Kelly Clarkson Comes Home to American Idol

A moment like this. Kelly Clarkson sure knows how to give us American Idol moments. On Thursday night, Kelly came home to the show that started her career. She was spectacular in every way. Her comments to the contestants were spot on and actually could be helpful to them (unlike the canned comments we often hear). Kelly was the judge that we have been missing for these past seasons. It was so fun to see her at the judges’ table. But it makes you wonder how much better the past few seasons could have been had Kelly been at that table.

After La’Porsha sang so amazingly, I thought “I wonder if Kelly wants to sing after that performance”. Ha! Kelly Clarkson has no fear! She got up there majorly preggers and killed  her song. She killed it! Piece by Piece was a heartbreaker. She proved that she is the greatest Idol of them all. And quite frankly, she also proved that the best bookend to Kelly Clarkson is none other than KELLY CLARKSON herself.

But alas, we are still searching for a bookend winner for Season 15 and there are some good choices. Standouts were La’Porsha, Dalton, Trent, Sonika and MacKenzie. I thought the weakest performances were given by Gianna and Tristan, but I think the viewers may send Gianna and Lee home. I think Olivia and Avalon are vulnerable. I hope Olivia is not hurt by having sung first (a notoriously tough position) and Avalon could be hurt by her lack of connection to her song. I like both Olivia and Avalon and want them to make it through. Let’s hope their fan bases came out to vote.

For now, I’ll content myself by listening to the triumphant Kelly Clarkson. It would be great if she remained on the show the rest of the season. Kelly – Don’t You Wanna Stay? Don’t You Wanna Stay – Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson

 

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American Idol Ch-Ch Changes

Turn and face the strange. Changes are happening at American Idol. After announcing that the Top 10 would be split between 8 judges’ picks and only 2 audience wildcards, the show has done a turn-around. Now the judges will select 4 of the Top 10 and the other 6 will be selected by the viewers!

I’m really pleased by this because it at least takes us closer to the original format. The whole fun of the show is the audience getting to vote for their favorites. The cynic in me says that the show must be pretty confident about their 4 judges’ picks and that they figure they are safe to make this change to please the viewers. The show will also get the chance to see just how popular certain people are and if the audience ends up voting in all the WGWGs for example, the show can say “hey, that’s what the viewers wanted”.

It feels like the show will want to put through Dalton, La’Porsha, Tristan and maybe Trent. I think Mackenzie should be in that group too but I can also see them letting the audience decide whether it prefers Mackenzie or Thomas. Similarly, the audience can decide if it wants Jeneve or Jenn. Olivia or Avalon. Sonika or Gianna. You get the idea.

Let’s see what happens with the first 4 picks and wildcard performances. I am much more excited about this week’s shows now. Thank you, American Idol for getting back to basics.

 

 

 

American Idol Semifinals Let’s Get to the Voting Already

Ugh. Not being able to vote in the American Idol Semifinals really makes a difference. It’s just not as fun. And it makes everything look so phony baloney and staged.

I thought I would prefer this second group of contestants but I found last week’s show to be more entertaining. This week my favorites were Olivia Rox and Trent Harmon.

It’s tough to predict what the show plans to do but I’ll guess the ones going through are Dalton (d’uh), Trent, Olivia, Tristan, Lee, CJ and maybe Jenn. I hope they give Jenn another chance but they may think she’s too out there and be worried she’d make it on the wildcard. But if it’s not Jenn, then I’m not sure who it would be. I like Adam Lasher a lot but the show doesn’t seem to like him. They weren’t encouraging to Shelbie or Manny. And Kory – hmm, they don’t seem to think he has the wow factor. So that brings us to Amelia and it comes down to whether they want a quirky girl or a very young quirky girl. Since they already have a very young quirky girl in Jeneve, I think that tilts it towards Jenn.

One more thing: if neither Adam Lasher nor Kory Wheeler makes it through, then none of Haley Reinhart’s duet partners would make it. We all remember how much the show likes to dump on the talented Haley Reinhart, don’t we? Just sayin’.

 

 

 

Singing with Past American Idols

Night Two of the so-called Semi-Finals round of American Idol Season 15 was made up of duets between the contestants and idols from past seasons. Since the viewers weren’t going to have a vote, TPTB had to do something to keep our attention. Another night of solo performances without a viewer vote, wouldn’t cut it.

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Photo Credit: American Idol/Fox

So without any need to think about voting, I settled in to be entertained. And for the most part, I was. I really enjoyed seeing the contestants from the past. Specifically, I liked seeing Fantasia Barrino, Ruben Studdard, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. Fantasia’s duet and on-air discussion with La’Porsha Renae was exciting. Ruben’s duets with Stephany Negrete and Avalon Young reminded me of how smooth he can be. I forgot how Scotty is really a hoot onstage and his duet with Jeneve Rose Mitchell was certainly out there but it was very entertaining. The biggest surprise to me was Lauren Alaina. She has matured vocally and she seemed very comfortable engaging in onstage banter/flirtation which also provided entertainment.

I have to say that I wasn’t really interested in Caleb Johnson or Nick Fradiani and I think that’s a symptom of the fact that the seasons after Season 11 were not really compelling. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed Caleb’s and Nick’s duets with the contestants.

Since the show already knew who they’d be putting through, they were able to give each past idol a duet with at least one contestant who would go through to the next round. So they were all able to end up looking like helpful mentors. The episode had the feeling of a variety show of the past. Again, I found it enjoyable but it was focused more on the singing strengths of the mentors rather than the contestants. It was however, a decent way to fill an episode that would otherwise have been kind of a lame duck episode, given that the audience had no say and it seemed clear that the cuts had already been decided upon by the show.

 

 

American Idol Is This The Semifinals? Or another audition round?

The changes at American Idol this season mean that the viewers do not get to vote during the semifinals. The semifinals are no longer aired live and the contestants are cut solely by the choice of the judges and producers. Watching the so-called semifinals last night, I realized that without an audience vote, this really is just another audition round.

As a result, I wasn’t feeling as invested as usual. No one was looking for my vote last night. I understand why the producers like this change – they get to further handpick the contenders, but it really goes against the original appeal of the show.

Another thing that has changed from the first season is that I remember how cool it was to see Kelly Clarkson singing with Reba McEntire and thinking “wow, this girl gets to sing with Reba – unbelievable!” Now we expect to see the contestants singing with celebrities. I’m excited that they are bringing back past Idols to sing tonight.

Last night, the judges’ comments seemed very scripted. A number of people online said the fix is in. I think that’s true because it’s the whole reason to cut out audience voting. TPTB want to give us a limited number of contestants to choose from. The feedback last night will likely tie in to the eliminations tonight, although I bet there will be at least one person who will be told that they were “saved” from elimination by a successful duet.

Who do I think is safe? I think Jeneve Rose Mitchell, La’Porsha Renae, MacKenzie Bourg and Thomas Stringfellow will be safe. I’m hopeful that Avalon Young will also be safe. It feels like a good bet that Sonika Vaid will make it too. For the remaining slot, I’m going to guess that Emily Brooke will advance despite her performance last night and that it will be linked to a successful duet with Lauren Alaina tonight.

I think James VIII, Jordan Sasser, Jenna Renae, Stephany Negrete and Gianna Isabella will be left out in the cold. If Emily Brooke doesn’t make it, Jenna or Gianna may get that spot, but I’m going with the saved by the duet prediction for Emily.

 

 

American Idol Who Should Have Made Top 24?

There are always American Idol injustices and Season 15 is no exception. In cutting down the field from 51 to 24, there were some head shakers. I was generally pleased with the results of the Top 24, but I would have liked to see Lindita Halimi and Malie Delgado make it through. Jessica Cabral’s cut was a bit of a surprise too. And I still think John Wayne Schulz should have been in there…

American Idol Solo Round and Round We Go

Ohhhh, too many favorites this season. The solo rounds gave us performances from a fair number of contestants (hey, they only had an hour). And there was a lot to like. I kept saying “oh, I forgot about him” and “yeah, I like her too” throughout. When we got glimpses of the three rooms, I realized how many more unseen contestants are ones I like. This is going to be a tough elimination tonight as they bring the group down to 24. Particularly amongst the girls if they plan to make it even.

Loved MacKenzie Bourg and Olivia Rox’s original songs. Still liking the country girls, Emily Brooke and Shelbie Z and I found myself rooting for Malie Delgado. And there are of course all the others I’ve liked all along, there is a good deal of talent. When I try to pick just 24, I go round and round, it’s not going to be an easy cut.

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Photo Credit American Idol/Fox

The sad note tonight was seeing John Wayne Schulz go home. I was very surprised. He seemed like a great choice for Top 24. Keith muttered “what’s missing?” after he sang and I thought “nothing really”, but I guess the judges disagreed. His version of The Dance can be heard at his website JohnWayneSchulz so that’s what we’ve got to hang on to for now.

Who didn’t we see? Quite a lot of people but here are some I really wished we had seen last night:

Jenna Renae, Adam Lasher, Lindita Halimi, Jordyn Simone, Collette Lush – we haven’t seen enough of any of them. There are others I would have liked to have heard (Trent, La’Porsha) but at least we’ve seen a lot of them so far. I had no idea Issac Cole was still there and even Amelia Eisenhauer (who looked like a producer favorite) has been scarce.

Let’s see how it goes tonight!