American Idol It Takes Two

It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight.

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It takes two to make a thing go right

Photo Credit: Fox/American Idol

La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon. Wow. They gave us one of the best finales in Idol history. A great match. Idol is going out on a high note (literally!). I am sad to see Idol coming to an end, but this finale was very satisfying. Both contestants are worthy of the title. I think I have to give a slight edge to La’Porsha (I loved her A House is Not a Home) but Trent was also excellent and they both moved me with their performances. I’ll be happy either way because I think they’d both make fine bookends to Kelly Clarkson. Of course I’ll also be sad because American Idol will be no more and it’s been such a fun show. What a great ride.

American Idol Every Girl Crazy About Trent

Trent Harmon really delivered during the Top 4 performances. His Sharp Dressed Man was a blast and his version of Chandelier was beautiful. He could not have done better. It was great to see him perform like that. I am hopeful that he is on the road to a spot in the finale.

The Sharp Dressed Trent Harmon
The Sharp Dressed Trent Harmon

Photo Credit: Fox/American Idol

It was also great to see interested, thoughtful mentors. Both Steven Van Zandt and Sia were excellent and helped the contestants  improve their performances. The show was very entertaining. Again, it proved that the Idol concept still works and it’s a shame that Idol didn’t feature mentors like this throughout the season because it probably would have greatly improved things.

Dalton’s fans got a scare when they saw him in the Bottom 2 with Sonika. I’m sure all of his fans voted like crazy that night to make sure he makes it into the Top 3. It seems like Trent is a sure thing for Top 3 as well given his awesome peformances. So that leaves MacKenzie and La’Porsha. The judges gave MacKenzie a tough time – tougher than was merited in my opinion. His first song was only okay but Titanium was good and the judges came across as harsh. Sometimes harsh criticism of a contestant backfires, especially if the person wasn’t really bad. I have a feeling that this could result in a strong sympathy vote. Many people think that MacKenzie will be the next to leave the show, but I would not be surprised if it turns out to be La’Porsha who has the lowest number of votes. If La’Porsha is the next to leave, the judges will express their shock and outrage and Scott Borchetta will likely breathe a sigh of relief.  La’Porsha has consistently given terrific performances and is very talented but you know how the Idol audience loves its cute boys. Every Girl Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man. Oh and did I mention that I love David Cook…

 

American Idol Finish Strong!

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…

 

 

American Idol Did Avalon Scare Them Like Haley?

 

 

Avalon Young

Photo Credit: Fox/American Idol

Last week the Top 8 became the Top 6. As I predicted, the Bottom 3 were Lee, Sonika and Avalon and Sonika was saved by the judges/producers. My theory is that the show wants the following contestants in the Top 5: Dalton, MacKenzie, LaPorsha, Tristan and Trent. For awhile they may have wanted Sonika to advance, but she doesn’t seem to have kept their support. In an interview last week, Scott Borchetta made comments about Sonika not having had more than one great performance, etc. He praised Avalon as the stronger contestant, implying that he would have saved her. But then again, Borchetta also recently said in an interview that he is involved in the judges’ decisions about who to save, referring to a wink and a nod that I assume meant he guided their decision. So in that case, why didn’t they save Avalon?

I don’t believe that Avalon had the lowest or the second lowest number of votes last week. She was coming off of her very strong performance of Earned It. Since last week was apparently the last week of the judges/producers’ save, they needed to pick off the strongest of the three lowest vote getters. TPTB are probably pretty confident that Sonika will have the lowest number of votes this week and the media spin of how Sonika didn’t live up to her potential has already been started by Borchetta. My thought is that if they didn’t eliminate Avalon while they had the chance last week, they were afraid that she might outperform some of their “chosen” contestants and make it into the Top 5. I think they were afraid that Avalon Young would pull a Haley Reinhart on them and keep gaining momentum. Oh, if only they hadn’t put in place that phony judges’ save and let America’s vote really count! Most likely Lee and Sonika would have gone home last week and Avalon – well, Avalon would have had a chance to show us how far she could have gotten in the competition. But TPTB surely remember how Haley Reinhart kept giving knockout performances and escaping elimination and how it sure felt like the show was doing everything it could to try to stop her. Haley went all the way to the Top 3. Do you think the show was afraid that Avalon Young might do the same? That’s what I think and I think that’s why they didn’t save her last week while the decision was still in the hands of the judges/show/producers/record label guy, etc.

If this week’s elimination is truly in the hands of the viewers, then we know that the choice is supported by the producers (or else they would have changed the rules again and kept the judges’ save another week). Based on this, my guess is that Sonika will be going home.

 

 

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

 

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’.

 

 

 

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!

American Idol Stirring the Pot during Hollywood Week

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Picture Credit: American Idol/Fox

The Farewell Season of Hollywood Week was a good balance of successful performances peppered with the usual drama amongst some contestants. I love American Idol’s Hollywood Week. It’s exciting to see if my favorites get through to the next round. And yes, it’s a guilty pleasure, but I also like to watch the complications that always arise during the group round. This season didn’t disappoint. There are a lot of talented contestants and there were some entertaining conflicts.

Who turned out to be the biggest drama queen? Harry Connick, Jr.! I couldn’t believe when he went off on Joy Dove. She has such a positive attitude and wanted to see her group succeed. I resented that Harry made her feel bad for being nice. I also think he gave her bad advice. Joy Dove’s bright personality will benefit her more in this competition than getting in the last long notes in the group number. I’m not sure that  last bit did much for Lindita anyway. It’s one thing to tell a contestant they need to show energy and fight for their spot in the competition. But that’s different from saying you should fight to stop your fellow group members from shining. That’s effectively what Harry said.

Then later in the show, the message from J Lo was that you should try to get along with everyone. On American Idol, that’s a better message. The people who were portrayed as bossy or out for themselves got eliminated. The group who didn’t accommodate Anatalia didn’t do anything so horrible. But I think their images may have gotten a bit tarnished. We’ll see if it affects them down the road.

My favorites at this point are Dalton Rapattoni, Trent Harmon, Tristan McIntosh, Tommy Stringfellow, Emily Brooke, Jenn Blosil and La’Porsha Renae. I also want to see more of John Wayne Schulz, Adam Lasher, Mackenzie Bourg and Avalon Young. Kacey Levels hadn’t been on my radar before and was impressive. Gotta also keep an eye on Manny Torres, he’s giving me an Elliott Yamin vibe.

Who are your favorites at this stage?

American Idol Hollywood Week Part 1

On Wednesday’s show, there was a lot of talk about all the female talent this year, but at this stage, it’s still anyone’s game. We saw many talented girls last night. But they held back and didn’t show some of the guys who impressed during their auditions. Specifically, Mackenzie Bourg, Adam Lasher and John Wayne Schulz. Probably to hush any cries of WGWG!

We also didn’t see Amelia, Collette, Avalon, Lindita or Jordan. The one hour format only allows for so much, so maybe I’m reading too much into the absence of the three guys mentioned above. But I don’t think so. Trent Harmon and Dalton Rapattoni already look very strong, so you add in a few more WGWG and it doesn’t look so much like a girl’s year anymore, does it?

But Emily Brooke and Tristan McIntosh also look very strong at this stage. So yeah, it’s still anyone’s game.

Keep in mind that you only need one Scotty McCreery or one Phillip Phillips to run away with everything and win by a mile. That’s the rumor why they don’t release the vote totals, because some years, one person leads the whole time by a landslide. Let’s see how this season plays out.

On to Group Night tonight! Always a guilty pleasure of mine – a little drama can be a lot of fun…