Thursday, February 25, 2016

Top 10 Revealed & Perform

Welcome back.Tonight the Top 10 will be fully revealed and actually perform for the home audience's votes. Last night LaPorsha Renae, Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox and Trent Harmon were given a "Fast Pass" right to the Top 10 by the judges, while the other 10 contestants had to sing for the final 6 spots. Those 6 spots will be be revealed tonight, and thus the Top 10 is formed. We predicted that Avalon, MacKenzie, Sonika, Tristan, Jenn and Gianna were gonna move on. To be honest only Avalon, MacKenzie and Sonika impressed us last night, but 3 other people had to be chosen, so either way. So with all that said let's first get to the results and then to the Top 10 performances, and not to mention, the original American Idol herself, Kelly Clarkson is helping to judge alongside Jennifer, Harry and Keith. Let's get started:

Top 10 Revealed
1. LaPorsha Renae (Selected Last Night)
2. Dalton Rapattoni (Selected Last Night)
3. Olivia Rox (Selected Last Night)
4. Trent Harmon (Selected Last Night)
5. Tristan McIntosh
6. Sonika Vaid
7. Gianna Isabella
8. MacKenzie Bourg
9. Avalon Young
10. Lee Jean

[Editor's Note]=We went 5/6 with our picks. We put in Jenn Blosil over Lee Jean. Neither were particularly great last night, but it helps equal out the guys to girls ratio. There is now 4 guys and 6 girls in the Top 10. 

Kelly Clarkson Retrospective
She is the original Idol, so I love that she got a few minutes of her own to reflect on her time in the summer of 2002, and winning the first season of Idol. We see her winning some Grammys, doing well on tour and all her success. She gives credit for her work ethic to American Idol. She is pregnant as she states, and gets sort of emotional. She gets to judge tonight and then will perform later on.

Top 10 Perform
Olivia Rox
(Unconditionally-Katy Perry)
Her first memory of American Idol is Season 5 when Katherine McPhee sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". That was a classic moment and it's a song that Olivia has loved forever. I am a little suprised she isn't singing that tonight, but we move on. The first part of the song was a little too low for me and I get she was trying to sing tenderly, but it came out a little weak. Once the band came in it was better. I didn't love this performance. It was a little too much at times, and then not enough at other points. It was okay, not great.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Such a real artist. Perfect song choice. Keep loosening and relaxing. Jennifer-The beginning arrangement was beautiful. So much control. Kelly-The beginning was tasteful. Takes a lot of air to be that soft. Been a fan. Super good. Harry-Loved it. So pretty. Did everything she was supposed to do.

Gianna Isabella
Her first memory of American Idol was her crush on Scotty McCreery in Season 10 when she was 10.  Before Gianna sang a note I saw she was singing "Listen" and that is one of the bigger songs from Beyonce, it just has big, huge notes and she has to belt. It winds up to the big parts and then goes hard. Gianna has a nice quality to her voice, she stayed with it as much as she could. She tried, she really did, and at times it really worked, but then there were times it didn't. Chris Medina was actually in the audience watching, so that was cool for Lee.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-That was not her best ever. Some sounded good, because she has a great voice, but it was kinda shaky. Needs to pick songs that show all her strengths that she can command. Kelly-That was a bold song. She hit the note, but she is 15 and shows her pitcheness. To tackle Beyonce that is big of a range is too bold. Lost emotion because she is too focus, needs to let go. Harry-Nothing to add, but seemed too arranged. Everything was too rehearsed. Keith-Good thing is her voice is she just needs to let go. 
Lee Jean
(Skinny Love-Bon Iver)
His first memory of American Idol was when he was 11 and he saw Chris Medina audition. Chris' wife was in a really terrible accident and he stuck with her, and it was a really powerful story. Moving on to tonight, I don't really know the song Lee sang tonight. It was just him and the guitar, no big band accompinant, just a little light piano and windchimes in the background. It was nice. He was trying to find the groove tonight, and I think he did it.
Judge's Comments=Kelly-Loves him. Sticks with what he is good at, but sometimes needs to switch it up. It's easy and chill. Found his niche. Harry-This is his lane. Him and MacKenzie are similar, has to concern himself with that later on. Can't see him doing something crazy, but needs to work on pitch. Keith-Tells a story. Very believable. Jennifer-Songs that he picks have to mean something to him, like it did for Chris Medina at his audition. Needs to have his performance being impactful every time.

Avalon Young
(Stitches-Shawn Mendes)
She remembers watching Idol when she was 7 or 8. She loved watching Justin Guarini in Season 1 singing "Get Here", she loved his tone and voice. She makes this song her own, it starts similar to the original, but then makes it R&B and in her own style. There was a point when she went a little too low, but she rebounded quick enough. This performance had its flaws but still quite good.
Judge's Comments= Harry-She has a cool vibe. Not sure would have done that half-time groove because it felt flat because didn't tell a story. Keith-The beginning seemed like she was nervous, but she loosened up after the half way point. Needs to loosen all the way through. Jennifer-Not right song, the others were more natural. Found a way to make it happen half way through. Kelly-So captivating. So special about her. Sometimes doesn't like the songs that she sings, but likes them when she sings them, not usually her style, but makes her love them. Thinks she is so cool.

Dalton Rapattoni
(Hey There Delilah-Plain White T's)
Season 5 he loved Chris Daughtry. The day he got kicked off was like a bomb was dropped in the Rapattoni house.  David Cook is one of his inspirations to how he creates the songs he does. I figured. He is very simlar to David in his creativity. Tonight Dalton sorta switches the original song. He makes it more rock then pop. I liked it. It wasn't as original as some of his other performances.
Judge's Comments= Keith-Love what he does with songs. Took it somewhere different. Beefed up a folk song. Jennifer-The really cool guy but has a lot of heart. Kelly-So comfortable on stage, it's a rare thing. I love every time he sings, it's a completely different artist and genre. Harry- Every time he sings he flips the concept for the arrangement, and so far batting 1,000. 

Tristan McIntosh
(Nothin Like You-Dan & Shay)
Has been watching since she was 11. Jessica Sanchez was her favorite in Season 11. Her favorite performance was "I Will Always Love You". To be honest Jessica is one of my favorite contestants also. This song had a lot of low moments that overtook her a little. It was off pitch at times and a little out of tune. It really wasn't so great. Kind of a mess
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Very young Top 10. Knows she is country, but needs to find songs that she feels comfortable, because that one wasn't all she needed it to be. Not her strongest. Kelly-Doesn't know her, but needs to send her message out there. Lost in the moment is best and she hasn't done that. Would love for her to sing Trisha Yearwood, would nail it. Harry-Very lyrically song. But needs to sing a song that has more crossover appeal. Can't lose herself when she goes over to the audience. Keith-That song was cool, but it was a tricky song. Seems easy but isn't.

MacKenzie Bourg
(I See Fire-Ed Sheeran)
He bonded with his Mom over American Idol. He remembers William Hung sing "She Bangs" in Season 2. Everyone was talking about it in school and him and his friends still reference it today. Kelly Clarkson mentioned it earlier that Lee sings a lot of Ed Sheeran and Harry said that MacKenzie and Lee are similar, that they are, but MacKenzie is a stronger singer and performer. He just puts out more emotion, and is more tender, yet powerful at points.
Judge's Comments=Kelly-Her unborn baby was doing flips for her. So intriguing is that he knows where he wants to go and is already there. Super talented. Harry-Very compelling. Wonders what the lyrics means to him. Keith-The guitar gave him comfort. In the zone. Jennifer-Able to pull audience in. Interesting to see which songs he chooses later to make an impact. 

La'Porsha Renae
American Idol was her SuperBowl. She watched Kelly Clarkson come from humble beginnings, sing her heart out. Kelly's winning made her want to be a performer and eventual contestant, and hopeful winner. Tonight La'Porsha sang the crap out of the song. She made it sultry, made it soulful, and made it real reaaaal good. The runs she did were perfect. The emotion put out there was perfect. It was perfect. She got a standing ovation from Keith, Jennifer and a pregnant Kelly Clarkson.
Judge's Comments=Harry-The loud, loud ovation from the audience was her critique. Kelly-Wants her to just say "You're Welcome". Loves everyone here but she should/could win this. Jennifer-Her control. Keith-What she gave was pure humanity, just beautiful.

Sonika Vaid
(Bring Me To Life-Evanesscence)
She remembers Kelly Clarkson sing "I Surrender" when she had a sore throat, showed her how to push through and have confidence. This was an amazing song choice that I didn't think Sonika could pull off, but she did. To go from Celine Dion last night to Evanesscene was inspired, and she did great. She was powerful and stayed in tune all the way despite the big moments and energy she had to put out there.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Absolutely killer song choice. So good. All the right drama. Jennifer-Dangerous, because she has such an amazing voice. Could be a real competition. If she believes in herself and let's go she is dangerous. Kelly-Never pitchy. An amazing accomplishment. Followed La'Porsha and gave her more balls. Harry- Takes a certain type of performer to come on after La'Porsha. Showed angst, strength and passion. Thought it was great and smart.

Trent Harmon
(Like I Can-Sam Smith)
He remembers watching American Idol when he was 5. Remembers David Archuletta singing "Imagine" in Season 7. He sang that song all the time, made him think that one day he wants to do what he did. This guy just has a groove, he makes hitting certain falsettos so easy, so when he goes back to the richeness of his voice it sounds even sweeter.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Wow. Seriously, one of best competitions ever. His voice is so unique and different. It wasn't all perfect, but it was still so good. Amazing. Kelly-Very impressive to have a voice that stands out. Love to here more falsetto. To show the soft and falsetto. Harry-Thought it was fantastic. If goes for the runs it's fine if he can do it. It's tremendous. Runs are tough cause he overdoes it can take away. Right on the money tonight. Keith-Everyone is rising to the occasion.

Kelly Clarkson Performs
She sings her new song called "Piece by Piece". As Ryan Seacrest put it, it's an emotional song. It's a real story kind of a song, it even gets to Kelly at a couple points, the emotions started to get her, but she is a professional and keeps going. Keith starts tearing up, Jennifer starts as well. Emotional is an understatement. But beyond all that Kelly's voice is on point, and really always is. She is the true American Idol, and tonight during her judging and this captivating performance proved that.

Best of the Night
Duh...La'Porsha Renae. I think everything she did tonight was perfect. I only wish that we were closer to the end of the show, because there are still several weeks to go, and many contestants. Not saying La'Porsha can't do this every week, but it's gonna be hard to be better than what she did. Sonika Vaid was easily second best. If La'Porsha didn't do what she did Sonika would have had the best performance of the night. So good, and that needs to be mentioned.

Predictions for Next Week's Double Elimination
1. Gianna Isabella
2. Tristan McIntosh

Final Thoughts
*Kelly Clarkson couldn't be a better judge tonight. I wish she didn't say that La'Porsha should win the show, but that slipped out in the emotion of the moment after she had sung. Kelly was charming, she was funny, she was everything you would want Kelly Clarkson to be. She pays respect to the show that made her what she is, unlike many contestants that have no respect for the show that put them on the map. American Idol wouldn't be what it was today, and who it made without Kelly Clarkson being the first to win. No matter how much I have loved many contestants along the way, Kelly will always be my favorite.

*La'Porsha and Sonika with a mix of Dalton and MacKenzie is not bad. Trent and Olivia were pretty good too, but there are at least 4 outstanding contestants in this Top 10. So far, if any of those people win it would be a successful season.

*Next week there is a double elimination. So the Top 10 will drop to a Top 8. That's a significant amount of people not being here. The show is only on next Thursday. The Wednesday shows are gone until we get to finale week. This was the last time we will ever just have a Wednesday and Thursday episode week, because during finale week we will have a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday week. So this ends a small era of the two-week shows. It's small, but noticeable.

That's it. Come on back here next Thursday (March 3rd) for the next episode of American Idol. We hope you come on back to see the reveal and performance of the Top 8. So until then, see ya!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Top 14: Wildcard Night: Judge's Pick

Welcome back. After nearly 2 months the home audience is finally in control...well sorta kinda. Starting tomorrow night the Top 10 will perform for the first time for the live audience, but it is tonight that will help determine which 10 they will be. The reason this is a wild card show is because the judge's will pick 4 performers to automatically go to the Top 10. The remaining 10 contestants will sing tonight and 6 of those performers will be selected by the home audience, thus creating the Top 10 that will be fully revealed tomorrow night. Hopefully everyone has got all that, so without further ado, let's get to the show:

Our Top 7 Remain
Prior to Hollywood week we named our Top 20, these 7 are still singing. 
Audition 1=Lee Jean, Sonika Vaid
Audition 2=LaPorsha Renae, Tristan McIntosh
Audition 3 =Jenn Blosil, 
Audition 5=Mackenzie Bourg
Audition 6= Manny Torres

Judge's Picks for Top 10 without Singing Tonight  
1. Dalton Rapattoni
2. Olivia Rox
3. Trent Harmon
4. LaPorsha Renae

Remaining 10 Perform
Manny Torres
(Master Blaster-Stevie Wonder)
He is a fun performer. He has good energy on stage, but his voice sometimes lacks when he moves around too much. It goes out of tune, or is off pitch at times. When he hits everything right it's really nice, so a bit mixed for me.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Great opening to show. Love that song, not right for him. Has a fighter spirit. Delivered on his great energy. 
Gianna Isabella
(I Put A Spell on You-Annie Lennox)
Her voice is very mature for a 15-year old, it really is, but there are other aspects of her performance that are kinda young. It just seems like she tries to do certain movements because she was told to, not because they are natural or just come to her. I'm still not sold, but her voice is really good.  
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Surprised by her sassiness. Coming into her own. She is innocent but beginnings of a great singer. Believes that she should be in Top 10. Has potential for a lot of growth.

Thomas Stringfellow
(Story of My Life-One Direction)
I don't like this remix of the song. I also noticed some of his hiccups/squeaks at the end of certain phrases made its return here and there. Look, he is a good looking kid, obviously teenage girls like him, but his vocals just aren't strong enough.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Very talented. Good song for him, but his bad habit of cracking at the end of notes is too much all the time.  Has to think about that. It gets annoying. If he listened back he would agree.

 Tristan McIntosh 
(What Hurts The Most-Rascal Flatts)
I am glad she finally admitted that she wants to be a country singer. I know she has sung several country songs the past number of weeks, but she also had weird moments from other songs, like she was trying to be something she wasn't. This was better. I enjoyed her for the first time since probably her audition.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Beautiful song choice, with her voice and way she did it. Saw a side of her we haven't seen before.

Avalon Young 
(Yo(Excuse Me Miss)-Chris Brown)
Her confidence in herself being an R&B singer is amazing. She just goes out there and does her thing. It's something that isn't really out there right now. Her voice is just so pleasant to the ear. It's not a showstopper but so good.
Judge's Comments=More and more comfortable up there. Smooth like butter. Should be in Top 10. Great performance. 
 Jenn Blosil
(True Colors-Cyndi Lauper)
I don't understand her bedazzled eyebrows, it was a little distracting from her voice. I should be focused on her voice, but I was just looking at her sparkly, glittery eyebrows. It was good, a little off at points, but not terrible or anything.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Knew she had it in her. Problem with last week because it wasn't sung like this tonight. A flawless lyric delivery. 

Lee Jean
(Make It Rain-Ed Sheeran)
I remember a comment that Harry mentioned about Lee getting more in the groove of songs, he definitely tried, but it was still a little stiff with his guitar in front of him. I like Lee Jean, but his voice was a little off tonight. I think I have heard him sing better.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Got his own style and so unique, very chill. Had a lot of nerves tonight. Liked what he is doing.

Sonika Vaid
(I Surrender-Celine Dion)
Sonika is one of the remaining powerhouse singers. I think even though she has a tender delivery at times her voice can hit some great big notes and still sound so sweet and beautiful. She makes you feel the emotion of the song. Really really good.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-People came to sing. Got goosies on her face, in her cheeks. Crazy. Her voice sits in the music is so out of this world. It's insane. So beautiful.

Jeneve Mitchell
(Ring of Fire-Johnny Cash) 
She does her thing. It's a little all over the place, but that's kind of her, kind of has that tender voice, then real low and grainy and emotional and powerful. Then she hits that falsetto from nowhere. It's hard to describe, but still kinda cool. If she made it I wouldn't be mad.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Her talent is compelling, interesting and polarizing. Some people might think it's interesting and different and some people might not get it. He gets it. Not best performance he has heard her before. Didn't let go. Very different than anyone else in the competition.

MacKenzie Bourg
(Roses-MacKenzie Bourg)
Being able to sing a song that you wrote on this kind of stage has gotta be a dream for MacKenzie. No matter what his songwriting abilities are on full display. I really enjoy this song, I like the way that he sings it. He is real cool. He gets in the groove, opposed to someone like Lee that has the same kind of shtick, but MacKenzie gets into it a lot more.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Such a great song. Has everyone reacting. Sang great, played great. 

Our Predictions for Moving onto Top 10
These predictions are based on our actual choices and judge's reactions from tonight and past weeks.

1. Sonika Vaid
2. MacKenzie Bourg
3. Avalon Young
4. Tristan McIntosh
5. Jenn Blosil
6. Gianna Isabella

Final Thoughts
*I think the judge's picks of Dalton, Olivia, LaPorsha and Trent were right on the money, they did deserve a "Fast Pass" to get right to the Top 10. It will be interesting to see who moves on from those that did sing tonight. The audience at home hasn't voted one time for any of these people, so we have no idea who the audience likes. It's possible people that the judge's love like Gianna, Jenn and Manny won't be as received as they were by the judges. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

*I am glad that the audience is choosing 6 contestants from the 10 that performed tonight. Initially I heard that the judge's were choosing 8 out of the remaining 14 singers, but it was better than the audience at home gets to choose the majority of the people going into the Top 10.

*Starting tomorrow night the shows are gonna be fast and furious. There will be at least 2 or 3 double elimination episodes, so a lot of people will be gone in a very short amount of time. So hold on, this show is gonna be getting crazy.

That's all for tonight. Come on back tomorrow night for the reveal of the Top 10 and their performances. So until next time, see ya!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Top 24 Part 4: Duets w/Idol Alums & Results

Welcome back. To be honest, last night was lackluster, and in many ways kind of nerve racking for the sake of the show. There weren't many standout performances. The song choices were off, the performances were sometimes self-indulgent or underwhelming, it was a tough night. Last week the majority of the judge's decisions were made based off the solo rounds, it's very possible that this time the decisions will be based off of the duets with past Idol Alums and some past performances in Hollywood and during Top 51 week.

I am incredibly excited about tonight's alums. David Cook is one of my favorite winners. Hailey Reinhardt is one of my favorite non-winners. Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry, Constantine Maroulis and Kellie Pickler were all contestants I rooted for either all the way until they won(in Jordan's case) or they were eliminated. So I am excited to hear them again on the Idol stage. So with all that being said, let's get started:

Duets with Idol Alums

Amelia Eisenhauer & Kellie Pickler(Season 5) 
(Suds in the Bucket by Sara Evans)
Kellie's personality was always bigger than her voice, at least on the Idol stage. I think her voice has matured greatly since Season 5, which was ten years ago...craziness. Amelia and Kellie's voice matched very well, almost so much that you couldn't hear one over the other. Amelia does have her fiddle to rely on, instead of having a solo vocal performance, she goes with her fiddle. I liked tonight's performance more than last night. Still wasn't overly impressive, but it sure was interesting.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Loves to see someone up and coming with someone with so much experience. Amelia came out fighting, absolutely terrific. Keith-Such a great song, spirit was great. Stepped up in a big way. Jennifer-Felt right at home with Kellie. It was a really good job.

Kory Wheeler & Haley Reinhardt(Season 10)
(Bennie & The Jets by Elton John)
Haley is one of my favorite Idol contestants of all time. She was just fun, her voice was amazing, I thought she was like an underdog that rose all the way to Top 3 in her season, and I think she should have at least been in the finale with Scotty McCreery. But it was the season of the country star and she was not. Haley and Kory singing this song is great. Her growls are still there, love it so much. Kory is a little like a lost puppy. She just dominates the song and flow that he just tries to keep up. It was a little mismatched in my opinion. Still a nice job, and better than last night.
Judge's Comments=Keith-So good. Good song. Mashed up really well. Jennifer-Did really well with her. That song blew everyone away when Haley did that song. Harry-Haley sings in the pocket and it helped really ground Kory tonight.

Lee Jean & Chris Daughtry (Season 5)
Lee Jean just was astonished and speechless when he met Chris. Daughtry wants Lee to not be nervous. Daughtry should have won his season or been in the finale but was eliminated way too early, as everyone knows. His post-Idol career just boomed and he has done amazingly. Lee Jean tried his best to go hard, but Daughtry is singing his song, so it's tough to keep up. Lee just doesn't have that strong voice, it's gentle and cute. It was alright, again better than last night, but still a little unsure about him.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Did a great job. Speechless. Harry-Really strong. Has a lot of fun on stage. Captivating. Very controlled, and passionate. Keith-Brought this storyteller quality to this song. Cool to hear that song from someone that came from American Idol.

CJ Johnson & David Cook(Season 7 Winner)
(The World I Know-Collective Soul)
David Cook was one of my favorite winnners. He is probably right behind Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood for me. His creativity and voice just blew me away. I think this is a great pairing.  I don't know if I love this song choice. David sang so many memorable songs on the show that could have matched CJ's voice a little more. I am curious to know if CJ chose this song, if David chose or most likely, the producers. CJ still has one of the strongest male vocals left in the competition, but it wasn't my favorite of him.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Cliche to say their voices blended well together. This was a great opportunity to see who can hang with people who have done it. Obvious to see he does a lot of gigs. Keith-Held his own. Stayed in his own lane. It's not much of a song to do something with. Good as anyone could. Jennifer-The song felt a little mellow compared to the others. Wish it was a bring the audience up kind of song.

Manny Torres & Jordin Sparks(Season 6 Winner)
(No Air by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown)
This was easily one of Jordin's most famous post-Idol songs. This is also a real duet, so it makes it easier than when you take a non-duet song and splitting it up. Jordin is giving Manny a tough time, telling him to work on owning and feeling his lyrics. Manny was trying his best to be himself and not Chris Brown, but it was a little lackluster. He tried hard to match up. At points I believed this duet and enjoyed it, but it was uneven.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Watching her sing next to her was funny with her heels on. It's like him with his wife. Great together. Powerhouse duet time. Terrific. Jennifer-Couldn't have been more perfect. Really really good. Harry-Jordin was spectacular. He has a lot of charisma. Great vocal performance.

Jenn Blosil & Constantine Maroulis(Season 4)
(My Funny Valentine-Frank Sinatra)
Constantine was great on his season, he was really the first rocker on the show, him and Bo Bice really were the firsts. Constantine was known for his flirting and looking into the camera during his time on the show, so he tries to tell Jenn how to do this. Gotta say Jenn started off kind of off tune and pitchy. Right after Constantine began to sing, and they started to sing together it blended really well, and she got into the groove. I don't really know about this one. I like her, but it was a little off at times.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-It was the embodiment of perfect duet, two that are different and coming together. They were in their own world. Harry-Constantine is terrific. This song doesn't need energy, but it turned into a shouting match, which wasn't appropriate for this song. Keith-Freakin loved it. Jenn got more consistent with her delivery. Jenn dominated the whole thing. Strong, cool, fantastic.

Tristan McIntosh & Kellie Pickler
(Best Days of Your Life-Kellie Pickler)
Singing your duet's partners own song is tough. Because no matter what happens, it is their song and know it inside out, and all you can do is try to catch up. Tristan is singing her second country song in two night, but she isn't a country singer. I don't get it. Tristan sounded out of tune at points. There were some nice runs in there. It was uneven, that's really all I can say.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Pretty good. Pretty darn good. Encourages her to not rush, not to sing out of the pocket. Needs to be aware of the stage. Wanders sometimes. Keith-Felt like the song was tricky to sing the harmony below Kellie. It was a little shaky, pitch wise. Jennifer-Has eye on her as one of the special ones, but thinks she looks pretty inexperienced. Doesn't know if she will find her groove. 

Olivia Rox & David Cook
(Light On-David Cook)
This was one of David's big songs in his post-Idol career. I think this was a great Idol pairing. Their voices make sense to be paired up. David admits this is a tough song to sing because it has a crazy amount of range. This was a tough song, there are some serious low notes and then super high notes. She keeps up with him, so that's really impressive, also this it's his song, so that's even a few more extra bonus points. I also loved the falsetto at the end. She did a really nice job.
Judge's Comments=Keith-High praise when David says he keeps up with him. Jennifer-Voice is phenomenal, if she can find her groove she is gonna be around for a long time. Harry-Did a fantastic job. Idol is lucky to have her. 

Haley Reinhardt and Adam Lasher
(Can't Help Falling In Love-Elvis Presley)
Haley has done this song in her own way in her post-Idol career. This song has been done many times and in many ways, so hearing Haley sing it is amazing. Adam does a nice job. His voice is really rich and velvety. He looked a little uncomfortable at times. He was best when he was looking right into her eyes, than when looking at the audience. This was done really sweetly and tenderly. Very nice, very pretty.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-It was very strong. The song is so beautiful, hard to go wrong. Stayed his course and supported it, and came off well. Harry-Haley is gifted. It was lovely, it was captivating. Doesn't have to sing so on the beat, can be even more creativity. Keith-When next to someone so effortless, it highlighted the fact that he didn't loosen up. She was in the moment, and he was stiff. 

Dalton Rapattoni and Chris Daughtry
(Higher Ground-Stevie Wonder)
Chris wants Dalton to slow down and make the right changes to the song.  Dalton is very much about taking a song we all know and flipping it on his head. This was similar to the version that Chris sang on his song. Dalton did a really good job. It was entertaining, it was fun, he stuck with Chris really well. I enjoyed it.
Judge's Comments=Harry-Terrific. Every performance has been great. Solid, but was lucky the band was behind him. Did what he was supposed to do. Keith-Really cool. The two come out it differently. Incredible. Jennifer-Loving him. It was dynamic. Dark horse that is coming to the surface at the right time.

Trent Harmon & Jordin Sparks
(To Love Somebody-Bee Gees)
Jordin destroyed this song during her season. Jordin thinks Trent is so good she doesn't wanna sing next to him. Trent really is so good and he held up well with Jordin. He jammed and grooved, some of his facial expressions are a little crazy, but hopefully that can be fixed because his voice is that good to stay in this competition for a long time.
Judge's Comments=Keith-Great song. Changed things up stylistically, so much more to him. Jennifer-Surprises us once and awhile. Great tone. The two of them together was great. Harry-Loves this song. He should make this song as a single, or duet with Jordin. Really good job.

Shelbie Z and Constantine Maroulis
(Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen)
This is a huuuuge song, and that's an understatement. It's one of the most famous, theatrical, powerful song of all time. Constantine held his own during his season, but Shelbie hasn't proved yet that she could pull this big of a song off yet. She has done Heart songs a couple times, but there is a difference between Queen and anyone else. Shelbie does a nice job in the beginning with Constantine, but when it got to the fast-paced middle section of the song it goes off the rails a little. She sang out of tune and although she has attitude and great stage presence, the vocals went astray.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Lost Shelbie in that. Doesn't understand her doing that song, way too theatrical. Harry-Tough song to do as a duet. Doesn't get her prescriptive. Unbelievable lyrics and melody and didn't seem she had a point of view. Keith-Love this song, it didn't pull him in. 

Going Home Predictions(Based on Last Night & Tonight)
1.Tristan McIntosh
2. Kory Wheeler 
3. Adam Lasher
4. Amelia Eisenhauer
5. Shelbie Z

Actually Eliminated
1. Kory Wheeler
2. Adam Lasher
3. Amelia Eisenhauer
4. Shelbie Z
5. CJ Johnson 

Top 14 Moving On (From Last Week & This Week)
1. LaPorsha Renae
2. Geneve Mitchell
3. Mackenzie Bourg
4. Sonika Vaid
5. Avalon Young
6.Gianna Isabella
7.Thomas Stringfellow
8. Lee Jean
9. Olivia Rox
10. Jenn Blosil
11. Dalton Rapattoni
12. Manny Torres
13. Tristan McIntosh
14. Trent Harmon

Final Thoughts

*I can't wait until the audience gets to vote and the shows are live. Up until this point everything has been edited and pointed towards these 14 people. If you were to look back at all of the screen time, all of the notable performances, the Top 14 really had the majority of the time. Only Emily Brooke had the amount of screen time as the Top 14 and didn't make it. I picked 12 out of 14 correct, not just based on their performances in the two days, but just from watching Season 15. If you have watched American Idol long enough you could have picked up on this too, I am sure many of you did.

*These Idol Alums, this week, and last, were not just alumni or great duet partners, but great mentors. I know some people think this duet portion came too early this season, but I think this was a great time for these contestants to learn something from the past contestants that have done this before.

*Next week we will finally see the Top 14 sing together on one show. Don't get too comfortable though. As soon as we get the Top 10 assembled, the following week there will be a double elimination, then another double elimination. So there is gonna be a lot of people gone in a very short amount of time. In less than one month we will already be down to a Top 6. This season and show itself is gonna be gone so soon. It's craziness.

That's it. Come on back next Wednesday for more Idol recaps and opinions. Hope you have a great week. Until next time, see ya!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Top 24 Part 3: Remaining 12 out of 24 Solo Performances

Welcome back. Last week was very interesting. We saw 12 contestants perform their solo songs and then perform the very next day in a duet with a past Idol alum. It came with mixed results. The most weighted aspect of the judge's decision comes from the solo round but with the judge's voting and not the home audience it is what it is. 5 of those 12 contestants were eliminated. Tonight and tomorrow the same pattern will occur. We will see how they do, or if they struggle like some did last week. So let's get right to it:

Solo Rounds
Shelbie Z
(Work Hard, Play Harder-Gretchen Wilson)
Shelbie owns the stage, that's just her personality and persona. She is very comfortable up there. I think her main strength is working the stage, working the audience, her voice is probably behind that. It isn't bad, everybody has a different strength, the stage is hers.
Judge's Comments-Keith-Look like she should be up on stage. Chose a key that held her down. Sacrificed the song for the big note at end. Jennifer-Lot of energy. Knows she has amazing vocals. Harry-Sound great. Very comfortable.

Manny Torres
(Adventure of A Lifetime-Coldplay)
He is an entertainer but his voice was lacking a little here. I don't think he ever found the real groove on this song. Chris Martin of Coldplay is just so chill and makes it easy, Manny is super chill, so I get the choice to sing this, but I wasn't over-thrilled here.
Judge's Comments-Jennifer-Could have connected more with audience, but did own stage. Harry-Felt a little piece meal, sometimes was smiling, sometimes wasn't. All about the lyrics. Keith-Doesn't think this was a good song choice for him.

Kory Wheeler 
(Let It Go-James Bay)
Kory has a very nice voice, strong at points, subtle at others. I liked this performance, it was easy, good vocals, solid job. Not outstanding or memorable, but good.
Judge's Comments=Harry-It was pretty good, not great. Not particularly special, not moving. Jennifer-Looked more comfortable on stage than ever. So beginning of what he will turn into. Keith-Good mix of vulnerability and confidence. 

Amelia Eisenhauer
(Wake Me Up-Avicci)
I don't know if I liked the beginning of the song when she slowed it down and changed the tone and melody. When she got to the second part of the song and the band came in, I felt like she was catching up to it. I never felt comfortable with this performance, and I don't know if she was either.
Judge's Comments-Keith-Liked that she is trying things. Jennifer-Not sure it was the best song, but is a special girl. Harry-Need to find songs that are quirkier, because she is a little quirkier.

 Jenn Blosil 
(Sorry-Justin Bieber)
I give her credit for switching things up here, this is one of the most popular songs out there right now. When she hit the chorus of the song it sounded great, the beginning was a little shaky, but she found her groove mid way through. She has an outstanding voice. This competition needs her.
Judge's Comments- Harry-Deserving of all the fans she has. Breath of fresh air. Extremely out of tune. Not very good. Keith-Commend her originality. Jennifer-Loves what she does, but shaky in the beginning. Got into it. 

CJ Johnson
(I'll Be-Edwin McCain)
CJ's voice is one of the best male voices left in this competition. This song has been sung a ton of time in the history of Idol, but when it's sung well you can forget about the other times, CJ did a nice job with this. He tried to go a little more subdued than his usual go all out vocal. I liked to see this side of him. It wasn't his best, but still very good.
Judges Comments=Keith-Perfect song, range, key. Jennifer-Great song, great vocal, great performance, sang right to her and the audience. Harry-Sang the song really well. Needs to sing it in tune.

Lee Jean
(Runaway-Ed Sheeran)
He has a very fresh voice, really sweet but some groove in there too. It wasn't spectacular, but there was nothing wrong with that at all.
Judge's Comments-Keith-Voice is so real. Believes his story. Doesn't like the song choice. Jennifer-Sounded great, has rhythm, it all works, but songs are not big hits that everyone can sing along to. Harry-Thinks that should practice playing and singing at same time. Better performance of the night. 

Trent Harmon
(What Are You Listening To-Chris Stapelton)
His voice reminds me of Tom Petty, distinct, powerful, yet a good story-teller. He has a great connection to lyrics, to the audience and to the camera. Really beautiful job by him.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Really loves him. Feels like when he sings it really gets to her heart. Tone of voice, feeling that he sings with. Gonna be in the competition for a long time. Harry-Gifted vocalist here. Keith-Tremendous song choice. Nobody knows it but the lyrics are great and he sang it really well. 

Tristan McIntosh
(Good Girl-Carrie Underwood)
This is yet another side to Tristan. We have seen her try to be Alicia Keys, a rocker, and now she is a country singer? I don't know. I just don't know how to identify Tristan at this point and this is at least the 4th or 5th time we have seen her. Her voice is solid, but not sure about this song choice.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-End picked up stage. Beginning made it seem like she was thinking too much. Harry-Super talented, singing loud was good, bad news was everyone is giving okay performance. It was fine. Keith-So much talent, looks like a million bucks. Not a great song choice.

Adam Lasher
(Black and Gold-Sam Sparro)
I have never heard of this song, or the artist, but it fits Adam's voice...pretty well. He looks a little nervous on stage. I have heard him sing better and look better on stage. It was okay, not really memorable or anything.
Judge's Comments=Harry-That was a shuffle. Needs a certain intensity and didn't set the right groove. Wishy washy. Keith-Baffled why he chose that song. Needs to figure out what sets him apart. Jennifer-Could have been better. Song choice was so important. Couldn't get into the melody of it. 

 Dalton Rapattoni
(Rebel Yell-Billy Idol) 
This is definitely one of the most creative contestants left in this competition. He chose a good song, made it his own, but kept the intensity and main aspects of the original song. It was creative, it was really good, especially with tonight being a very off night for others.
Judge's Comments=Jennifer-Made her feel something. Pretty as can be. Great performance. Harry-Absolutely phenomenal performance great interpretation of that song. Tremendous. Keith-Never disappoints, always gonna make it his own. Got his own genre.

Olivia Rox
(Confident-Demi Lovato)
Her voice is so strong. She can be a threat in this competition. I loved this performance right from the first note. It just hit the right tone, right feeling, and not to add a pun, but she was really confident. She owned the stage, hit all the right notes, sang strong and powerful and just great.
Judge's Comments= Harry-Very strong. Only nitpick is to make the rhythm powerful. Keith-Show just started now. Her tone is just an amazing gift. Jennifer-Really loved it too. Voice is so strong.

In Danger To Go Home
All the contestants will get another chance to sing with a past Idol contestant, but they will have to really step it up.  If not they could be one of the five that will be eliminated tomorrow.
1.Amelia Eisenhauer
2.Adam Lasher
3. Kory Wheeler
4.Tristan McIntosh
5. Manny Torres

Final Thoughts
*Tonight was super rough. The song choices were disappointing, the performances were lackluster at points and the quality of talent wasn't high. There were only a couple really good performances and they came at the end of the show by Dalton and Olivia. The majority of the others were middle of the line or below the line.

*I usually don't agree with the judges as much as I did tonight. The song choices need to connect more with the audience. There were at least 3 or 4 songs that I have never heard of, and at least 2 or 3 others that I have heard of but only briefly. It's one thing to sing a song that is obscure at a gig when you are mixing that with more popular songs, but when you only sing one song it has to be perfect, tonight was very far from it.

That's it. Come on back here tomorrow to see the Idol alum pair up with some of these contestants. We will also see the elimination of 5 more contestants. A lot to get to. So until then, see ya!

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!