Thursday, March 3, 2016

Top 8 Revealed and Perform: Grammy Songs

Welcome back. After the Top 10 was finally revealed we are back tonight to reveal the Top 8. That's right, the next couple weeks will feature double eliminations. This is due to FOX's decision to have American Idol end its run in April, rather than in May. We chose Tristan and Gianna as our picks to be eliminated from the show, they both looked and sounded way too inexperienced when compared to some of the other people left in the competition. Below, just as we have done for several years now, we have posted our weekly rankings 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     2. Sonika Vaid    3. Dalton Rapattoni   4. MacKenzie Bourg  5. Avalon Young  6. Trent Harmon
7. Olivia Rox  8. Lee Jean 9. Tristan McIntosh(We Predict Will Be Eliminated) 10. Gianna Isabella (We Predict Will Be Eliminated)

New Elimination Process
So in the final season of American Idol the producers have decided to NOT let the American audience fully decide who goes home every week. Instead the American audience voted last week and a Bottom 3 was created, the judge's will then pick 1 out of those 3 contestants to SAVE. So even if a contestant potentially has the lowest amount of votes from the home audience they could be back next week. I really don't know if I like this at all. Sure it could prevent someone great from being eliminated, but it also takes the ultimate power away from the home audience, which has been the staple of this show since Day 1. I know there have been Judge's Saves in the past, but this is pretty different. We will discuss this more in our Final Thoughts.

Top 7 Perform

 Dalton Rapattoni
(Radioactive-Imagine Dragons)
First saved was Dalton, and he looked pretty shocked. I mean he wasn't gonna be eliminated tonight, so it was a little faux reaction, but good he made Top 8. I don't like the arrangement of this song. It was different from the original, which he always does, but it didn't do anything for me this time. Jennifer Lopez was bopping along, so she seemed into it, I didn't feel anything for this one.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Loved that America saw him through. Didn't think that was a good choice for him, likes when he does his own things. Jennifer- Understands the art of the show. Wants him to be better every week, not worrying about other people. Harry-Wondering if the fog is Radioactive. Has incredibly sincerity. Reminds him of Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day). First time he thought that he wasn't as present, in his head. A certain electricity was missing.

Lee Jean
(Use Somebody-Kings of Leon)
I give him credit for choosing a song that isn't from a singer/songwriter this time.  The band tended to swallow him up at times. His voice just isn't that strong, despite him trying to switch it up and not be so predictable. He even stopped singing at the microphone with his guitar and grabbed the mic and went to the audience, so he gets an A for effort, but not sure about vocals.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer-Likes the choice, but still thinks he can stretch himself. Should practice more outside of his comfort zone. Harry-Really smart choice. Strong. Watching him grow and enthusiasm. Keith- Didn't think that was a good song for him if he did something different with it that suited his voice. Likes that he played, ripped the mic, is stretching himself.

Demi Lovato Performs With Top 10 and then Solo
She performed with the Top 10. It was not very memorable until Sonika and LaPorsha were on stage on their own and had a little part of the song that was amazing. Right now, if those two were in the finale I wouldn't be mad at it at all. Demi then performed a song on her own.

Sonika Vaid
(Since U Been Gone-Kelly Girlfriend)
She said she had a revelation to have an alter ego before she performs, so she can be a badass. She decides to channel that again. Last week was a revelation for her, this week was less than that but still very good. She looked a little more in her head at points, especially the softer moments. The song she sang last week had less soft notes, so it didn't allow her to think. I think this is her lane, more angsty songs, she just as to actually get more angsty in her delivery.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Extremely talented. The break right before the hook fell flat and needed more power. Was waiting for more of her vulnerability. Keith- Wanted more attitude. Really good singer. Wanted more fire and angry girlfriend. Jennifer- Felt a little more controlled. Didn't feel the same as last week. She has to get lost in the character and then just let go and not worry about the notes.

MacKenzie Bourg
(I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)-Whitney Houston)
This song choice was amazing. Very clever. I like that he chose a female's song, it was really smart. It was good, it didn't do a lot for me. I am not gonna buy this song on ITunes, or possibly remember it next week, but it was a solid MacKenzie song. I enjoyed parts of it, I didn't like a few other sections. It was good, but not great.
Judge's Comments= Keith-That was good. Liked it. Great thing in his voice is that it just breathes and releases. Really cool idea. Jennifer- That switch up worked. Never imagined the song that way. Can let go a little more with his voice. Harry- That was an amazing song choice. Thought it was fine. Would have went the other way to the other side and play it acoustic. Wants him to be really different and special. Would've thought of a more inventive way to do it.

La'Porsha Renae 
You really can't say that La'Porsha doesn't know her voice, she has done some big vocalists in recent weeks, Tina Turner, Rihanna, Beyonce, I mean not easy to take famous songs by those artists and make it your own but LaPorsha is good at it. Her voice, the band, the background visuals, the mist/fog in the room, the way she was dressed all just worked. She hit some crazy runs with the band, but right at the end the band dropped out and she just did a little acapella. Crazy how she controlled that stage. She felt it, and worked it.
Judge's Comments= Jennifer- Love watching her come into her own every week. Really the one to beat. Just so talented and blessed. Harry-Every time she sings he is urged to consider the song from a different perspective. Also a kind of master of arcing a song. Knows how to give a song a beginning, middle and end. Keith-Fascinating that she is phenomenal, but has to remember to perform and it took half way through the song to forget how she was dressed and everything that was around.

Harry Connick Jr Performs
He sings a song for his wife. I didn't really like the song, but I always think Harry is a good performer. I didn't really love the song, but it is what it is.

Trent Harmon
(When A Man Loves A Woman-Michael Bolton)
Scott Borchetta, the Idol in-house mentor, told Trent that he has to work on the crazy faces he makes while performing. Trent was unaware of the faces he made, it's a bad habit. Scott told him to look into the mirror to practice the song and stop the faces and be more relaxed.  Those facial expressions took away from his vocals, so I am glad this was addressed. He is a good looking guy, and this performance showed that off a little more. Trent put a lot of soul and heart into this performance. He took an older song and made it current. Really nice performance.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Loves his voice, and especially on high sustained notes. Wants him to stop with the long-jaw vibrato, because it could hurt his voice. Keith-Doesn't want the facial expressions to get in his way. Doesn't want him to hold back. Jennifer-The faces, the vibrato is all him. Had a vision of Trent and La'Porsha at the end because their voices are just so special. Not taking anything away from the others.

Tristan McIntosh 
(Go Rest High On That Mountain-Vince Gill)
This was a shocker. I expected her to be the first one home. Wow. I do have to say that no one else in the competition is a country singer, so despite Tristan's obvious flaws, she is appealing to a demographic no one else is. Scott didn't like her initial song choice of "Clarity" by Zedd. He just wasn't into it at all and that made Tristan start crying because she really can't pick good songs for herself at this point. She then chose this super country song. I didn't like about 70% of the song, it was too low at points, and kind of sleepy. There were some big notes that she hit really well, but it was uneven at other points. Keith and Jennifer give her a standing ovation. Not sure if that's really deserving.  
Judge's Comments= Keith-That was a terrific song. Such a good song for her. Jennifer-Believes that was the Tristan that America fell in love with. That was her sweet spot and comfort zone. Harry-Really a country singer.

Singing For Survival: Bottom 3 Revealed & Perform

Avalon Young 
(Earned It-The Weeknd)
She likes this song choice for herself more than last week, she thinks singing The Weeknd makes her sing cool, and it does. She is an R&B singer, and last week didn't allow her to be that. She has swag and does some really good runs. She also seemed like she was having a good time, despite being in the Bottom 3. She has and had a lot of groove in this song.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-That was what she needed to do. No one like her when she is in her comfort zone. Harry-Needed a performance that was really fantastic. Great to sing a song that slow and keep audience involved all the way through. Keith-Cool that she knows who she is and what feels right. Really good. The high falsetto he sings is tough, and she didn't do it, knows herself.

Olivia Rox
I am so upset that both Olivia and Avalon are in the Bottom 3, because that means either one will be going home and they provide something someone else in the competition doesn't have. Olivia has that female rocker chick thing going that no one else does. I liked this song choice, especially the higher and more rock parts of the song, when it got a little low I didn't like it as much. Still good overall, but not all the way through. Though her last note kicked butt. She really went for it.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Gave it 100%. That performance on her own is great, problem is that she is against someone that chose a song that had more to chew on. Nothing against this, but didn't see any vulnerability. Song choice is everything. Talent is undeniable. Harry-Making this tough. Her vocal range is insane. Jennifer-Everything about that performance proved she wants to be here. Some things weren't all the way there. Has to be believable is key. 

Gianna Isabella 
(If I Ain't Got You-Alicia Keys)
Her voice has always been strong, but last week was lacking in her performance and choices. This week was better, it was, but when you compare it to the other 2 contestants that sang right before her it's not quite close. Her voice was solid. Sometimes she should have gone high when she went low or vice versa, but overall not bad, just nothing outstanding.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Voice is gorgeous, heart wanted more. Pitch was beautiful. Jennifer-Fan of her since very beginning. Everyone gave it their all tonight. Harry-Everyone stepped up. Adorable because she changed her whole look. Her vocal ability is amazing. Great work.

Avalon Young

Olivia Rox and Gianna Isabella

LaPorsha. She did another amazing job with a very tough song. I think Trent really stepped it up and was a solid number 2.

Top 6 Week Bottom 3/Going Home Predictions 
1. Avalon Young (Saved)  
2. Lee Jean (Going Home)
2.Tristan McIntosh (Going Home)

Final Thoughts

*I think the judge's deciding the final outcome isn't the best way to go, but I understand it. The judge's and the Idol producers want to ensure that a mistake doesn't happen in their final season. They want the last American Idol winner to be someone that they think will shine, they want their legacy to carry on. I am not saying that the home audience can't be trusted, because they did choose Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood to win, but they have shown that sometimes success on the show doesn't translate to outside success. Doing this judge's save thing is an insurance policy. We will see how long this lasts. Plus it allows the show to have every contestant sing the song they have been practicing all week. I guess it wouldn't be cool if they were eliminated and never got to perform.

*I love La'Porsha and think she can make it to the finals and possibly win, but I am getting tired of hearing about it from the judges. They have to let the audience decide and want her to be there, not be told that she should be there. Plus, there are still 7 other contestants left, it's really not right for anyone to declare anyone a winner or eventual Top 2 finalist at this point. Sure they are allowed their opinions but there should be some tact involved. I know it would hurt my feelings if I am sitting in the Top 8 or 6 but told that no matter what I do I won't make it there because that spot is already locked up. Things aren't locked up until they are locked up. So judges need to hold back on telling us who is in the finals until we are closer.

*Next week is Idol Request so the home audience is going to request a song they want the contestants to sing. At least Idol wants you to think that. On the side of the screen in white and smallish lettering it stated "Final song choices are at the sole discretion of the Producers". So in all honesty, the producers will be choosing what songs the contestants will sing. Like they pretty much always do.

That's it. Next week by the end of the show we will be left with only 6 contestants. We are really flying right through all this. So come on back next time. Until then, see ya!

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