric ward at the local hospital. It was there that MacKenzie got healthy.It's an inspiring story. The song has been performed on the Idol stage many times over the years, so it's not original that way, but it means a lot to MacKenzie so that's something. It's just him and his guitar, no band, no big graphics behind him. It's a nice, pretty job by him, there was definitely a lot of emotion in the lyrics.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Such a great song. Superb. Jennifer-Can see the finish line. Showed all of his strength. Classic MacKenzie. Harry-It seemed he has gone full circle because it was similar to the audition, has grown but condensed it into a singular powerful performance.

Dalton Rapattoni
(Calling You-Blue October)
He is from Dallas, Texas. We see him visit his grandmother at her beauty shop, and then we see Dalton get his hair dyed by her. We see him go back to the School of Rock, where he worked. He gets pretty emotional to visit his home. I never heard of the song that Dalton sang but he was definitely in his groove. The band was louder than his voice at points, but it was a really solid performance.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Looked like it all sink in. Felt a difference in his performance, had freedom here. Harry-Do really well with great lyrics, likes the arrangement on this one. Likes how he thinks about the words. Keith-Focused on what he does best. So in his zone and in his lane.

Trent Harmon
(Tennessee Whiskey-Chris Stapleton) 
He is from Amory, Mississippi. We see him visit his family and his family's restaurant. Then we see him go back to his school, his church and get a parade in which he rode down Main Street on a tractor. I like this song choice, it was cool, it fit his voice. At the end of the performance Ryan brings out Trent's family that hasn't come to see him perform live in the audience before, due to superstitions.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Great at arcing these performances. His voice is so unique and special. Fantastic performance. Keith-Finding a song that brings out strongest qualities is important and that was a bulls-eye. Jennifer-Felt so easy. Hitting his stride at the right time. Believes he can be in the Final 2. 
La'Porsha Renae
(Glory-Common & John Legend)
She is from McComb,Mississippi. The first place she goes to is the place where she learned to love singing and be great at it. The next stop is a Domestic Violence Women's Shelter. She tells us that many women have reached out to tell her how inspiring she is and encouraging it has been for them to leave a bad situation like she did. Then she gets to visit her home and her adorable little baby girl. Then she gets a parade in her hometown and her little baby starts waving to the screaming fans at them, so cute. The song she sang tonight was last year's Oscar winner for Best Song for the movie Selma. It was different from the original in that it had drummers, and the back-up singers doing basically a gospel version in the background. It was pretty epic. Very very good.Keith gives her a standing ovation.  
Judge's Comments=Keith=Gift is so strong and pure. An incredible, moving performance. Felt like he had a baptism. Jennifer-Picking great songs that are inspirational. Great performance. Harry-Many of her performances are critique-proof category. Loved it. Admires that she has incredible elegance and grace which is very important in a young woman.

Top 3 Revealed
1st Safe= Trent Harmon
2nd Safe=Dalton Rapattoni
3rd Safe=La'Porsha Renae

Going Home
MacKenzie Bourg. He had an amazing run on the show. He was never bad, but was never the best. He fell kind of in the middle zone and that is probably what led him to going home at 4th place. The remaining artists are very different, very distinct one way or another, MacKenzie never took the next step to be unique. He is a great songwriter, and can be a great artist. Nice 4th place finish by him.

Round 2: Mentor Scott Borchetta's Choice

Dalton Rapattoni 
(Dancing in the Dark-Bruce Springsteen)
On paper this was a weird choice. But this is a rock song, and Dalton put his own spin on it and made it more hard rock. It was a great arrangement. Jennifer Lopez was jumping up and down in her seat for this song. I enjoyed it. Very clever arrangement, nice vocals. Nice job.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Didn't know what to expect with that song. Did great all on his own. Takes the lyrics and makes us feel them, that's his gift. Sounded fresh and new. Harry-First half was early 80s new wave. Loved it. Ability to take a lyric and make it home to trump any vocal deficits. Keith-Reminding people at home that he is who he is and makes him an individual.

 La'Porsha Renae
(Stay With Me-Lorraine Ellison)
I never heard this song, but it doesn't matter she sings it flawlessly as if I had heard it a thousand times before. I really got into the song. The runs she does in the song, the notes she hits, just ridiculous. So out of this world. Her daughter in the audience claps for her mother. La'Porsha didn't like the song because she didn't like the message of the song about a woman begging her man to stay with her. She had to be in character throughout the song.
Judge's Comments=Harry-That was a character she was playing. It was an amazing performance. First time where she didn't believe it whole-heartily. Keith-Vocal killed it. Jennifer-Can sing the mess out of it, and she did. 

 Trent Harmon
(Drink You Away-Justin Timberlake)
Justin Timberlake has never allowed any of his songs to be on American Idol, until this one. I mean there are some really good Timberlake songs, this one is alright. Trent and Justin Timberlake have that falsetto thing going on so it's cool that they matched up. I don't know if I love the song for Trent, though on paper it makes a ton of sense. It's very start and stop and I like when Trent goes for a little more. I liked it, I did, just didn't love it. Jennifer gives Trent a standing ovation.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Didn't need the guitar. Jennifer-That is singing to win. Has a vision to win. Performances like that get him there. Harry-Background singers are clapping for him. Hangs with the musicians.

Keith Urban Performs
He performed. It was very Keith Urban like. He had like a double guitar thing, one was an electric guitar the other was like a banjo sounding guitar. It was very cool.

Round 3: Judge's Choice

Dalton Rapattoni
(Everybody Wants To Rule The World-Tears For Fears)
I have had the same critique about Dalton the past few weeks, sometimes he gets too theatrical, everything just seems to planned out. There are some moments that are organic and those are the best ones, but sometimes the way he looks into the camera, into the crowd, at the judges is just too planned out and it comes off a is lucky he did well, and got good critiques on his last performance. But not having a great performance for your last performance could be costly. It's the last thing that people remember, especially when the other two contestants sang just as well as him. We'll see what happens with Trent and La'Porsha.  
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Key could have been higher for him. Felt a little too low at times. The brightness of his voice was lost in that rendition. Harry-Changed the chords and liked that. Had 2 strong performances, this is not the best one. Keith-The key should have been higher, when it was down the energy dropped, did have two killer performances prior. 

La'Porsha Renae
The judges wanted to force La'Porsha to make a song that is so immensely popular that she'd be forced to change it up. Also, Harry is holding La'Porsha's baby and Jennifer is playing with her. That baby is all over the place, and so good. Anyways, La'Porsha did change it. She slowed it down, she has violinists behind her and it's beautiful. Her voice is quite different from Adele, so that innately helps make it different from the original. It's not quite fair to compare the biggest artist out there to La'Porsha but she measured up as well as she could. Right now everyone has the original in their minds, and La'Porsha was very good, but the Adele version is still there. But again, Harry handed off La'Porsha's baby to her, and she was just sucking on her little pacifier and smiling. Tough to vote against all of that.  
Judge's Comments=Harry-That was beautiful. Keith-It was beautiful. Jennifer-Liked that it stretched her range. Nice to see her reach.

Trent Harmon
(Waiting Game-Parson James)
I never heard of the song, nor the artist. So you went from the most popular, well known artist in Adele to someone the general public probably isn't aware of. That doesn't mean anything, just saying. The song has all the right things in it for Trent, nice melody, falsetto, nice lyrics, nice job. Much better than last time.
Judge's Comments= Keith-Loved this song for him. Tailor made for him. Jennifer-Got goosies. So beautiful. Perfect song. Killed it. Harry-Nice job. Might be last critique on this stage for sure. Honor to critique him who is an extraordinary talent. Great night by all. 

Going Home Predictions
1. Dalton Rapattoni. His last performance just wasn't so good despite his first two performances being great. Not a lot of wiggle room for a bad moment.

Best of Night
La'Porsha. I think Dalton and Trent were great on 2 out of 3 songs, but faltered on one. La'Porsha was strong on all 3.

Final Thoughts
*Tonight was a great Final 3 night. I think there was some wonderful performances out there, by all 3 contestants. Right now with as good as La'Porsha has been all season it would be tough to not see her winning, but crazier things have happened.

*American Idol History Fact: In 14 prior seasons there have been 7 times that the Final 3 was 2 men and 1 women. In those 7 times, 5 times did the woman make it to the Final 2, but 0 times did a female beat the male when it was that combination of people. In fact out of the 3 female winners to go up against a male in the finale, (Kelly v Justin), (Carrie v Bo Bice) and (Jordin v Blake Lewis) they had a Top 3 that comprised of 2 females and 1 male. The other two female winners Fantasia and Candice Glover had an all female Top 3. So lots of crazy history for La'Porsha to battle against.

*Next week is it. This is the last regular Thursday episode ever. Next Thursday will be the series finale of the show and the last American Idol will be crowned. Which artist will bookend Kelly Clarkson, I guess we will know soon enough. If you have come to IdolBeTheJudge once or every week don't miss next Tuesday-Thursday when we will have all the coverage you want and need.

*Confirmed Winner's names to appear on next week's American Idol:
Kelly Clarkson – Season 1 Winner. Ruben Studdard – Season 2 Winner. 
Fantasia – Season 3 Winner. Carrie Underwood – Season 4 Winner.
Taylor Hicks – Season 5 Winner. Jordin Sparks – Season 6 Winner.
David Cook – Season 7 Winner. Kris Allen – Season 8 Winner.
Lee DeWyze – Season 9 Winner. Scotty McCreery – Season 10 Winner.
Candice Glover – Season 12 Winner. Caleb Johnson – Season 13 Winner.
Nick Fradiani – Season 14 Winner.
(The missing winner is Season 11′s Phillip Phillips)

*Confirmed Non Winner's/Finalists names to appear next week:
Ace Young. Allison Iraheta. Amber Holcomb.
Blake Lewis. Bo Bice. Bucky Covington.
Brandon Rogers. Casey James. Carly Smithson.
Chris Daughtry. Clark Beckham. Clay Aiken.
Colton Dixon. Constantine Maroulis. Danny Gokey.
Diana DeGarmo. Elliott Yamin. George Huff.
James Durbin. Jennifer Hudson. Jessica Sanchez.
Joshua Ledet. Justin Guarini. Katharine McPhee.
Kellie Pickler. Kimberley Locke. Kree Harrison.
LaToya London. Lauren Alaina. Melinda Doolittle.
Pia Toscano. Sanjaya. Skylar Lane. Tamyra Gray

That's it. Come on back here next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the last week of American Idol. So much past history to cover, so much new history to happen. I mentioned earlier that it's exciting and sad at the same time, and that's what it is. Can't wait. So until next time, see ya!

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