By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Thursday, March 10, 2016
Tonight is the top 8, soon to be whittled to top 6. Wasn’t that fast?
Who is in the top 6? Trent Harmon, Dalton Rapattoni, Tristan McIntosh, MacKenzie Bourg and La’Porsha Renae are in for sure.
The bottom three are Lee Jean, Sonika Vaid and Avalon Young. (Poor Avalon! Where’s the love from the voters?)
Lee was virtually guaranteed to be gone today. Even before they performed, it was clearly going to be between Sonika and Avalon. Sonika really went for it with Whitney Houston‘s “I Have Nothing.” The judges chose to save her.
So the two gone are Lee and Avalon. I am still a huge Avalon fan. I hope she does something with herself after the show is over.
My ranking of the 8 solos: 1) La’Porsha 2) MacKenzie 3) Tristan 4) Trent 5) Dalton 6) Avalon 7) Sonika 8) Lee
The theme was best songs of the “Idol” era and of the eight songs, three were by the Beatles.
We are down to four more weeks after this and just six episodes, counting a nostalgia hour on Tuesday, April 6.
Adam Lambert will be on next week to perform.
This will be the home to my recap tonight. Feel free to comment at will as the show goes live on the East Coast and three hours later for the West Coast.
Still reeling from Olivia Rox eliminated? It may be Lee, Tristan and/or Sonika next in line. (As usual, I got two out of three right in the bottom three. Tristan has more support than I anticipate any given week.)
La’Porsha/Trent (“See You Again” Wiz Khalifa/Charlie Puth): This could very well be the final two. Both are wonderful singers and they feel very comfortable with this song, blending well. Judges loved it. Grade: A-minus
Avalon/Sonika (“Rise Up” Andra Day) – Given that Avalon is R&B and Sonika pure pop, you’d think this would be a mismatch. But surprise! They match up! They are clearly comfortable and lift each other’s games. Even the swaybots didn’t bug me. JLo said they were pushing each other to be better. Grade: A
MacKenzie/Dalton (“I Want It That Way” Backstreet Boys) – Ugh. A strange combo but unlike Avalon and Sonika, they didn’t rise to the occasion. Unfortunately, this song is a terrible one to turn into a duet. It’s pleasant but doesn’t really showcase either singer’s strengths. HCJ said they should have said no to this nonsensical song lyrically. Keith and JLo agreed. Grade: B/B-minus
Lee/Tristan (“I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” Aerosmith) – This is one of those songs I hate so much yet it’s been sung EIGHT times before. EIGHT! The list: Josh Gracin, Lindsey Cardinale, Antonella Barba, David Cook, Allison Iraheta, Aaron Kelly, Jessica Sanchez and Caleb Johnson. Phew! It’s schmaltz from hell. And this is not the first time I’ve heard it on “Idol.” They try their best to emote. Tristan has the stronger voice. It suits her better. Are they setting Lee up for failure? Keith said they sing in different keys so they did the best they could. JLo said Tristan shined. Lee hung in there but it wasd clearly not the right thing for him. HCJ felt the arrangement was not good enough to help them. “Boring and very bland.” Grade: B/B-plus
La’Porsha Renae (“Come Together” Beatles) – According to the What Not To Sing database, this song has been performed six times before by Carly Smithson, Kris Allen, Crystal Bowersox, Candice Glover, Sam Woolf and Qaasim Middleton. It probably would have been performed more if the Beatles had been cleared earlier. Carly, Crystal and Candice all good reviews. Kris, Sam and Qaasim? Not so much. Her leather outfit is a bit distracting but she glides through the song effortlessly. Flirting with the judges? Never hurts. Another bravura performance. Grade: A/A-minus
MacKenzie Bourg (“You Are So Beautiful” Joe Cocker) – This actually hasn’t been that over-exposed. Four performers have done it before: Taylor Hicks, Danny Gokey, Jessica Sanchez and Rayvon Owen. Jessica and Taylor got good marks while Danny and Rayvon were middling. This song gives MacKenzie a chance to bring out his breathy emotion. And we get the violinists and a celloist! He is so adorable. This was easy for him. HCJ said that was a fantastic song pick and said he felt connected to it. Keith said he knows who he is and made it sound current. Grade: A-minus
Nick Fradiani, season 14 winner, comes by to pimp his latest single “Get You Home.” As MJ noted, it has a very funky Maroon 5 feel. It sort of samples the “You want it, you’ve got it” from “Bust a Move” by Young MC. He got to co write it.
Trent Harmon (“Stand By Me” Ben E. King) – This has only been sung four times before but by some powerhouses: Runner up Bo Bice, runner up David Archuleta, third-place finisher Danny Gokey and winner Phillip Phillips. Bo’s was deemed the best. Trent has a tendency to get a bit too cutesy with his phrasings. But he has pizzazz. Keith said he’s grown as a performer but says he needs to be a bit more selective with his quirks. JLo calls him a “badass.” Grade: B-plus
Tristan McIntosh (“A Broken Wing” Martina McBride) – This was only sung three times: Diana DeGarmo, Jessica Sierra and Jordin Sparks. I have to stop shorting Tristan. She is blossoming on the live show (unlike Dalton). She’s getting more comfortable and incorporating far more feeling in her singing than, say, Sonika. She just hit that final note out of the park. And she stared into the camera with warmth and confidence. JLo says she has a natural country voice. HCJ then tested her understanding of the lyrics. She seemed to pass. Tristan said this was the first song to make her cry when she was 11. Grade: A-minus
Dalton Rapattoni (“Eleanor Rigby” Beatles) – Another song only sung before three times: David Cook, Michael Lynche and forgotten season 12’s Paul Jolley. (Paul who?) He gives this one the proper angst but the way he clips the words at times is annoying during the verses. This was pretty good, the best since he went live. HCJ liked the arrangement and performance. Keith: “Like a good waffle iron, you made a good impression.” He liked the theatrical darkness. JLo loved his big note at the end for once. Grade: B/B-plus
Avalon Young (“P.Y.T.” Michael Jackson) – This barely qualifies as a quintessential Idol song since only two others have sung it before: Justin Guarini all the way back season one and Danny Gokey season 8. I love Avalon. She has such an ease about her on the stage. She brings a sweet carefree nature to this song. I could watch her in concert for an hour. The judges are befuddled by her being in the bottom three again. JLo and HCJ felt she lacked urgency this time. Grade: B-plus/A-minus
Lee Jean (“Let It Be” Beatles) – Beatles again? The three previous performers: Brooke White, Katie Stevens, lost season 12’s Burnell Taylor (Burnell who?). The limitations of his voice are clear in this song. He tried his best but he is clearly the weakest of the final eight vocally. Grade: B-minus
Sonika Vaid (“I Have Nothing” Whitney Houston) – Like the Aerosmith song, this truly has been oversung by a wide mile. The list of eight past performers (take a breath): Trenyce, Leah LaBelle, Jennifer Hudson, Vonzell Solomon, Katharine McPhee, LaKisha Jones, Shannon Mcgrane, Jessica Sanchez. Keith wanted her to be a little bit looser. HCJ loved it. JLo said she did a good job (though not great.) I don’t think Sonika’s Whitney cover is anywhere close to as compelling as the original but she sang it well enough to get by since Avalon disappointed. Grade: B
NOSTALGIA FROM THE ARCHIVES
With just a month left, I’m going to include random stuff from my drawer of “Idol” stuff for you to enjoy with every blog entry.
Here’s a piece about Snellville’s season 3 runner up Diana DeGarmo from Star magazine in 2004 where they talk to her at-the-time estranged dad:
Blender magazine 2005. This is the rocker side of Kelly Clarkson from a decade ago!