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 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 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…