By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Thursday, March 24, 2016
Sonika Vaid, not surprisingly, didn’t make the cut. Dalton Rapattoni came in fourth and survived another week.
While Dalton should have gone home tonight after a succession of awful/bad/mediocre performances, Sonika didn’t get the votes. She didn’t seem to be capable of connecting with the audience except for that Evanescence song a couple weeks back. Dalton is riding on his good looks, meticulous hair and pretty make-up more than his rather weak voice at this point.
As the show rushes to a true end in two weeks, I’m feeling more nostalgic about the past than what’s actually happening on stage. That’s a shame but with singers like Tristan McIntosh, Olivia Rox and Avalon Young gone too soon, it makes me question the decision making of voters.
For weeks, La’Porsha Renae has been a consistent powerhouse, setting herself for the win. (My colleague Gracie Bond Staples is from the same Mississippi town as Renae and wrote this column about some controversy going on within her town concerning her parade and hometown visit.)
But Trent Harmon is breathing down her neck. He performed two pitch-perfect songs tonight and is getting better every week.
MacKenzie Bourg? The way he changes songs is still pretty but also pretty tedious. Shame.
They are three very different, emotive singers. Now I think it will inevitably be a kickin’ finale between Trent and La’Porsha.
Tonight, Katharine McPhee, Sia and David Cook performed. Kat effectively went back into the well for nostalgia. Sia sounded great and was as strange as ever. Cook? Sorry. “Heartbeat” had no life.
Good news for nostalgia buffs: “Idol” today also released info about the series finale week. Thirteen of the previous 14 winners will be performing on the series finale, including a pre-taped Kelly Clarkson (She’s too pregnant, unfortunately, to be on stage for the end, which is a shame) Who’s missing? Phillip Phillips, the only one in dispute with 19 Entertainment. Awkward!
There is no reference to the original judges but it’s a lock that Simon, Randy and Paula will be there. They might even bring back Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres and Steven Tyler. Nicki Minaj or Mariah Carey? Nah…
AMERICAN IDOL, the cultural phenomenon that changed the face of television and created some of today’s biggest music stars, will kick off a three-night Grand Finale week on Tuesday, April 5 (8:00-9:30 PM ET/PT), with AMERICAN IDOL: AMERICAN DREAM. The can’t-miss, 90-minute retrospective will feature host Ryan Seacrest, current and former judges, former IDOLs and contestants and the behind-the-scenes team sharing their personal IDOL memories, as they reflect on what the show has meant to them and how it became the groundbreaking series that it is today. In addition to Seacrest, original IDOL judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson offer never-before-revealed stories about how IDOL came to be. This is a very special, inside look at the journey that IDOL has taken viewers on during its 15-season run.
The following night, America’s most crucial – and last-ever – vote will take place when the remaining finalists battle it out live from Dolby Theatre on Wednesday, April 6 (8:00-9:00 PM live ET/tape-delayed PT). AMERICAN IDOL’s two-part Grand Finale will be filled with surprise appearances and star-studded performances, including winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, who return to the IDOL stage one last time to perform on Thursday, April 7 (8:00-10:06 PM live ET/tape-delayed PT). The farewell celebration will continue, as IDOL pays tribute to the past 15 seasons, the amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who called, tweeted, texted and championed their IDOLS, before the 15th and final AMERICAN IDOL is crowned.
In addition to superstars Clarkson and Underwood, Thursday’s final episode will have all-star performances by former IDOLs, including Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Ace Young, Allison Iraheta, Amber Holcomb, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Brandon Rogers, Bucky Covington, Carly Smithson, Casey James, Chris Daughtry, Clark Beckham, Clay Aiken, Colton Dixon, Constantine Maroulis, Danny Gokey, Diana DeGarmo, Elliott Yamin, George Huff, James Durbin, Jessica Sanchez, Josh Gracin, Joshua Ledet, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Kimberley Locke, Kree Harrison, LaToya London, Lauren Alaina, Melinda Doolittle, Pia Toscano, Sanjaya, Skylar Laine, Tamyra Gray and more, before host Ryan Seacrest announces the results of America’s votes and the final IDOL is crowned.
La’Porsha (“Wanted Dead or Alive” Bon Jovi) – She had surprising command of this rock song. It somehow worked despite the oddity of it all. The judges naturally gave her universal praise. HJC compared her to Tina Turner. Grade: A-minus
MacKenzie Bourg (“I Want You To Want Me” Cheap Trick) – Not quite as effective as previous efforts to change up songs but he definitely gave it his own twist. JLo said he “Mackenzied it” but wasn’t sure if she really loved it. “Wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be.” HCJ said it lost immediacy by slowing it down. Keith said he hated the arrangement. Grade: B
David Cook (“Heartbeat”) – That song is dead on arrival. Leaden with no hook whatsoever. Grade: D
Trent Harmon (“Sharp Dressed Man” ZZ Top) – This bluesy arrangement worked well. He dug in and just felt it. He was in his pocket. JLo said it was dark and dirty. Keith said that really stood out. Grade: A
Dalton Rapattoni (“God Only Knows” Beach Boys) – He picked a classic song but was just meh to me. Clearly, he’s connecting with the teen girls much better. JLo said it was a good moment. HCJ felt that was the most complex melodically for him and showed his vulnerabilities. Grade: B-minus
Katharine McPhee (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) – Sometimes, you can go home.
La’Porsha (“Elastic Heart”) – Don’t really get a lot of these overwrought Sia songs. I was not that excited but La’Porsha performed it just fine. Grade: B/B-plus
MacKenzie (“Titaniam”) – Pretty but pretty predictable, too. Grade: B/B-plus
Sia. Lovely song. Weird performance dancers. Typical Sia.
Trent (“Chandelier”) – He is oddly compelling at any octave. I was impressed. Grade: A
Dalton (“Bird Set Free”) – This is probably his best live performance to date, elevated by a great song. It worked on emotion alone. He is not a terribly good technical singer by any stretch of the imagination. Grade: B-plus