By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Thursday, March 17, 2016
‘American Idol” voters have not given the ladies much love this season. Two very talented singers – Olivia Rox and Avalon Young – are already gone too soon.
And now we’ve lost the promising Tristan McIntosh. Sonika Vaid was also in the bottom two again but was saved – again.
The first hour was pretty bad but the second hour made up for it. And Jennifer Lopez is clearly seeing the end of the road and is getting even more emotional than us about it all.
Of the final five, I’d say three now have a realistic shot at winning it all: La’Porsha Renae, Trent Harmon and MacKenzie Bourg. But can any of them truly book end Kelly Clarkson? The doubts are rampant among the regulars here.
Next week: Sia performs “Cheap Thrills” and mentors the top five with songs from her repertoire, according to Fox. (She has a big enough repertoire to merit that?) E Street Band’s Stevie Van Zandt will mentor them for rock classics, the second song. And “Idol” alum Katharine McPhee will reprise “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Dalton Rapattoni has done a great job showing us he really isn’t quite as good as he seemed on the surface. Sonika Vaid may have the prettiest voice but voice alone won’t take home the prize.
This all happened before the first hour was up. The top four singers sang, followed by the bottom two. The judges picked who to go home. The second hour is simply the top five performing a second song.
Trent Harmon (“Counting Stars” OneRepublic) – This song is not working for him. He seems to be relying on his quirks more than performance here. It just feels wrong across the board. Keith said he didn’t connect with it at all. JLo said America picked the song for him and he did all he could. HCJ said it felt like a hoe-down when he clapped. “I give you a pass on that,” he said. Grade: C
Dalton Rapattoni (“Numb” Linkin Park) – Proof that the few folks left voting have no idea what they are doing. They’ve already gotten rid of Olivia Rox and Avalon Young (the better ladies) and have kept him around. Heck, he wasn’t even in the bottom two! He strips the edge out of this song so I feel numb instead. Just terrible all the way around. If I were Linkin Park, I’d be seriously peeved. JLo says he took the oomph out of the song. “The arrangement lacked the excitement everybody wanted.” HCJ thought he poured the guts into that lyric. Keith said it wasn’t fully Daltonized. “I would have stripped it down even more.” Grade: D
La’Porsha Renae (“Ready For Love” India.arie) – This is not the most exciting song for her to sing but she did sing her guts out. So she gets points for that. HCj: “Pleading, mournful… It was all about the lyrics. It was all about the feeling.” Keith: “I’m not even judging. I’m just captivated.” JLo: “My favorite India.arie song ever. You give me total earth mother.” Grade: B-plus
Jussie Smollett and Yazz (“Never Let It Die”) – Cross promotion alert with “Empire.” It’s a pretty good song. And the contestants even get to throw down a bit.
MacKenzie Bourg (“Wild World” Cat Stevens) – Very pleasant. Innocuous. Unmemorable. Keith you’re like cake batter. “Even if it’s not cooked, it’s real good.” JLo said songs are challenging them. “You have so much likability. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of that.” HCJ liked the uptempo beat. He said he was changing the melodies a bit too much. Grade: B
So it’s two women again at the bottom, this time Tristan McIntosh and Sonika Vaid.
Tristan McIntosh (“Independence Day” Martina McBride) – She’s mining Martina again after singing “A Broken Wing.” She does a beautiful version. Her voice really shines here. JLo felt she is doing too many of the same things week in, week out. HCJ said she’s good at songs where there’s a source of pain like “A Broken Wing.” She said time will only help her improve her gift. He thought it was just okay. Keith said she has a God-given voice and is photogenic. The next level of artistry is take a song like that is do it full out or stripped down, not in the middle like that. Grade: A-minus
Sonika Vaid (“Let It Go” Idina Menzel) – That worked great from a technical standpoint. Emotionally, it was okay. I actually preferred Tristan but it’s obvious the judges are going to save Sonika. HCJ said it was strong but she gets a little lost with more rousing underscore. Keith loves her voice and her performances coming alive. JLo said she’s a fighter. Grade: B/B-plus
Dalton (“Sounds of Silence” Simon & Garfunkel) – Some serious pitch issues. And the way he clips words off is now just annoying. He emotes well in this one. It’s better than “Numb.” But that’s not saying a lot. The judges loved him of course. HCJ said he’s like a graffiti artist. Grade: B/B-minus
Adam Lambert (“Welcome to the Show”) – Adam’s an artist and a star. And he shows why. This was the first time he sang this live. “I got such a rush out of that!” he said. “I’m so pumped!”
MacKenzie (“Billie Jean” Michael Jackson) – He doesn’t bring the edge the way David Cook did when he covered this eight years ago. Instead, he brings some impressive layers of angst to it. JLo said he just showed why he’s here. “Your vocal delivery was so confident.I was riveted the whole time.” HCJ said he clearly thinks about the lyrics. Grade: A-minus
Trent (“Simple Man” Lynyrd Skynyrd) – His Southern roots come out here. He pumps soul into this with serious passion. HCJ: “There’s an essence about you that is Southern.” Keith said it’s lyrically perfect for him. JLo said it’s moments like this is why she’s going to miss “Idol.” Grade: A-minus
Sonika (“Clarity” Zedd) – Can she be a modern pop singer? This is her effort. And she puts in the effort. Does it translate over the TV? Where’s the tragedy? Not here. She is not at all connecting with the lyrics. She is too chipper. Keith feels she is still too smooth and not raw enough. JLo didn’t like the song for her. Grade: B/B-minus
La’Porsha (“No More Drama’ Mary J. Blige) – She brought a tour de force performance again. She started quiet and built it up until the end, filling the screen with her pain. If there is a woman who can win, it’s really just her. She ends in tears. JLo is in tears herself. Grade: A/A-minus