Friday, March 11, 2016

American Idol: Top 6 Revealed

Tonight our Idols were reduced to only 6, as the final season is adopting a fast and furious pace. The show began with duets.

LaPorsha Renae and Trent Harmon - "See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth - Very good duet - this was a lot of fun to watch. Trent sang higher than her. They had nice chemistry and good eye contact with each other. Both seemed so comfortable on stage. J Lo said it was magical.

Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid - "Rise Up" by Andra Day - Nice harmonies. They are Idol roommates, and you can tell they have a good rapport. Keith complimented Sonika's tone and Avalon's natural singing.

Dalton Rapattoni and MacKenzie Bourg - "I Want It That Way" by Backstreet Boys - The two heartthrobs took on a classic teen idol song, with Mac on guitar and Dalton showing his softer side. But it's pretty ordinary, and the judges peed all over it. Harry didn't think it was a good song choice because the lyrics don't make sense, and the guys admit they didn't understand what they were singing. Keith and J Lo felt they didn't change it from the original enough. 

Lee Jean and Tristan Macintosh - "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith - Lee lamented that Tristan is taller than him, and they did seem a bit of an odd couple on stage together. It was nice to see Lee belt for a change. Harry thought it was boring and bland.

For the solo performances, they had to take songs from the American Idol songbook. This leaves it pretty open for about a zillion songs, but The Beatles were the most popular choice tonight.

LaPorsha Renae - "Come Together" by The Beatles - We learned that LaPorsha comes from a military family, and her dad said he was glad to admit he was wrong when he tried to push her into the military.  She wore a crazy leather jumpsuit with gold chains. She really has a star persona and a lot of Tina Turner in her. She showed she can convey a rock vibe along with the soul. J Lo said she gives us full diva every time she's up there. 

MacKenzie BourgYou Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker - Mac loved sports, but he got into the school musical after singing at a pep rally and being approached by drama teacher. He gave a tender and sweet performance and really feels the lyrics, but sometimes his twitchy faces get on my nerves. Harry said he couldn't have picked a better song. Keith said he made it seem brand new. J Lo said, "You're singing to some girl that every girl wishes she was."

Trent Harmon - "Stand by Me" by Ben E King - Trent said he doesn't want his family to come watch him unless he makes finale, and he kept his audition secret. Once again, he has cleaned up well and looks pretty debonair and delivers a strong, if not particularly original, performance. Keith said he can see a lot of growth in him over the competition. Trent's performance gave J Lo goosies - and there is no higher accolade she can give.

Tristan MacIntosh"A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride - Tristan's grandpa was the first to believe in her, and his health has been failing but he still recorded a video message to cheer her on. I found this performance capable but kinda dull. Keith thought it was the perfect song for her. Harry asked her what the second verse was about and her answer showed she had thought about it. Being an artist who sings timeless songs himself, Harry likes that the singers are thinking about the lyrics, and I like that he cares about that. 

Dalton Rapattoni "Eleanor Ribgy" by The Beatles - Dalton's mom was a high school punk, and he used to wear his mom's trench coat when he started performing. He gave this classic tune a metal edge, but with a string quartet. This is the Dalton I love - making it his own, working the crowd, belting a big finish. Keith said the theatrical side of Dalton brought out the darker side of the song.

Ryan revealed our Bottom 3: Sonika, Avalon, and Lee. And they got to sing for their lives.

Avalon Young"PYT" by Michael Jackson - Avalon as a kid was very much a tomboy (shocker!). She has OCD which causes facial tics but not when she sings. This was a good song for her, and she worked the crowd but was still a little stiff. Keith said he is so confused about why she keeps ending up in bottom three.  J Lo felt this was too typical of her usual performances. Harry said she needs more urgency.  

Lee Jean"Let it Be" by The Beatles - Lee was a shy kid, had to move around a lot, but when people discovered he could sing, he became popular. This was a heartfelt but awkward and pitchy performance. He seemed a bit like a deer in the headlights. The judges noticed the pitch problems and were disappointed. 

Sonika Vaid"I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston - Sonika has a family music tradition. Her mom performs in Bollywood. She picked a tough song and belted it like she wanted to stay. Despite her great voice, she still doesn't radiate much personality. Harry said it's a high risk high reward performance and she nailed it.  J Lo thought she did a good job, but was kind of lukewarm in her praise.

The judges kept Sonika in the competition, and I think that was the right choice. While Sonika needs to connect better with the audience, she does have one of the best voices on the show. Lee's voice is sweet but limited and he's only 16.  When Ryan asked how they were feeling, he seemed like he was making a closing argument for himself, stating how much he felt the song he sang and that it was for his late brother and he didn't care if he was pitchy.  I think it's better to just accept the judges' criticism, as it was warranted, and he didn't do himself any favors with the speech.  I think Avalon being in the bottom 3 for 2 weeks in a row, despite good judges feedback last week, shows that somehow she is just not totally connecting with America. She's definitely cool and talented, but maybe America doesn't love her tomboy style or doesn't find her convincing as a R&B artist. 

Prediction for next week - Sonika and Tristan in the Bottom 2, with Tristan going home. 

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