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.

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