We have our Top 5. I hated the way the show ignored America’s vote in selecting the remaining contestants. It flew in the face of the whole premise of American Idol. BUT, and this is a very big BUT (so to speak), now that we’ve gotten there, I have to say that I like this Top 5. The second half of the results show was ON FIRE. It was entertaining in a way that Idol has not been entertaining for the past few season. It was super entertaining. And there were Idol moments. So while there have been bumps in the road during this farewell season, I now feel encouraged that American Idol may be able to finish strong.
One thing that has been missing in recent seasons is the connection that we feel to the contestants. Think of Kelly Clarkson and how taken we were with her story and with her personality. There was an excitement expressed by the contestants about being given this chance to succeed. In later seasons, we saw many semi-professional singers who almost seemed like they felt entitled to the record contract. We definitely didn’t get to bond with them. And they didn’t always come across as humble. This week, the show did a great job of featuring the contestants’ back stories in a way that was very moving and engaging. And it enhanced their performances.
I loved Trent Harmon’s rendition of Simple Man and how sweet was it when he said how he misses his mama. Aww. La’Porsha’s version of No More Drama was emotionally shattering. It was truly an Idol Moment the likes of which we have not seen in seasons. Mackenzie, Dalton and Sonika all came through too. They are a likable bunch. They all come across as nice, humble people who are grateful for the opportunity of being on American Idol. If we’re looking for a bookend to Kelly Clarkson, then those are important qualities. It may be why some of the contestants from the recent past seasons weren’t able to get people invested in them.
Now it did feel like it was kind of late to tell Tristan McIntosh that she is young and not ready. I think it’s a fair assessment, but it’s not like anything has changed during the past few weeks. Didn’t they share that view of her all along? Well, maybe not. Maybe they thought she’d progress more quickly and maybe the results would have been different if this were a longer season like in the past. Tristan had tweeted earlier in the week that there would be no judges’ save that week, but that turned out to not be true. I do wonder whether Sonika had the lowest votes and the show decided to go back to the judges’ save after deciding that Tristan wasn’t really ready. Guess we’ll never know. But it did give Sonika another chance to impress and show that she is listening and steadily improving in performance. I think she’s someone who would definitely have benefited from a longer season. As it stands now, I think Sonika is still likely to be the person who leaves this week. It just feels like the Dalton, Mackenzie, La’Porsha and Trent fan bases are stronger but you never know…
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.
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.
Everything about Wednesday night’s show made me nostalgic for the glory days of Idol’s past. The clips of Simon, Paula and Randy in action were more fun than the montages of the current judges telling us how much fun they are having. Clay Aiken’s takedown of a contestant wasn’t particularly humorous and highlighted how it’s not easy to replicate Simon Cowell’s vibe. Contestant Amelia Eisenhauer made me long for Crystal Bowersox and Kree Harrison. And don’t get me started on why you would even bring a sword to the auditions in the first place.
There’s not a lot of magic on American Idol so far this season. This episode seemed like a struggle, using the past to stay afloat.
How do you keep the music playing? How do you make it last? How do you keep the song from fading too fast?
I’m hopeful that when we reach the live shows, the energy will pick up and the season will get more exciting. There were a few promising contestants tonight:
Poh – I liked her jazzy sound. Poh seemed more conventional than sister Shi, until Poh revealed she took her name from a Teletubbie.
Jenna Renae – She has a lot of potential. They gave her the Kelly Clarkson edit by having her be charming while accidentally breaking the door.
Adam Lasher – I have no idea what kind of artist he is but he sure cleaned up nicely.
Emily Brook – Radio friendly voice and they are building a Kelly Clarkson worthy story of how hard work pays off.
We’re looking for a bookend to Kelly Clarkson. Simon might have asked if that was supposed to mean someone wooden or inanimate. But we’re in a kinder, gentler era of Idol judges now. Well, sort of. I mean mocking some contestants as being undateable in J Lo’s phone app wasn’t nice, but let’s face it, we’re talking about J Lo and nobody here’s getting a date, lol.
What comes to mind when you think of Kelly Clarkson? I think of a big voice, but I also think of someone down to earth, humble and likeable. That’s who I think the show is looking for in terms of a bookend.
In past seasons, we often saw a few contestants who seemed very confident and they sometimes came across as abrasive. Some also came across as feeling entitled. In the second episode of this final season, we didn’t see anyone like this going through to Hollywood.
There were two girls who kept apologizing. One was self-deprecating and the other acted overly confident. Only one received a ticket to Hollywood. In this search for a bookend to Kelly, there will be no room for anyone who does not come across as down to earth, humble and likeable.