Thursday, March 10, 2016

Top 6 Revealed and Perform: Most Performed Songs on Idol Ever

Welcome back. Last week began the first of 2 weeks of double eliminations, therefore, tonight is the final double elimination. After tonight only 6 contestants will remain. As a reminder the Series Finale of American Idol is only 1 month from tonight, April 7th, so there is a lot to get to in a short amount of time. We predicted that this week both Lee Jean and Tristan McIntosh would be eliminated with Avalon Young rounding out the Bottom 3 but not going home.

The contestants are performing "The Most Performed Songs on Idol". I know this is the last season so there has been and will continue to be a lot of retrospectives and reflection on great contestants and performances, but this is also a competition, so hearing a song we have heard a lot on the show is a very boring and non-creative approach. Almost always, anytime a contestant tries to recreate what a past contestant has sung or done in the past it doesn't work out. We'll see how it goes tonight. We'll take note during each contestant's performance summary some of the notable contestants that have sung that song before.

So with all that said, let's get on with the show:

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. Dalton Rapattoni  (Up 1 From Last Week)
3. Trent Harmon (Up 3 Spots From Last Week)  
4. Sonika Vaid (Down 2 Spots From Last Week)  
5. MacKenzie Bourg  (Same As Last Week)
6. Avalon Young   (Same As Last Week)
7. Lee Jean  (We Predict Will Be Eliminated)
8. Tristan McIntosh(We Predict Will Be Eliminated)

Tonight the Final 8 pair up with each other and perform duets. These duets really mean nothing. We don't vote on them, but I guess they could potentially sway the judges in their ultimate vote. But basically these are just time fillers because there are only 8 performers remaining for a 2-hour show.

Duet 1
La'Porsha & Trent
(See You Again-Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth)
There voices are very different, as La'Porsha said Trent's voice is actually higher than hers and she is a female. It was a nice duet because they both have great voices.
Judge's Comments=Keith-The perfect song. It played to both of their strengths, and they worked well together. Jennifer-The whole thing was magical. It was great. Harry-Loved that they sang the rap part. Voices blended so well together. Great way to start the show.

Duet 2
Avalon and Sonika
(Rise Up-Andra-Day)
These girls are close friends, and now they get to sing together. They are very different singers. Sonika has a power voice and Avalon is more smooth and R&B. I don't like this song choice. There are so many real duets that would have been easier to sing, but they chose a non-duet song that really isn't that well know. I don't think it benefited either of them too much. They sang it, it wasn't bad, just didn't do anything for me.  
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-You're voices are so angelic and together there was so much pushing to be better. Would've liked a little more and let loose. Harry-Avalon is rhythmic and Sonika is more melodic. The song benefited Avalon in that song. Laid in the pocket for her. Sonika's voice is breathtaking. Keith-Different strengths. Great to see the two of them together.

Duet 3 

Mackenzie & Dalton
(I Want It That Way-Backstreet Boys)
This song was intended to go straight to the female fans, even Scott Borchetta claimed that MacKenzie and Dalton were the heartthrobs of the show. I hate when the producers try to push something like that. They made the song more mellow to fit MacKenzie's voice and it brought Dalton down. He had no energy and was kind of sleepy, at points I couldn't hear some of the lyrics, and I know all the lyrics of this one. MacKenzie was more in his lane so it worked out better for him, but not by much.  
Judge's Comments=Harry-Not sure who picked that song. But did not think that was a good song. The main reason was they don't know what they are singing. The lyrics don't make sense. Very hard to sing a song when they don't know what they are singing. Not good for them. Keith-Completely agrees. Doing a cover is not his strong suit. Attempting to work together didn't benefit either of them. Jennifer-Wondered what they would do with it, in theory it was great, because they are cute and the girls love them, but it was the wrong song. They should have identified that. 

Duet 4
Tristan and Lee
(I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing-Aerosmith)
This song has been done to death on American Idol. It was done at least 3 or 4 times, probably more. I mean Steven Tyler was on the judging panel for a couple years, so that makes sense. I like what Tristan did to the song to make it more country. Lee sounded off, kind of off the beat. Supposedly Lee was sick this week, but he just sounded really off pitch. Tristan did what she could do with it, so she did the best of the two, by far.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Love the song, but hard to find a song that fits them. Did as well as they could. Jennifer-Tristan's voice shined and hit all the notes, Lee hung in there, but it wasn't the right thing. They are adorable together. Harry-The problem was in the arrangement, the slow rock thing didn't work. Should've looked at each other, and sang to each other. Nothing special. It was very boring and bland and it didn't have to be. 

Top 5 Revealed & Perform

La'Porsha Renae 
(Come Together-The Beatles)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Kris Allen, Candice Glover, Carly Smithson, Qaasim Middleton, Sam Woolf)
This song has been done many times, but I really enjoy the grit and soul that La'Porsha put into this version. It was different, but still in character with who she is. I love that she got to move around the stage, she had been stuck at the microphone for awhile, but she played with the audience, with Harry a little bit, it was great. La'Porsha can do anything she wants to at this point. She just can.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Gave full Diva. Loves it. Certain performers make you feel cool, she does that. Great performance. Harry-Can make sense out of those lyrics. Absolutely incredible, and been that since the first day. Keith-Blessing to the late great George Martin. Any song is great for her.

MacKenzie Bourg
(You Are So Beautiful)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Taylor Hicks, Jessica Sanchez, Danny Gokey, Rayvon Owen)
This was a great song choice for MacKenzie. He was able to stay in his lane, but not be so singer/songwriter. He was trying to stretch out his voice and make a moment. I think the performance had really nice moments. He had the fog, the violinists at his side, it was very sweet.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Couldn't have picked a more better song than that one. No matter who he sang to, but seemed really connected. Well done. Keith-Picked the song, because he knows who he is. Made it seem like he wrote that song, sounded brand new. Jennifer-Is a crooner but indie rock, it's a beautiful mix. The way he picks songs is the key to being so good.Grade=B+

Alumni Performance
Nick Fradiani, last season's winner is back on the stage. He is singing his new song "Get You Home". It featured the lyrics "You Want It, You Got It", from the song "Bust A Move" by Young MC. It was an interesting song. I enjoyed it. I could see it doing well for him. It has definite radio appeal.

Trent Harmon
(Stand By Me-Ben E. King)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Phillip Phillips, Bo Bice, David Archuletta, Danny Gokey)
He took this song to a very different place. He kept the essence of the original song, but also put some gospel-ness into it, which allowed him to really get into the song. The guy has a lot of soul and rhythm. His falsetto is just crazy sometimes. He has a great groove and stage presence.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Good example of how much he has grown. The way he looks, and moves and is aware. Jennifer-Knew he was a badass from the moment she saw him. Loves what he does with his voice. Doesn't know if audience knows how big of a badass he is. Thinks he looks cool, but misses the scarves and the hats and all that. Harry-Was really great. Gave himself a lot of opportunities to have fun with it. Has great time and needs to sink into the rhythm even more.

Tristan McIntosh
(A Broken Wing-Martina McBride)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Jordin Sparks)
Tristan is just gonna be this season's contestant that knocks out other great contestants and really doesn't deserve her spot, but is just good enough to get by every week. Look, like I said last week, her doing country is attracting people who like country, no other singer is grabbing those votes, so she is playing to her audience and strengths. The song she sings tonight starts off pretty low and is that way for awhile. I don't think the song did much for her. The higher notes are her strengths and when she is there it's actually quite lovely. But again, it's a mixed bag. There was some really nice, strong moments, but then some very weak, duller moments. The ending was super strong, so that always helps the overall performance seem better.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Has such a perfectly suited country voice. That's exactly what she needs to do. Harry-Loves when she sings country. Questions Tristan on the song. Keith-Right song for her. Great job. 

Dalton Rapattoni
(Eleanor Rigby-The Beatles)
(Sang in Past Seasons by David Cook, Paul Jolley, Michael Lynche)
Dalton is a self-proclaimed big David Cook fan, and this was one of Cook's more famous songs on the Idol stage. I felt at times Dalton was out of breath, like the lyrics were cut short at points. Dalton definitely took some cues from David Cook's version of this song. He did put some of his own spin on the song, but he stayed more on that path rather then making it completely his own. I would have enjoyed that. The last notes were very strong, and powerful and were angry. I enjoyed that part a ton.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Great song choice, great key. Pushed it as high as he could. Keith-Great song. The theatrical part of him brought out the dark undercurrent of that song. Jennifer-Loved it because it was so him. Loved the end because he shied away from the big note, but went for it and nailed it, and it was so awesome. 

Bottom 3 Revealed & Perform

Avalon Young 
(P.Y.T(Pretty Young Thing)-Michael Jackson)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Danny Gokey)
It's unfortunate that Avalon hasn't connected with the audience. Last week she was in Bottom 3 and saved by the judges, by being in the Bottom 3, especially with Sonika it's gonna be tough. Despite that I liked the song choice. It was cool. She's cool. But it is the same thing every week.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Confused she keeps being in the Bottom 3. Hopes she can make an emotional connection with the audience. Jennifer-A natural performer. Wonders why she keeps making the Bottom 3. If she makes it wants her to go out of her comfort zone. Harry-Would be nice to see her sing a ballad. She's cool and voice is incredible, but there needs to be more rhythmic, just strolls around. The band is strong and she needs to move more.

Lee Jean
(Let It Be-The Beatles)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Brooke White, Jax, Katie Stevens, Burnell Taylor)
This is the fourth Beatles song tonight and it was by far the worst performance of the night. He just struggled so very much. I know he is sick, or was sick, but it's a struggle to get out some of these notes. The notes were shaky, all over the place and just not there for him tonight. Bad time for his worst performance.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Has so much going for him, style, personality, liked this performance. Not sure if it's enough. There has to be more composure, and it was shaky. Harry-Very emotional, is smart, commits, but was very sharp, because he has great ears. Pitch was a big issue. Keith-Trying to reign the nerves in is tough. Tone is gorgeous, has time to work on all the other stuff.

Sonika Vaid
(I Have Nothing-Whitney Houston)
(Sang in Past Seasons by Jessica Sanchez, Jennifer Hudson, Trenyce, Katherine McPhee, Lakisha Jones)
The fact that Sonika is in the Bottom 3 is a shame. She wasn't great last week, but not Bottom 3 worthy. Doesn't make a ton of sense, but here she is. If you look at the roster of people that sang this song prior to Sonika it's insane. Jessica Sanchez, Jennifer Hudson, Katherine McPhee, some of the more notable Idol contestants. I will never say that anyone topped Jessica Sanchez in singing that version, because it can't be topped, but Sonika tried. She did a nice job, she did. I think she could have went even harder on some of the big notes. I didn't get pumped for the song, or jump out of my seat. But she deserves a spot in the Top 6.
Judge's Comments=Harry-That is a high risk, high reward song. Loved it. Keith-Gorgeous. Wants her to keep releasing and letting go. Jennifer-Such a hard song to sing. Did a good job with it.

Sonika Vaid

Going Home
1.Lee Jean
2. Avalon Young

Best of Night
Trent Harmon. I think between his duet with La'Porsha, and his own solo, he gets the best of the night award. He is getting better every week and is now a threat to win this whole thing. 

Bottom 2/Going Home Predictions for Next Week
1. Tristan McIntosh (Going Home)
2. Sonika Vaid

Final Thoughts
*This was an up and down night. I liked many performances, but thought there were some underwhelming ones as well. Sonika did deserve to stay in the competition but her save me song was lacking. I think Dalton got a little too much praise on an arrangment that David Cook basically did in Season 7. I think Trent and La'Porsha were great tonight, and they both can easily face off against one another in the finale.

*On a weird note 3 out of the 8 songs performed tonight were also sung by Danny Gokey in his season. Just sayin.

*There's actually not a lot to say about tonight. Tristan should have went home over Avalon, but it is what it is. Once you land in the Bottom 3 twice it's tough to rebound from that, she was due to go home soon, so might as well be tonight. We'll see how far Tristan can go from here.

That's it. It was a decent night, for a Top 6 it's a decent one. There are 3 guys, and 3 girls left. We'll see how it all shakes out. Come on back here next Thursday, until then see ya!

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