Last night, American Idol revealed its Top 5 and Adam Lambert came back to entertain us.
I've officially lost my patience with the judges' save. They haven't even told us the last couple of weeks that they would be continuing to save people, but last night they used their last save of the season to save Sonika Vaid. Sonika had been in the bottom last week and this week. In my view, that means America has spoken. While she has a strong voice, she is clearly shy and just doesn't connect that well with the audience. She comes off a bit like a Disney princess. In the conversation segments, she does seem more likable, but somehow there just isn't a big personality radiation when she sings. And yet, with a bottom two of Tristan Macintosh and Sonika, the judges saved Sonika for the second week in a row. Of the two, I'd say Sonika probably does deserve to be there more than Tristan, who is very young and not quite ready, but I still think America should have the final say by this point, as we are only a few weeks away from the end of Idol - forever!
Here's a recap of the performances. The contestants had to sing songs suggested by America via Twitter and other social media outlets.
Trent Harmon - His first song was "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic. This seemed kind of uncomfortable for him, and afterward he admitted he didn't really know what was going on. J Lo felt he engaged the audience well. His second song was "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and this was the perfect song for him. By the end, he had J Lo in tears, waxing rhapsodically about how she would miss the show for moments like this that showed the perfect collision of song and singer. Trent cried too. He's a talented and likable guy. We also learned he had a good friend who designed his guitar that died young, and he plays on to honor his friend.
Dalton Rappatoni - America suggested Dalton sing "Numb" by Linkin Park and he delivered the tune with emotion but dulled the rock edge a bit too much. Harry said he poured his guts into it, but the judges felt it was an uneven performance. His second song was "Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel and that was much more in his wheelhouse, allowing him to focus on the lyrics and deliver a haunting performance with lots of eye contact with the camera from those big dreamy eyes. Keith said he liked how Dalton connected with the words. Dalton reminds me of a Walter Keane painting and I just want to spoon with him, especially after we learned he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 9 and that his grandma runs a beauty shop where all the little old ladies are rooting for him while getting their shampoo n' set hairdos.
La'Porsha Renae - Her first song was "Ready for Love" by India Arie and I thought it was good but not as mind-blowing as her usual performances. Harry thought it was phenomenal. Her second song was "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige and she really brought it. This was the perfect song choice, especially after they played clips of her talking about emerging from her abusive relationship. She was in tears at the end and so was J Lo and probably many viewers at home. La'Porsha poured her heart and soul into the performance and the judges were pretty much speechless. I feel this is the best of American Idol - finding someone as downtrodden as La'Porsha and giving her a platform to excel. If she doesn't win this show, it will be because of tons of tween girls voting for Dalton and Mackenzie, and it will be a damn shame. But I'm sure she will have a career after this, no matter what.
Mackenzie Bourg - His first song was "Wild World" by Cat Stevens, and it was the perfect song for him. He could fit in well with my 70s easy listening heroes like Dan Fogelberg, Dave Loggins, Paul Davis, Al Stewart. Harry said he was glad to see Mackenzie do something more up tempo. His second song was "Billie Jean." I thought the lyrics didn't hold up to the dramatic slow interpretation he gave the song, but the judges praised him for making it his own. J Lo said she was riveted. We also learned he has made a full recovery from congestive heart failure but it nearly killed him in high school and forced him to give up sports. So he found solace in music.
Sonika Vaid - America asked Sonika to sing "Let It Go" by Demi Lovato, probably to instruct her to do as the song says and emote more. I thought her performance was too subtle and not bombastic like this song requires. But the judges liked it, and J Lo said Sonika is shy but fierce. Her second song was "Clarity" by Zedd and her performance was strong, but it still felt hollow. There's none of the emotion one feels watching La'Porsha, Trent, and even Dalton and Mackenzie to a lesser degree. Yet, she remains.
Tristan Macintosh - Before being eliminated, Tristan sang "Independence Day" by Martina McBride and played the piano. It was a strong vocal but the judges felt it was very similar to her other performances and she needs to stretch more. Harry said she just needs to get older. Too bad he couldn't tell her to come back next year.