Friday, April 8, 2016

American Idol 15: Idol Crowns The Final Winner

It was a bittersweet show filled with awesome performances and tearful goodbyes. The Finale of American Idol Season 15 had a double meaning; the end of the season and the end of an era.
I'll try not to get too sappy here and just tell you what went down on the show.

First thing we saw a video clip from President Obama acknowledging 15 years of American Idol and telling everyone to vote in governmental elections the way Idol fans voted for their favorites.

The program began with a performance of Barry Manilow's "One Voice." La'Porsha began the song, Trent and Dalton joined her, then the rest of the Top 10 joined in and slowly more and more former Idol contestants joined them on stage for the song. It was very touching to see all of these contestants and formed contestants dressed in all white, singing together. There is no way I can list all of the people on the stage, but here are some that I spotted: David Archuleta, Colton Dixon, Nick Fradiani, Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry, Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, James Durbin, Casey James, Ace Young, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Hicks, Brandon Rogers, David Cook, Constantine Maroulis, Ruben Stoddard, Alison Iraheta, Melinda Dolittle, Kris Allen, Katharine McPhee, Bo Bice, Skylar Laine, Jessica Sanchez, George Huff, Caleb Johnson, Danny Gokey, Lee Dewyze, Elliott Yamin, Clark Beckham, Joshua Ledet, Pia Toscano, and more. I heard there would be somewhere around 50 people on the stage.

Ryan Seacrest began the show, but suddenly the announced "and Brian Dunkleman." Dunkleman was the host with Seacrest way back in season 1. (I wasn't watching then and never realized what an annoying voice Dunkleman has, but he was funny.) Seacrest let him announce the judges.

Harry was dressed in a tux, Keith in a slightly more casual looking suit, and Jennifer was dressed in a beautiful sparkling, champagne colored gown.

The first performance of the night was a duet between La'Porsha and Trent. They sang the same song Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini sang in season 1, Marvin Gaye's "It Takes Two."

There was a video message from former judge Steven Tyler.

First group performance- Pop Medley
First up to sing, former judge Kara DioGuardi (who really needs to writing songs, not singing them). She is joined in this group by Jordin Sparks, Tamyra Gray, Colton Dixon, Justin Guarini, Kimberley Locke, Alison Iraheta, Pia Toscano, and Larry Platt (the guy who sang "Pants On The Ground").

Next we saw a taped performance by the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. Poor Kelly couldn't be there because she is having her second baby any minute now, or at least sometime soon, and the doctors said no more traveling. She had taped a performance when she visited Idol to help judge back mid way through. We heard a nice medley of her hits.

Group Performance - The Rockers
Bo Bice, James Durbin, Constantine Maurolis, Caleb Johnson, and ... Chris Daughtry. Too bad their voices didn't blend very well.

We saw a cool performance by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood of Tom Petty's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around."

Ryan Seacrest stopped in the audience to talk with wrestler John Cena about the new reality show he will be hosting starting next week, "American Grit."

Group Performance - Country Music
Diana Degarmo, Skylar Laine, Kree Harrison, Bucky Covington, Ace Young, Constantine Maroulis, LAuren Alaina, Kellie Pickler, And Scotty McCreery.

Taped message from season 12 judge Nicki Minaj

Harry Connick Jr presented a video package about when Idol Gives BAck was still part of the show and then he sang "What A Wonderful World" with a nine year old girl from New Orleans.

Group Performance - Great singers, great music and great musicians
Katharine McPhee and Casey James, Carly Smithson, Clay Aiken, Amber Holcomb and Ruber Stoddard, and Jessica Sanchez.

Jennifer Lopez performed her new single "Ain't You Mama" while feathers flew, dancers gyrated, and JLo changed outfits on stage behind huge feather fans.

Group Performance - Season 3 Divas and the MoTown guys
Jennifer Hudson, Fantasta, Latoya London, Brandon Rogers, Clark Beckham, George Huff, Danny Gokey, Elliott Yamin. They are later joined by Taylor Hicks, Blake Lewis, Joshua Ledet, Melinda Dolittle, Candice Glover and the Top 10 of this season.

David Bowie Tribute: The WGWG winners of Idol
Phillip Phillips, Lee Dewyze, Kris Allen, Nick Fradiani, and David Cook.

Video package of "having fun" on Idol showing bad auditions, Simon/Paula/Randy jdging clips, and Seacrest dealing with crazy people.

Ryan introduces Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. They present Ryan with a huge neon American Idol sign he gets to take home since he is the only one to make it all 15 seasons. As they are all talking about Simon Cowell, he surprises them by walking on the stage.

William Hung comes out and thankfully only gets to sing a few seconds of "She Bangs."

Message from formed season 9 judge, Ellen DeGeneres.

Tribute to the Ford videos (Which in previous seasons were awesome) showing clips from all seasons. Trent and La'Porsha are presented with keys to their new Ford Fusions.

Carrie Underwood performs her new single "Something In The Water" which is an awesome Christian Country song.

And Finally, the reason for the night (Besides celebrating Idol) the winner of Season 15 of American Idol is....... TRENT HARMON .

The judges seemed to be truly stunned. I was a little surprised, but not that much. (Remember the WGWG effect.)

Trent needs to stop crying and sing his coronation song "Falling" which was co-written by Keith Urban.

And tons of confetti falls.

Ryan Seacrest signs off with a teary-eyed Thank You saying

"Good Night America....... For Now"

And there it is. A no-frills review of a definitely frilly, glittery, teary night of reality television. The End Of An Era. The End of American we know it anyway. Simon Fuller has been quoted in several publications saying that Idol will return in some form at some point.

I loved this silly show and so wish I had tuned in to see it sooner than I did. But I did a lot of internet searches and learned as much as I could about seasons 1 thru 5 so I could understand the past and appreciate the present and future better.

I have discovered several awesome singers whom I will continue to follow from watching this show.

So I guess that's all from me about American Idol....

For now.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

American Idol 15: Finale Week Begins

Not only is this week the finale of season 15, it is the finale of the entire show. No more American Idol after this week. I'm sad. I've been watching this silly show since the middle of season 6. Yes, I know I missed some really great performances that occurred before that time, but I also witnessed some phenomenal singers birthed right before my eyes. It will be very odd not being able to watch this show next year. Oh well. I guess all good things do actually come to an end.

So, on Tuesday's episode, we saw a recap of the 15 great years of American Idol. I won't go through the whole thing here. It was fun to watch the history of AI condensed into an hour and a half show. Of course, not all seasons were treated equally in this run-down, but it was still a great show.

On Wednesday, the Top 3 became the Top 2, but not until we heard the contestants tell why they were inspired by past contestants and sing as a trio a snippet of "Stole The Show." Then we heard the contestants perform their possible coronation songs. Since we don't yet know who will win the show, these are the songs each contestant will release as their first single, if they win. Or that is the way it used to go. It seems that all three were released on iTunes this time around.

Round One: The winner's song
Not what I would want to hear as Trent's first release. It is very R&B heavy sounding. Much like something from Robin Thick, whom I don't like very much. Oh well. Those first coronation songs usually aren't awesome. Philip Phillips really lucked out on his song. It was perfect for him.
No judges commentary on the first round of songs.

"Strike A Match"
This is a nice upbeat pop/rock song. Dalton seems happy singing it. It might not have the meaty lyrics that he usually sings, but it could work for that first release. Nice job.

La'Porsha Renae Jennings (not sure I've ever heard her last name before)
Well, if that title doesn't fit a La'Porsha song, I don't know who it does fit. It's a basic overcoming life's struggles song. It has a nice beat and is much easier to sing along with than the other two songs in this grouping.

Sadly it is time for 3 to become 2. As I said last week, I would be fine with any of these three becoming the final American Idol. They are all very good in their own ways.
Ryan announces La'Porsha and Trent are safe and will battle it out for the title.

That means Dalton is #3. That is a very respectable place to land in the competition. Showing what an awesome young man Dalton is, he is thrilled for Trent when his name is called. Dalton is all smiles as the highlight reel of his time on Idol is played. I think this young man will definitely have a chance in the world of music. It is probably better that he isn't given the added pressure of the final Idol title, since he does have the added bipolar disorder already on his plate. He has proven he can draw a following and I look forward to hearing from him in the future.

Round two: Simon Fuller's Choice
"If You Don't Know Me By Now"
Trent looks sharp in a plum velvet jacket over black. Another R&B song for Trent. (But Scott Borchetta said he will sign as a country artist. ??)This song is good for him. He took some liberties with the timing of the song and I think it paid off. Good job.
Keith - It's been extraordinary to watch how far you've come in this competition. You're giving La'Porsha a run for her money.
Jennifer - For the first time in a long time we actually have a battle going on here. That was amazing.
Harry - I want to congratulate Simon on a great choice. By now I feel like I know you. Nice job.

"A House Is Not A Home"
I forget to say in the first round that the dreads are gone. La'Porsha's regular Afro-styled hair is back. It looks much more normal on her. And her dress is so much better for this song; a beautiful classic black gown.
I liked the performance. She sounded great.
Jennifer - That's one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time. That was so beautiful baby.
Harry - One of the greatest things about the way you do lyrics is that you never overdo them; you keep them believable.
Keith - All I know is I don't even smoke and I need a cigarette right now. It was beautiful, smoldering. Perfect song choice.

Ryan asks Jennifer who won round two and she says they were both good, but La'Porsha.

Round Three: Contestant's Choice - Reprised Song
He has such an amazing range in his voice. There was zero problems for him to switch between these notes. Very nice performance.
Harry - We have two great singer left and if you were going to do anything to make this the hardest decision probably in the history of American idol, you just did it. That was really, really strong.
Keith - For some people, you may have just made it a real easy decision. Your vocal transition from head to chest into falsetto is so gorgeous and a magnificent thing to hear you sing it.
Jennifer - From the very beginning, I saw something so very special in you and I knew you'd be here in the last two. It's up to America now. You could not have sung that better.

Ryan brought out a leather bound book. It's Trent's journal where he has written down every comment the judges have eve given him.

La'Porsha is wearing another black gown; this one is bedazzled with rhinestones to fit the song. She performs an example of vocal gymnastics at its finest. This song seemed to be much shorter than Trent's song. Hum???
Keith - The songs you two chose tonight - if you were skiers, these songs were multiple black diamond runs, and you both just sailed down the hill. Beautiful job.
Jennifer - Watching you sing that song, and we've seen you have such control and composure all through this competition, so effortlessly, so beautifully, I know it takes a lot. I can't wait to go to your show one day and you can let loose.
Harry - I have nothing to say - It was incredible, amazing.

And there we have the end of an era. The final performances of the competition songs have been sung on American Idol. Now we just wait for the results to be read. I will be fine with either of these amazing singers winning. They both seem to be very humble people who are honestly amazed by where they are at this time.

Friday, April 1, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 4 Hometown Visits and Top 3 Perfom

This week's show began with a montage of the Top 4's hometown visits last weekend.

Ryan told us this would be the final broadcast at this studio. Next week's shows will be at the Dolby theater.

This show Keith performs a new song and we have 3 songs from each of the Top 3. We have hometown visits from the Top 4 plus the contestants song choice honoring their home town.

Contestant's choice honoring Hometown
MacKenzie - LaFayette, LA
The visit clip shows a crawfish boil, MacKenzie visiting his grandmother, MacKenzie playing in a basketball game at his high school, and a tear-filled visit to the hospital and doctor that saved his life as a teen.
"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
This was a very special performance with just MacKenzie and his guitar. Very poignant. Loved it.
Keith - Great song for you. Superb.
Jennifer - That was a really strong performance.
Harry - You've come full-circle. You've really grown.

**The Top 5 visited the Fox Studios a couple weeks ago. They learned about voice-overs on the new Ice Age movie that's in production now. Jennifer has a part in the movie.She announced that this season's winner will record a song for the movie.

Dalton - Dallas, Texas area
On this clip we see Dalton visit his grandmother's hair salon and have his hair done, visit the School of Rock he teaches at in Rockwall, Texas, visit with lots of family at his home, and perform for fans in his hometown of Sunnyvale, Texas.
"Calling You" Blue October
This was a cool, original song for Dalton to perform. He did a really good job. I know this song. Blue October is from a neighboring town here in Texas and have performed around here a lot.
Jennifer - It felt like it all sank in now and that you realized you belong here in the competition.
Harry - I liked the arrangement. I like the way you think about the words.
Keith - You did the best Daltonization of that song possible.
Dalton explained to Ryan that he knows the guys in Blue October since they are a band from San Marcos, Texas. The lead singer of the band has bipolar disorder also and has helped Dalton find his way in music. This song was a tribute to them as well as his hometown.

Trent - Amory, Mississippi
In this clip we are reminded that Trent is superstitious and has not seen his family since leaving for Hollywood. His first stop is a tearful reunion at home. He also visits the family restaurant and serves while there. He visits his high school and the stage where he first performed before he performs before a packed school stadium.
"Tennessee Whiskey" Chris Stapleton
I wasn't expecting him to do a major country song after some of the other things he's performed lately. Trent wears a classic western shirt and presents a very bluesy song.
Harry - That's a song that's been around for a long time, but you made it sound unique.
Keith - At this point, it's important to find a song that brings out everything in you as a singer. That was a bullseye.
Jennifer - It felt so easy, peasy, breezy for you.

La'Porsha - McComb, Mississippi
During her hometown visit La'Porsha visited the performing arts high school she attended and a domestic violence center. She went home for a true Southern home-cooked meal.
"Glory" Common and John Legend
This was so La'Porsha; powerful performance. She got a standing "O" from Keith.
Keith - Your gift is so strong and pure.
Jennifer - You're picking great songs for you. Always an inspiration.
Harry - Critique -proof performance. There's an incredible elegance and grace about you every time you take the stage.

Next up: One contestant is eliminated.
Trent is safe.
Dalton is safe.
La'Porsha and MacKenzie are the bottom two.
MacKenzie knows it's his time to leave the competition and says so.
La'Porsha is safe.
MacKenzie heads out.

Scott Borchetta's song choice
"Dancing In The Dark" Bruce Springsteen
Great song choice. Great performance. Fun. Jennifer is dancing in her chair.
Jennifer - You did great. The way you take the lyrics and make us feel them is so your gift. That sounded fresh and new.
Harry - The beginning sounded like '80's English New Wave. That was a smart arrangement. Your ability to take a lyric and twist it around trumps and lack in vocals. You're a good singer. You're in competition with some great singers, but you are still here because you have the ability to bring everyone along on the path with you.
Keith - I agree. And you are reminding all of the singers and musicians and people at home that it's about what you do that makes you individual. Do true to yourself and stand out.

"Stay With Me" Lorraine Ellison
Scott says La'Porsha didn't want to sing this song, but he made her do it anyway.
She has great vocals but you can tell her heart isn't in it. Obviously, she didn't want to sing about a guy cheating and the girl begging for him to come back.
Harry asks why she didn't like the song. He felt that she didn't believe in the lyrics.
Keith - Even if she didn't like it, her vocals killed it.
Jennifer - I do understand why they picked that for you.

Trent - "Drink You Away"  Justin Timberlake
I didn't like the beginning of the song; it sounded all jumbled to me.
I'm not sure why he had a guitar strapped on; he only used it to strum off the ending downbeat of the song.
Keith - Only one comment, what was the guitar for? You didn't need it.
Jennifer - That's singing to win.
HarryWhen the background singers stand up and start clapping, that's a really good sign.

** Keith Urban performed his new song "Wasted Time." He plays a cool, double-necked guitar; half guitar and half banjo. This was a nice pop-country song.

Judges' pick
Dalton- "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" Tears For Fears
Good performance from Dalton. The key seemed a bit low on some of the notes, but still good. Blending in too much.
Jennifer - Did you lower the key? It felt a little too low sometimes and we lost the brightness in your voice.
Harry - I like how you re-harmonized the tune. Not the best but you had two other really great performances.
Keith - I agree with Jenn. I would have taken the key up a little more. The energy dropped some.

La'Porsha - "Hello" Adele
Interesting beginning. She seems mad to me. Maybe because she is saddled with another "break-up song. Good vocals but I didn't really feel a connection to the song.
Harry apologized for choosing another "cheating guy" song.
Keith thought it was beautiful.
Jennifer - I liked it. It stretched your range a little.
*As a side thought, Harry was holding La'Porsha's baby while he introduced La'Porsha and while she performed. Then he gave the baby to La'Porsha to hold while they critiqued her performance. I know the child is important to her, but the audience needs to vote for the singing, not the baby. I think TPTB are desperate to get her in the top 2 since she was #3 on this voting and wanted to get the sympathy vote for her. JMO

Trent - "Waiting Game" Parson James
Bluesy, country vibe. Good job.
Keith - Tailor-made for you.
Jennifer - I got goosies. You killed it.
Harry - Nice job. It's been an honor to critique such a talent.

So I predicted that MacKenzie would be eliminated this week. I'm really glad he had such a strong performance of "Hallelujah" before he left. I wish him much luck in the future. He should be able to use his time on Idol to bolster his career.

I know the judges have been pushing for the La'Porsha vs Trent Finale for some time now. Both have been crowned already at different times in the competition. We had proof that TPTB wanted Trent in the mix when they let him perform solo in the group rounds when he had mono. And La'Porsha was presented as the shy, reserved girl with the tragic past from the start.

It was interesting to see how TPTB treated Dalton at the beginning. They didn't give out much personal info right away. When they saw he wasn't going away, they let out his battles with bipolar disorder. This gave us someone to champion that was already getting lots of votes.

Honestly, it really doesn't matter to me which one of these kids wins the whole shebang. All three are good in their own ways. They don't appeal to the same audience, so it could be a tight vote. I can't wait to see what happens this next week. Three shows in the finale week series. It's got to be good, even if my favorite David doesn't appear.

Friday, March 25, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 4 Perform

This season is going by quickly. Just two more weeks left and Idol will be over, forever.

On this episode we found out the Top 4 as chosen by the voters, no more judges' save.

There were two songs from each contestant, one a rock song mentored by Scott Borchetta and Steven Van Zandt, and the other a pop-ish song from the Sia songbook, mentored by Sia.

We also had performances from David Cook, Katharine McPhee, and Sia.

First up - the rock songs.

We were told the Top 4 will have hometown visits this week; #5 just goes home.

And the Top 4 are:

Mentoring - Scott didn't like the song choice for La'Porsha but Steven did. He thought it would be very unexpected and she could pull it off.
"Wanted Dead Or Alive" Bon Jovi
Her vocals are great, bit I agree with Scott, the song doesn't really fit her..
Keith - You brought out blues undertones in the song, as well as soul and swagger. It was really good.
Jennifer - Your voice is so undeniable. You could sing the phone book and it wouldn't matter.
Harry - Your ability as a singer transcends all genres. You changed your vibrato and made it in time to the music.

Mentoring - Steven thought the arrangement wasn't different enough for MacKenzie. Change more.
"I Want You To Want Me" Cheap Trick
I liked his voice in the beginning when the beat was slower, but when the band joined in and the tempo went up some, the song became bland.
Jennifer - I don't know if I love how you MacKenzied it.
Harry - I thought it was alright, but you needed the double-time version of the song. This half-time lacked energy.
Keith - I hated the arrangement. It was stuck in the middle with no energy.

*We see a new Ford video. This time the kids travel to see fashion icon (?) Chiara Ferragni. (I've never heard of her either.) She helps the Idols create their alter egos. DUMB!!!

**David Cook is back again and this time he performs "Heartbeat".  It is a nice rock ballad. I loved experiencing this song live when I saw Cook perform here in Austin last Nov. (You can find a link to my review of his show in the January 2016 section of this blog.)

Mentoring - Steven tells Trent to make the whole thing "swampy." I guess that means mix it up, make it unrecognizable.
"Sharp Dressed Man" ZZ Top - Disclaimer: I love ZZ and especially this song.
There is a nice laid-back vibe to the start with just the back-up singers and Trent shining through. The band picked up the speed, but it was still a great performance. It definitely wasn't ZZ's version, but it was really good.
Harry - That was so smart.
Keith - That was so freaking good. That was a 10 out of 10.
Jennifer - I've been waiting for you to have this performance.

And the Bottom 2 are Sonika and Dalton.
Dalton is safe and Sonika is going home, finally.

Mentoring - Dalton had a song set in his mind, but Scott and Steven didn't think it worked. Dalton was sticking to his guns that it would work with the band, so Steven told him to try "Seven Nation Army" but have a back up. Dalton ended up changing to the back up.
"God Only Knows" The Beach Boys
Dalton is serious. No eyeliner for this performance. This was a great stripped-down version with just a piano and Dalton. It really showed off the lyrics and Dalton's passion for them.
Keith - So good to chose that song. One thing that impressed me, you said you only get a minute-30 to impress America, you want to make sure you have the right words.
Jennifer - It sounded beautiful. It was a really good moment for you.
Harry - That arrangement really showed your vulnerabilities, which is dangerous. Fortunately that's what you wanted to do with those lyrics.

*The Top 5 sang "God Bless America" at Nascar last weekend.

**Katharine McPhee performed her signature song from Season 5, "Over The Rainbow."

Second group of songs - Sia's songbook with Sia mentoring.

"Elastic Heart"
Mentoring - La'Porsha made Sia cry.
Did I forget to mention La'Porsha's hair is now styled into dreads? They are major dreads too.
La'Porsha looked decent for the first song. This one looks like they have her outfitted in very large trash bags which are formed into a jumpsuit. Help her!!
The intro of the song is powerful with the Tom-toms beating, then the whole band joins in an it kind of covers her vocals too much. It was ok, but not great.
Jennifer - I had a flashback to the beginning when you were under the radar. Now I'm just watching.
Harry - I feel like I'm in the passenger seat of a Nascar driver when you sing.
Keith - It's beautiful to see someone with such raw talent come into their own.

Mentoring - Sia pushed him to try the falsetto he was afraid of.
I like the song stripped down. MacKenzie on his guitar with a string section is so much better than the first song. Not sure if it will be enough to save him after the rock disaster. I guess we will see how many fans he has out there.
Harry - I thought it was nice, but don't make it about hitting a single note, though.
Keith - I liked how you rode through that moment. I liked how you made it a singer-songwriter moment, all stripped -down.
Jennifer - I liked how Sia made you go for it. Everyone cheered because we are rooting for you.

*Sia performed "Cheap Thrills" in all her weirdness, wig and all. The dancers had their yin and yang hairdos and nude body suits. All of the non-music stuff made it had to think about the lyrics.

Mentoring - Sia advised him to keep in the falsetto notes.
Trent is clothed in some weird jacket thingy that looks more hip hop-ish to me. It was an interesting performance. He used to falsetto a lot. Not nearly as good as the previous rock performance.
Keith - That was beautiful, exquisite.
Jennifer - You are two different people from the guy who sang the first song. Now you're an alternative guy. You can sing anything.
Harry - Phenomenal! That was a very difficult vocal technique. I give it a 100 out of 100.

"Bird Set Free"
Mentoring - Dalton tells Sia he has always connected to her songs. She admits she is Bipolar also.
I had never heard this song before Dalton sang it, but it is absolutely perfect for him. So much passion from Dalton. He is sobbing at the end
Jennifer - Everybody is cheering about your bravery. That was really beautiful.
Harry - This song was the best match-up of a Sia song and the singer. this song was something you needed to do.
Keith - Some artists don't go near the edges of their abilities. You go right up to them and push through your limitations. I will always take an inspired attempt over soulless perfection any day of the week.

And there you have it. I agree with Keith 100%. Not all vocals need to be perfect, but they do need to be inspired and make us feel something. Sadly, MacKenzie's performance did not make me feel anything this time. La'Porsha has the best vocal chops, but I didn't feel her songs this time either. Trent is an amazing singer, but he didn't touch my heart this time around.  Dalton hit home with both songs. You could tell he believed what he was saying. Lyrics matter to him.  Hum, that reminds me of a certain past Idol contestant named David Archuleta. He has always made sure the lyrics were something he felt good about. He wanted to make people understand what the song meant. He has an amazing voice, but has always said perfection is not his goal; feeling is his goal. Dalton wants people to understand too.

I think MacKenzie will be out of the running this next week.

I hear that the kids will be singing 3 songs next week: Judge's pick, Scott Borchetta's pick, and the contestants pick as a tribute to their hometown. And Keith Urban will perform.  Hope we get to see some past Idols perform again this next week.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 5 Revealed

So the last season of Idol is zooming along. Another contestant was sent packing on this episode.

The show started with a flashback to April 7, 2009 and Adam Lambert's rendition of "Mad World." Then we are brought back to the present as Adam appeared on stage to finish the performance out. I've never been a huge fan of Lambert. He sounded about the same today as yesterday.

On this episode the judges used their final save of the season.  To top off the pain of elimination, the contestants were saddled with songs America suggested for them to sing, but TPTB/ Scott Borchetta made the final decision on what each contestant would sing. As you will see, not all of these song choices were particularly in the singers wheelhouses.

Contestants safe by America's vote:

"Counting Stars" OneRepublic
This was so not the right song for Trent. He seemed like he was frantically rushing to catch up the entire song. It made me tired watching it.
Keith - That song and you did not come together for me.
Jennifer - That was not a Trent song, but you did all you could with it.
Harry - When you started clapping, it felt like a hoedown. Not a great song choice.

"Numb" Linkin Park
I liked the cool neon graphics on the background screen and the fact that Dalton was playing guitar for this number, but the arrangement of the song was bland. Dalton obviously didn't have a lot of say on this song because there was no place in it for him to show off what he normally does.
Jennifer - You are a crowd favorite. Unfortunately the arrangement felt like you skated through.
Harry - I thought you poured your guts into the lyrics, but the undercurrent of the band was off.
Keith - I agree with Harry. It wasn't fully Daltonized.

"Ready For Love" India.Arie
We got a fun fog machine and a string section on stage for La'Porsha. I lke her yellow and pink caftan so much better than some of the other outfits they have had her dressed in lately. As always, La'Porsha sounds awesome. There might have been a few too many runs thrown into the song for my taste this time, but she is still great.
Harry - That was everything the lyrics asked for.
Keith - I was just watching and enjoying, not judging.
Jennifer - You have the same spirit as India; Earth Mother. A complete performance.

** Something I have been missing the last few seasons are the fun Ford music videos like season 7 had. Tonight we have a different kind of Ford video: The Idols drive Fords to a yoga class.  Boring.**

** And also in the category of boring, we must watch a performance by members of the cast of Empire (because there aren't any talented ex-Idols who could come perform new music).
"Never Let It Die" by Yazz and Jussie Smollett.

"Wild World" Cat Stevens
A blast from the past, so sure. No guitar for MacKenzie this time. The arrangement has a nice beat to it at least. MacKenzie sounds pretty good. He might want to record this song sometime.
Keith - You are like cake batter - even when its not cooked it's really good.
Jennifer - You have so much likability.
Harry - Good song for you. You could record that song.

The Bottom 2: Sonika and Tristan

Independence Day - Martina McBride
Tristan is plays the piano this time. I love her, but the band isn't helping on this performance. It was ok, but not great.
Jennifer - You need to try other things, not flat line.
Harry - You're good at songs written from a place of pain, but you need to grow older, and live more.
Keith - You are so talented. That song needed more. It was in the middle, not stripped down and not full on.

"Let It Go" - Demi Lovato
This was a good song choice. And Sonika gets the wind machine on high. Idol is pulling out all the props for this show. The performance was good, but I've heard better.

The judges' save goes to: Sonika.

** The kids will be singing "God Bless America" this coming Sunday on Fox's coverage of NASCAR.**

Time for round two of the American public's chosen songs, but first we have a video package to tell us a little more about each contestant.

package: Dalton was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 9. When his grandmother got him guitar lessons, he found an outlet to help him cope with it better.
"The Sound Of Silence" Simon and Garfunkel
This is one of my favorite songs of all time. This was a perfect song for Dalton, especially after what we just learned about him. You could feel his pain as he sang the song. Awesome performance.
Keith - I like how you put so much emphasis on the lyrics.
Jennifer - That felt really powerful.
Harry - Every song you do is like a blank wall and you are a graffiti artist. You come and spray paint it what you want to make. This song is a beautiful piece of poetic lyrics and you thrive on that.

**I wondered why we had such a short performance form Adam Lambert. He came back to perform his new single: "Welcome To The Show" - featuring Laleh.
It was ok, I guess. Like I said before, Lambert isn't my cup of tea.**

package: As a Jr in high school, MacKenzie got really sick with a virus and developed Congestive Heart Failure. He almost died. Doctors thought he would need a heart transplant, but, as his mother said, a miracle occurred and he made a full recovery. Music was his therapy.
"Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson
The guitar is back.  This arrangement was totally redone. It was the best version of the song I have even heard, and I totally love the version The Civil Wars did.
Jennifer - You just showed everyone why you're still here.
Harry - Really Great. Terrific job.
Keith - I'm a big fan of yours.

package: Trent tells us about his favorite guitar. He and his friend Daniel chose all of the parts for the guitar and had it built, but Daniel died the day before the guitar was delivered to them. Trent couldn't bare to play the guitar. After a while Trent decided Daniel would want to play it so now when he goes on stage to perform he always thinks of Daniel.
"Simple Man" - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Trent has his hat back on and has brought back some of his old mannerisms. Nice. Southern rock ballads are really good for Trent. I like this performance a lot.
Harry - There is a southern essence about you that is very appealing. I enjoyed that performance very much.
Keith - That's my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song. I love how you took the soul, southern gospel aspect and twisted it all in there. Really good.
Jennifer is crying. This is why I will miss Idol so much. It's seeing the perfect song sung by the perfect singer at the time. You sang that so beautifully and I felt every single word of it.
Trent cries too.

package: She came in to the show without having ever performed in front of crowds. She is trying to overcome her shyness.
"Clarity" Zedd featuring Foxes
This was just an ok performance. Not even close to the previous number on the night. She seemed uncomfortable on the stage this time.
Keith - Good song for you, but you need to keep letting go. Be raw, be real.
Jennifer - I didn't love the song for you.
Harry - It was good, but my favorite part of today was when you were on stage with tristan, talking to Ryan. I learned more about you. I liked that better than the song.

package: Growing up she dreamt of singing on stage, and finding love. She met a guy at 18, but he turned out to be abusive. He hated her voice, hated her hair; everything that made her her. "I didn't feel human anymore." She got the courage to leave the situation when her baby was born. Now she is doing what she wants to do.
"No More Drama" Mary J Blige
Talk about a match made in heaven; that describes La'Porsha and this song. It's the story of her life. She is crying by the end and looks as though she might faint. Fortunately Ryan gets there in time.
Jennifer's crying, Keith looks like he is going to cry. Harry looks stunned.
Jennifer - It takes a lot to overcome. You're an inspiration. That was powerful.
Ryan says No more words are needed.
Keith - So inspiring.

And there you have it. The new champion had been crowned.
Oh, Wait! We still have 3 more weeks to go.
Well, I still say the champ has been chosen. Unless America's votes are really counted, and actually count, and if more little girls are voting than middle aged folks like me, La'Porsha should win this thing. (I wouldn't be heartbroken if any of the guys won, but La'Porsha is really good.)

I guess only time will tell.

One contestant will go home next week -(Sonika).

Next week Sia will be available with her song book and Steven Van Zandt will mentor classic rock hits. (I don't have a clue what Sia's songbook has in it, but Steven Van Zandt and classic rock hits are cool.)

 See you next week.

Friday, March 11, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 8 Become Top 6

This is the final season of American Idol and, sadly, TPTB seem to be in a huge hurry to get this show off the air. Tonight the contestants were cut down by two once again, leaving only 6 in singers in the competition. Once again the judges save one of the bottom three.

For this episode each contestant will first sing in an arranged duet with another contestant and then each will sing a solo as Ryan Seacrest reveals the top 5. The each of the bottom 3 will sing for the judges save.


La'Porsha and Trent
"See You Again" Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
Such a strange song choice for these two amazing singers. They sound fine, but I would have never saddled them with a song that basically raps. Trent hits the hit notes with ease. La'Porsha is awesome as usual.
The judges loved the performance.

Avalon and Sonika
"Rise Up" Andra Day
Interesting match up for this duet. The song is more in Avalon's wheelhouse, but Sonika hangs in there. This is a very bland performance.
Jennifer says it needed more passion.  Harry says it was more suited for Avalon.

MacKenzie and Dalton
"I Want It That Way" Backstreet Boys
MacKenzie plays guitar which immediately gives this a more singer/songwriter vibe. I like both of these guys, but this was a weird and bland performance they were forced into. They can't even explain what the song is about.
None of the judges liked the song choice for these guys. TPTB totally blew this match-up.

Tristan and Lee
"Don't Want To Miss A Thing" Aerosmith
Scott Borchetta tells up that Lee has been sick this week and we quickly hear the difference in his normally awesome voice. This song is best suited to Tristan.
Keith says it would be very difficult to find a song suited to both of their voices and styles. This song was more Tristan. Harry said the arrangement was boring and bland.

The solos announcing America's Top 5
The kids are singing songs from the American Idol songbook. That means old songs we have heard a million times on Idol.

"Come Together" The Beatles
The package tells us that LaPorsha grew up in a military family and was expected to oin the military also. We also learn about La'Porsha's favorite teacher who made a difference in her life. Tonight La'Porsha's dad and teacher are in the audience.
Once again La'Porsha sounds wonderful, but they have her wearing a hideous black jumpsuit with lots of gold chains. At least the girl can move around in the outfit. This performance was awesome in many ways, including when she was flirting with Harry.
Harry said she is incredible. Keith said any song is perfect for her.

We learn that MacKenzie was an athlete as a kid. The first time someone outside his family heard him sing was after a basketball game and his coaches were amazed. He was asked to join the schools theater for a musical.
"You Are So Beautiful" Joe Cocker
No guitar for him this time just a beautiful sincere rendition of this classic song. Best thing I heard up to this point on the show.
Harry loved the song choice.  Keith asked if MacKenzie pick the song himself - YES, he did. Amazing. Keith said he made it sound brand new.

**Time for a plug for last seasons champion, Nick Fradiani and his new single, "Get You Home." Interesting song. Not what I expected from Nick. Not bad, just different.**

We are reminded that Trent lives on a 500 acre farm. He tells about being superstitious and not telling his family about being on Idol until he was leaving for Hollywood.
"Stand By Me" Ben E King
Very different a Capella beginning to the song. Not may favorite. You can really tell Trent has been working on correcting the facial expressions thing, maybe too much. he is looking all sleek and citified now. He's lost his country look.  I kike his voice, but this wasn't my favorite performance.
Keith said he shouldn't lean on stylistic moments so much. Jennifer said she is sad he has lost so much of his more unique look that he started the competition with.

Her package tells us about Tristan's mom's dad who is Tristan's biggest fan. he taught Tristan about country music and how to write music. He is sick now but still tries to be there for Tristan's performances.
"A Broken Wing" Martina McBride
Beautiful song choice. This was a very emotional performance.
Jennifer said she has the perfect country voice. Keith said this was the right song choice. Harry asks her about the meaning of part of the song because she is so smart, she would have learned what it is about. Tristan explains this song was the first song that made her cry when she heard it.

Dalton grew up in Dallas suburb with a mom who was a serious music fan in the '80's. She said they introduced him to every kind of music possible as a kid.
"Eleanor Rigby" the Beatles
There are strings with the Idol band for this arrangement. It reminds me of a Rock Opera version of the song. It's just right for showing off what Dalton can do with a song.
Harry said Dalton did a great job introducing this song to a younger audience that probably hasn't heard it before. Keith liked that he brought out the darker undercurrent of the song with the theatrical aspect of the performance.

The bottom 3 are Avalon, Lee, and Sonika.

We learn from her mom that Avalon has a tick from OCD that does not appear when she sings.
"PYT- Pretty Young Thing" Michael Jackson
Yuck. This song sounds just like everything else she sings; a girl singing guys hip-hop flavored stuff.
The judges all admit she is talented but America is not connecting with her like studio audience is.  Well, it looks like it's bye bye to Avalon this week.

Lee's family moved a lot when he was young and he didn't have many friends. When his only friend at one school heard him sing, she spread the news and everyone loved his voice.
"Let It Be" The Beatles
This song is a major undertaking even when your not sick. Unfortunately it effected his pitch a lot.
All three judges acknowledged the pitch problems.
Looks like Lee will be going home unless Sonika completely falls apart.

We learn that Sonika is not the only singer in her family. Mom performed with Bollywood.
"I Have Nothing" Whitney Houston
She's not Whitney, but she did a really good job on an impossible song. Definitely the best of the bottom 3.
Harry loved it. Jennifer didn't seem to be blown away. I think she is safe this week.

And the judges save--------- Sonika.

Ryan tells us there are 4 more weeks of Idol. Adam Lambert will be appearing next week.

I won't even speculate on who gets the ax next week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 8 Revealed

On this week's episode of AI, the Top 10 turned into the Top 8 one performance at a time. We were given the Top 7 from last week's audience vote and then the judges decided which contestant to keep from the bottom three.

The theme for this week was Grammy -Winning Songs.  Demi Lovato dropped by to sing and Harry performed.Here's how it all went down.

Moving on to the Top 8:

"Radioactive" Imagine Dragons
This was a good performance, but I felt it needed a little more power in the middle. Keith didn't like the song choice because it didn't work for Dalton's normal ability to put in his own change-ups. Harry thought it was missing electricity.

"Use Somebody" Kings of Leon
Nice job.  I liked it when Lee swung the guitar over his shoulder, took the mic, and moved toward the audience. Jennifer liked the song choice but feels Lee can stretch himself even more. Harry said it was a strong performance, but Keith he needed to do something different with the song.

***Demi Lovato took to the stage with the Top 10 to perform "Confident". The girls sang parts with Demi; the guys played guitar. Then Demi sang "Stone Cold" - a powerful breakup song.

"Since You've Been Gone" Kelly Clarkson
She was not as good as last week on the Evanescence song. There just wasn't enough attitude.  Keith wanted more attitude and fire. Jennifer said she was more controlled than last week.

"I Want To Dance With Somebody" Whitney Houston
MacKenzie played the electric guitar on this song with the full band backing him. It was ok, but I think it would have been more original if he did an acoustic version of the song. Keith liked it. Jennifer thought the switch -up of guy singing a girl song really worked. Harry liked it, but thought an acoustic version would have been more MacKenzie.  The song was dedicated to his grandmother who is in the hospital.

"Halo" Beyonce
Another awesome performance by La'Porsha. It wasn't as good as last week's , but it was still majorly good. Jennifer said she is a hard act to follow. Harry said she knows how to make a song have a beginning, middle, and end. Keith told her to relax and not let the wardrobe differences effect her.

***Harry performed "I Do Like We Do" featuring Butch Walker on guitar. He dedicated the song to his wife.

"When A Man Loves A Woman" Michael Bolton
In the package, we see that Scott Borchetta has Trent working on losing the weird facial expressions.
Sadly, Trent seems to be thinking too much about his expressions while he is singing. He still sounds good, but seems awkward. Harry tells Trent that he loves his voice especially on the high sustained notes. Keith says at times he is thinking and not emoting; don't worry so much about the expressions.

"Go Rest High On That Mountain" Vince Gill
In the package we learn that Tristan has been worried about song choice and finally felt positive about this week's song, but Scott Borchetta vetoed the original song, crushing Tristan's confidence. Fortunately, the change was the best thing that she could have done. This performance was beautiful. She received a standing "O" from Keith and Jennifer. Harry told her he loves it when she sings country songs. Tristan dedicated the performance to her grandpa, who just found out he broke his back.

The bottom three: Avalon, Olivia, Gianna.

"Earned It" The Weeknd
I say NO. I really wish she wasn't trying so hard to be like a guy, and singing all these male hip-hop type songs.  She has a pretty voice, but all the gestures and mannerisms of male rap/hip-hop artists is not attractive. Of course, the judges are all praises. I think I see the handwriting on the wall already. TPTB need Avalon to hang around for a while longer.

"Trouble" Pink
In the package we find out that Olivia was in the hospital for part of last week with the flu. No wonder she didn't perform up to her normal standards. She couldn't move properly. This performance was better than last week, but it was not a great song choice. The judges were not feeling her performance either.

"If I Got You" Alicia Keys
This was way too big of a song for her. The performance was ok, but not special. The judges praised her voice, but not the performance.

And the judges saved: Avalon

So now the Top 8 is an even number of boys/girls.
Dalton, Lee, MacKenzie, Trent
Sonika, La'Porsha, Tristan, Avalon

I think the two in trouble for this next week are Sonika and Lee.
La'Porsha is the one to beat. TPTB seem to have crowned her already.

We will see what happens next week.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 10 Revealed

Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol, is a guest judge this show. She will also sing at the end of the show. Kelly is VERY pregnant, and this was the last time she will be available before the end of the show. We saw clips of her performances during season one sprinkled throughout the 2 hour show.

Right to the results.
Joining Dalton, Olivia, Trent and La'Porsha in the Top 10 are: Tristan, Sonika, Gianna, MacKenzie, Avalon, and Lee.   Well, I got the Top 10 correct. (Pats self on back.) Now the guessing gets a lot harder.

Wave good bye to Manny, Thomas, Jenn, and Jeneve.

Time for some more performances by the Top 10. Each contestant also tells us about their favorite former Idol and their performance that touched them the most.  In an effort to keep from writing a novel about these 10 performances, I will only add one judges comment or the overall consensus from the judges.

Ryan tells us 2 will be eliminated next week.

Olivia Rox
Olivia remembers Katharine McPhee and her performance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
"Unconditional" Katy Perry
Nice soft beginning leads to more power in the middle section. Nice runs and dynamics.  Keith says it was the perfect song choice. Praises from all of the judges.

Gianna Isabella
Gianna had (and probably still does have) a crush on Scotty McCreery. It sounds like she loved everything he sang on the show.
"Listen" Beyonce
She looked and sounded very nervous. Definitely bit off more than she could chew on this song. All the judges said she was nervous and had pitch problems.

Lee Jean
Lee was most touched by season 11 contestant Chris Medina and his audition performance of Break Even for his girl friend who had been injured.
"Skinny Love" Bon Iver
Lee "sticks with what brought him," his guitar. this song is probably I little too out there for most of the Idol audience. he is nervous at first, but gains confidence when the band joins in.  The judges tell lee to stick with what he knows. Ryan surprises Lee with Chris Medina sitting in the audience.

Avalon Young
Avalon liked Justin Guarini from season 1.
"Stitches" Shawn Mendes
The beginning sounded like she was off beat, and too low. It got better at the tempo change. Not great, but much better than the Chris Brown song.  Harry didn't like the halftime beat at the beginning (is that what was happening there) and Keith said she seemed nervous.

Dalton Rappattoni
Dalton tells us that Chris Daughtry was his family's favorite back in season 5 and that he is a huge David Cook fan and would be happy to be even a fraction as good as Cook.
"Hey There Delilah" Plain White T's
This was a great song choice for Dalton. And of course he made changes to make it his own.  Keith said "It was like Electric Barnyard" and Kelly noted how comfortable Dalton is on stage.

Tristan McIntosh
Tristan loved Jessica Sanchez and especially her performance of I Will Always Love You
"Nothin' Like You Dan + Shay
I'm not sure if she totally missed some of the lower notes or if they just blended in with the band. Definitely not her best performance. Jennifer tells her "that song wasn't everything you could do" and Kelly tells her to "sing a song that you have felt."

MacKenzie Bourg
MacKenzie gives credit to William Hung for his performance of "She Bangs", not because of how good it was , but because everyone remembers it.
"I See Fire" Ed Sheeran
MacKenzie plays guitar again.  Nice job. Kelly says her baby was flipping during the performance. Keith says he was chilled and in his zone.

La'Porsha Renae
La'Porsha was most touched by Kelly Clarkson because she also came from humble beginnings.
"Diamonds" Rihanna
Awesome performance. Not much else to say. Awesome.
Standing ovation from judges, except Harry who never stands, fellow contestants and all of the audience. No critiques, only praises from the judges.

Sonika Vaid
Sonika remembers Kelly's performance of I Surrender.
"Bring Me To Life" Evanescence
Working with Caleb really paid off for her. She is so much more animated on stage. Nice job. nice song choice.  Keith said "absolutely killer song choice" and Jennifer said "You are dangerous."

Trent Harmon
Trent acknowledged David Archuleta singing "Imagine" as his favorite powerful moment on Idol.
"Like I Can" Sam Smith
This was an interesting song choice. After he named my all-time favorite Idol as his favorite, I had much higher hopes for Trent. This might be my least favorite performance of his so far.  Jennifer said his voice is "so unique and different" and all of the judges loved the performance.

After all of the Top 10 sang, Kelly took to the stage to sing her single "Piece By Piece." It was an amazingly beautiful song and very emotional. Kelly cried, Keith cried, the Top 10 cried. I'm pretty sure all of America cried. If you missed the performance, go to the internet and check it out. You will be so glad that you did.

So with America voting to save only 8, I think the 2 contestants who are in trouble are Gianna and Avalon.

American Idol 15: From Top 14 to Top 10

I seem to be running behind in posting these Idol recaps all the time these days. Here is Wednesday's American Idol recap.

The contestants performed to see who America wants to be in the Top 10 for this final season, but first, the judges chose the four contestants receiving a fast pass to the Top 10. The lucky 4 were: Dalton Rappattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon, and La'Porsha Renae.

Here's what happened with the rest of the Idols performances as they performed previous favorites.

Manny Torrez
"Master Blaster" Stevie Wonder
Manny can work the stage. I do wish his singing had lived up to his potential as well. Only a mediocre performance. Keith said this my not have been the best song for Manny. Sadly, I agree. Manny is probably going home.

Gianna Isabella
"I Put A Spell On You" Annie Lennox
Powerful performance. She looked so grown up this time. Jennifer said the performance was "sassy" and she has the most potential for growth.
She has a chance of sticking around longer.

Thomas Stringfellow
"Story Of My Life" One Direction
No guitar for Thomas this time. He seemed kind of naked without it. He was ok, but I found him a bit hard to understand at times. And he looked so young in the sweater and ball cap he was wearing. Harry said " you need to stop cracking the notes at the end; it gets annoying."
I'm afraid Thomas has sung his last note on Idol.

Tristan McIntosh
"What Hurst The Most" Rascal Flatts
Great job. She wants to be a country star and she will probably get her chance, in time. She won't win Idol though. Keith said it was a beautiful song choice.
Tristan will advance

Avalon Young
"Yo (Excuse me, Miss)" Chris Brown
New hair style and make up for Avalon. I can't stand the song, so I won't even go there with the review. Jennifer thought "it was smooth like butter."
She will probably stick around longer, although I didn't vote for her.

Jenn Blosil
"True Colors"
Jenn was wearing very odd rhinestone eyebrows for the performance. She did a nice job on the song.
Harry said she had a "flawless lyric delivery."
I doubt America will like Jenn very much; she is too different.

Lee Jean
"Make It Rain" Ed Sheeran
Lee stuck with playing his guitar which was a good choice. It makes him more comfortable on stage. This was a beautiful, soulful performance after he got past the nervous beginning.  Keith said "I like you have your own style. The nerves got you tonight."
Hopefully America will vote him through.

Sonika Vaid
"I Surrender" Celine Deon
No mice stand this time. She seemed much more comfortable on stage. Caleb Johnson's mentoring helped her performance value. Jennifer gave her a standing ovation. "I got goosies on my face for the first time."
She should stick around for the Top 10.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell
"Ring Of Fire" Johnny Cash
Sadly, I'm getting tired of Jeneve and her 20-gallon cowboy hat. The performance was ok, but not nearly as good as the first time she sang it. Harry summoned it up best: "Your talent is polarizing - not all will get it."
I don't think enough of America will "get it" to save Jeneve.

MacKenzie Bourg
"Roses" MacKenzie Bourg
He plays the guitar while performing his original song. I think he did a great job. Keith said "You sang great, you played great. It's a 'W'."

So we know that Dalton, Olivia, Trent and La'Porsha are in the Top 10. I think MacKenzie, Sonika, Lee, Tristan, Gianna, and Avalon will be the other 6.

Monday, February 22, 2016

American Idol 15: Top 24 #4 - Duets

The final 12 in the Top 24 group performed duets with former Idols Chris Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, Constantine Maroulis, David Cook, Kellie Pickler, and Haley Reinhart. I'm not sure why they picked Haley, except she has new music out.

The judges weren't impressed with many of the solos, so these duets are very important. Five contestants go home after these performances.

Kellie Pickler partnered with Amelia Eisenhaur
"Suds In The Bucket" Sara Evans
Amelia plays her fiddle during parts of the song.
(As a side note: I love how Keith knows the lyrics to every country song and many of the others sung also, and sings along.) Amelia and Kellie's voices blend nicely. Battle of the twangs. Good song choice for Amelia. The judges loved the performance.

Haley Reinhart partnered with Kory Wheeler
"Benny and The Jets" Elton John
Kory plays the guitar.
In theory, this should be a good choice because Haley had a great performance with this song in her season and Kory auditioned this year with this song. Unfortunately, it did not work for me. Haley was the lead and Kory strummed along and filled in here and there. Haley is more ad lib and Kory is more stick to the plan. I think Kory is in trouble. Oddly, the judges loved it.

Chris Daughtry partnered with Lee Jean
"Home" Chris Daughtry
Both Chris and Lee play guitar on the song.
Chris is an awesome mentor and duet partner for Lee. Lee is a huge fan of Daughtry so that helps in his performance. These guys sound great together. Lots of praises from the judges on this match up and song.

David Cook partnered with CJ Johnson
"The World I Know" Collective Soul
Both David and CJ play guitar on the song.
Awesome song for Cookie, not so much for CJ. David's tone is just so much more pleasing and draws you in. I was rooting for CJ, but I don't think this was enough to keep him in. The judges liked the blend of their voices, but Keith wasn't bowled over by the mellow song choice. I wasn't either.

Jordin Sparks partnered with Manny Torrez
"No Air" Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown
Jordin worked with Manny on how to better convey emotions of the song.  This is the first actual duet number performed. Jordin and Manny sounded great together. It was funny to watch them perform since Jordin had on 4 inch heels making her taller than Manny. Keith commented "watching you perform with Jordin in those heels, I felt like me at the red carpet with my wife." All of the judges thought the performance was perfect.  So did I. I think Jordin saved Manny.

Constantine Maroulis partnered with Jenn Blosil
"My Funny Valentine" Frank Sinatra
Constantine is know for his version of this song on his season. They changed up the melody of Jenn lines of the song so that it was almost unrecognizable. This was a very different version of a classic song. Keith stood up for them Jennifer loved it. Harry didn't like the changes and thought it was more of a shouting match.

Kellie Pickler partnered with Tristan McIntosh
"Best Days Of Your Life" Kellie Pickler
Tristan's voice isn't twangy like Kellie's, but she can still sing country songs. The performance was good, but not great. It should be enough to keep her in the competition. The judges said they liked the performance , but each saw her youth and inexperience showing through.

David Cook partnered with Olivia Rox
"Light On" David Cook
I am a Cook fan and know the song well. This was a great match up and performance. The power in Olivia's voice matched David's well. She looked like she should be on that stage with him.  Keith said: "Your tour t-shirts are gonna say - Olivia Rox: Yes, she does." Harry said "You sing like someone who knows music. Idol's lucky to have you."

Haley Reinhart partnered with Adam Lasher
"Can't Help Falling In Love" Elvis
This partnership was a really bad idea. Adam is totally crushing on Haley and it effects his performance. To top it off, their voices don't work together at all. Adam looks so uncomfortable on stage with Haley. Separately they can sing this song, just fine, but not together. Adam needed his guitar. Jennifer said it came off well. Harry said it was captivating. Keith said he kept waiting for Adam to loosen up. he was too stiff. I agree with Keith.

Chris Daughtry partnered with Dalton Rappattoni
"Higher Ground" Stevie Wonder
Dalton's first CD as a kid was Chris', so he is thrilled to be performing with him. Chris and Dalton totally rocked the song. There isn't much more to say than that. He is definitely moving along in the competition. Harry said it was a solid performance, but they were lucky to have such a great band backing them. Keith said it was incredible. Jennifer said they were both dynamic.

Jordin Sparks partnered with Trent Harmon
"To Love Somebody" Bee Gees
This was another great match up. Jordin knows how to do a duet and make the other singer shine. Trent should be flying through to the next round. Keith said it was a great match up and Jordin pulled stuff out of Trent we hadn't heard before. Jennifer said it was a great showcase for Trent.

Constantine partnered with Shelbie Z 
"Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen
I guess Constantine did this song on his season of Idol and got high praises. This was a train wreck for Shelbie. She looked like she should be wearing a Viking helmet with those horns coming out of the sides and holding a spear instead of the mic stand. Her black outfit with the tail looked like the
viking coat just not in fur.This seemed like a SNL skit, not an Idol performance. Awful, just awful. Her facial expressions fit the same theme too. Constantine did her in for sure. Jennifer said she felt like she lost Shelbie in all of that. Harry said she didn't seem to have a point of view. Keith said he got a little scared.

So while the judges talked it over, I chose Dalton, Olivia, Trent, Lee, and Manny to advance.

The judges chose Lee, Olivia, Jenn, Dalton, Manny, Tristan and Trent to advance.

We say good bye to Shelbie Z, Amelia Eisenhaur, Kory Wheeler, CJ Johnson, and Adam Lasher.

Next episodes, contestants go from 14 to 10 and America gets to vote. Yeah!!!!