Friday, March 25, 2016

Top 4 Revealed & Perform: Sia Songbook & American Rock

Welcome back. We are down to our Final 5, and after tonight only 4 will remain with the finale 2 weeks from tonight.. Tonight the contestants will sing both Sia songs and American Rock songs, so that is a scope of different genres for sure. They will be mentored by Sia for her songs, and then she will perform her new song. For American Rock the mentor will be Steven Van Zandt from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Two not so bad mentors this week.

Last week we predicted that Sonika and Dalton would be in the Bottom 2 with Sonika being voted off. Remember, this week there are no judge's saves, so whoever is the lowest vote getter will go home. No one but Sonika has been in the Bottom 3 or 2 so it will be interesting to see who lands there with her, if she is the one to land there. Tonight one of my favorite American Idols, David Cook, will be performing, so I am happy to see him again. Also performing is Season 5 Runner-Up/now turned actress Katherine McPhee. A lot of show to get to. So with all that said 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 (Same As Last Week) 
5. Sonika Vaid  (Predicted to Go Home)

Round 1: American Rock Songs

La'Porsha Renae
(Wanted Dead or Alive-Bon Jovi)
In no way is La'Porsha a rock singer, but she is gonna do her thing. This song is lyrically not that suited for her, but she wants to take on the challenge of making it her own. She comes out fierce, with a new hairstyle, but her voice is the same. She just is so good, she can do whatever she wants to when she has a voice like that. Steven VanZandt said that La'Porsha gets away with singing this song because she is that good, and I agree. Obviously, last week was stronger, but this was still quite good.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Love when took a song that is different for her. Soul and swagger. Jennifer-So left from being a cowboy. So undeniable, can sing the phonebook and be phenomenal. Harry-Ability as a singer transcends genre. Changed vibrato to slow it down. Crazy to do that. Really crazy skill.

MacKenzie Bourg
(I Want You To Want Me-Cheap Trick)
Steven didn't like MacKenzie's initial version, but wanted him to go far away from the original and do his own thing.  He definitely did his own thing, it was slowed down and fit MacKenzie's voice and style. I like the creativity, but it was a little boring at points. When the band kicked in a little more it was better, but it was a little mixed for me. Lost a little momentum with this performance..
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Not sure if she loves how much he "MacKenzie-ed" it. Wasn't as exciting as she wanted it to be. Harry-The original has more energy and he made it slowed down because it loss some of the immediacy. It was alright. Wanted him to get more energy. Vocal was fine.
Keith-Hated the arrangement. Needs to do it or strip it way down, ended in the middle and it did nothing for him.

Alumni Performance #1
As I mentioned earlier, David Cook is one of my Top 3 favorite winners. He was one of the most creative, consistent, and deserved winners in American Idol history. He will be back in 2 weeks for the finale but tonight he is singing his new single "Heartbeat". Behind David is the video screen with clips of all the other past Idol winners and their winning moments. They are really bringing on the emotion now. Those winning moments are special and I have watched all 14 prior and will be here for one more in a couple weeks. His song was very him, and that's all you can ask for.

Trent Harmon
(Sharp Dressed Man-ZZ Top)
Steven liked how Trent switched it up and make it more "swampy" and less like a cover.  Right from the get-go the song didn't sound anything like the original. The first half of the song just had groove and was so cool. It picked up towards the original a little more than half way, but it still had elements of that "swampy"/country-ness that is very Trent. I enjoyed this performance a lot. It was a full performance. His voice was crazy good on this one. Keith and Jennifer give him a standing ovation.
Judge's Comments=Harry-So content with the groove, but was brilliant because he did the slow and fast parts so so well. Really smart. Keith-So freaking good. This point of the competition he needs a performance that has his strongest attributes stands out and he did that. 10 out of 10. Jennifer-Waiting for him to have this kind of performance. That is what everyone was waiting for. 

Bottom 2
Dalton Rapattoni
Sonika Vaid

Going Home
Sonika Vaid. She doesn't get to sing any of the songs that she prepared all week, although they do play the Sia song that Sonika recorded for ITunes under her "Goodbye" video package. I am so disappointed in Sonika's run on this show. She started off strong, then disappeared for awhile, but came on super strong with her rendition of "Bring Me To Life" just a few weeks ago. After that though she lost all of her steam, lost her confidence and either played it safe or underperformed. It was an unfortunate run.

Dalton Rappattoni
(God Only Knows-Beach Boys)
Initially Dalton was going to sing "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes. After being consulted by Steven and Scott Borchetta he switched it to this song. When I think of American Rock bands I don't think of Beach Boys and I don't think of "God Only Knows". But Scott tried to get Dalton to do several rock songs but Dalton couldn't connect. The problem with Dalton is sometimes he gets too theatrical. There is a perfect balance that he has done before but has been lacking. This song is one of the best written songs of all time, just so beautiful, but not a rock song. He is didn't even try to make the song into a rock song. He kept it mellow and melancholy, it was too much, but not enough. I take away points for not being in the right genre. I mean I am sure La'Porsha would have loved not to sing a rock song, but she had to.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Impressed that he chose that song. Jennifer-Really beautiful. Great that he took the advice to switch it up. Harry-That was the most complex in terms of harmonies and melodies, it showed his vulnerabilities, but it worked. 

Alumni Performance #2

As Ryan Seacrest aptly described, Katherine McPhee's signature moment and song was singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and now 10 years later she has come back to the Idol stage to sing it again. Amazing stuff. McPhee is easily in the Top 10 discussion of most successful post-Idol careers for a  non-Idol winning contestant. Katherine's voice is still so good, I love that she came back to the show and the fact that she sang this song gave me chills. Now I am getting kinda sad, I don't know how I am going to handle 2 weeks with all those Idol alums coming back. It's gonna be crazy.

Round 2: Sia Songbook

La'Porsha Renae
(Elastic Heart-Sia)
I love this song choice, it has high parts, it has a story. It's great.As mentioned, Sia is helping the contestants this week, while they sing her songs.Sia wrote "Diamonds" a song that Sia sang a couple weeks ago, Sia gives La'Porsha a ton of credit for that. Sia got emotional over La'Porsha singing her song. This performance was even more fierce and cool than her first performance. It grooved, it was perfect for her. She made me really hear the lyrics for the first time if that makes sense. She really meant every word. I love the two drummers beside her, it made the whole performance just so cool.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Right now she is a fully realized artist. Just watching, not even judging. She is so amazing. Has so much control and command. Has grown and has come to another place. Harry-Sang in her head-voice. So good. Keith-Has raw talent but is now a performer. 

MacKenzie Bourg
(Titanium-David Guetta featuring Sia)
The way that MacKenzie switches up songs to fit his voice will work with this kind of song that on paper, doesn't make a ton of sense.Sia not only is a great singer, but is a great writer and collaborator, so she guides MacKenzie into the right lane for this song and his voice and style. She pushes MacKenzie to hit the high note in the song. MacKenzie does his thing and does hit the higher note, but still stays in line. He stripped the song down pretty well. There were a couple off moments, but it was really nice, and sweet and tender and showed a lot of emotion. Good job.
Judge's Comments=Harry-It was nice. Irritates him that he made the song into all about that note and hitting it. It's about the song not just the note. Keith-Liked that he rode through the moment. Made it a singer-songwriter moment. Jennifer-It was great that Sia made him go for the notes. Can keep pushing. It made everyone cheer.

Guest Performance
Sia sings her new song "Cheap Thrills" while accompanied by her usual dancers that do their interpretive dance that I never fully understand. I like the song, I still don't get the fact that we can't see Sia's face, but whatever, she is a great performer, songwriter, mentor, all around artist.

Trent Harmon
This is an interesting song choice for sure.He calls seeing Sia like seeing a unicorn. Sia switched up the song to fit Trent and have him sing the correct notes at the correct time. He makes it his own, it is a piano-led version of the song, violin accompaniment, all that subtle stuff. Sia made the right call, and Trent did too, it was amazing. This was no cover, it was beautiful, it was emotional, it was perfect. I loved his last performance but this one had a different level too. Trent is peaking at the right point.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Beautiful. Played to all his strengths and specialness. Exquisite. Jennifer-Whole different person than the first song. Can do anything. He is two different people, but his voice is consistent. Can sing anything. Harry-Phenomenal. Felt like he was completely in another world. So artfully sang that song. 100 out of 100.

Dalton Rapattoni
(Bird Set Free-Sia)
Out of all the Sia songs performed tonight I am least familiar with this one. Sia just wants Dalton to let go. Sia feels connected to Dalton because the two of them are both bi-polar, so they bond over that. I liked this performance, didn't love it. I thought he sounded a little out of tune at points, some of the parts of the song were kind of scream-y or mono-tone. It was good. It was funny that there were lyrics that said "I don't care if I sound off-key" and Dalton kind of sounded off key at points.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Loved how he let go. Singing allows him to let go. Harry-This is favorite Sia song because this song had best match up with a singer. Sure liked it. Keith-Up against some insane singers but he pushes through his limitations.

Bottom 2/Going Home Predictions
2. Dalton-Predicted to Go Home

Best of The Night
Trent Harmon. Jennifer said it best that Trent is like two different people. He really can sing that groovy, soul, kind of stuff, and then sing some beautiful, tender, emotional stuff. He did that beautifully tonight.

Final Thoughts
*I think La'Porsha and Trent are making it hard for Dalton and MacKenzie to make it to that finale. It's really looking like it is their finale to lose because we are almost at the end and the two of them are still so amazing.

*IDOL HISTORY NOTE.....Given how everyone was upset that there was an extra girl in the Top 10, and there was so much hype about the girls and little about the boys this season, well people must have forgotten it's American Idol and like always, there is 1 girl left and 3 guys. In the 15 seasons, including this one, there have been 7 previous times when there was 3 males and 1 female contestant left out of the Top 4. Those seasons are: Season 2, Season 5, Season 7, Season 8, Season 9, Season 14 and now Season 15. In those previous 6 seasons not one time did that female win the show. So if La'Porsha wants to win she will have to face the odds in so many ways.

*2 weeks. We are 2 weeks away from ending the show. It's getting real now folks.

That's it. Come on back next week where we learn which 3 contestants will make it to the final week in American Idol history. It's nuts. So until next time, see ya!

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