This week on American Idol we get to hear all the contestants perform twice- one solo and one duet! Idol is getting so close to its FINAL finale, and yet for some reason, producers have decided it’s a good idea to recycle songs that have been done over and over again in prior seasons. I guess if it worked once, it’ll work again? For some contestants taking on songs from the “American Idol Song Book” it did…
BUT before we get to any solo critiques and reveal who the two unlucky souls from the Top 8 that must pack their bags are, here’s a quick recap of the duets:
La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon collaborated on Charlie Puth’s “See You Again.” This is going to be our final two contestants, and this duet solidified that prediction. Their voices blended together beautifully, but were different just enough to allow each other to shine.
Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid took on “Rise Up,” by Andra Day. To be honest, I thought Sonika would destroy Avalon in this duet with her strong vocals. But to my surprise, I don’t think neither singer “won” the duet, but neither “lost.” Both had strong moments, and both also fell flat in their performance.
The teeny in me freaked out when I realized MacKenzie Bourg and Dalton Rapattoni would be singing Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” I was quickly disappointed by the delivery though. While the two didn’t sound bad by any means, neither seemed excited to be singing this gem of a song. Judge Harry Connick Jr thought it was a poor song choice, and asked them what the song was about. Nobody knows Harry, that’s why it’s beloved! But I do agree. The heart throbs of the competition did manage to support each other vocally though, which was nice I guess.
Poor Tristan McIntosh and Lee Jean had the unfortunate task of singing “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.” Tristan sounded amazing at the beginning, but the song went downhill from there for both of them. It was two kids taking on this huge song, on an emotion level and vocally. If last week’s performances didn’t make me think they were already going home, this performance would have.
As almost predicted, the bottom three consisted of Avalon, Lee, and Sonika. I’m not even going to begin to question Sonika’s place in the bottom three over some others. Avalon gave a very ambivalent performance with “P.Y.T.” Perhaps she had given up already. Her nasally voice was in full bloom tonight, and I wasn’t a fan. Poor Lee Jean went for “Let It Be,” and was only able to showcase his nerves. Lee has so much potential. He just needs to come out of his shell and get some more experience. Sonika gave a nearly perfect rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Harry, Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez decided to (very rightfully so) save Sonika.
So after saying goodbye to Avalon and Lee, here’s our top 6 ranked from worst to best:
Tristan had a great performance last week, which is why she somehow is still in the competition. This week though, she took on the heavy “A Broken Wing,” by Martina McBride. Tristan sounded amazing throughout most of the song. But when she didn’t, it was terrible (that last note anyone?). The real problem with Tristan is she keeps taking on these heavy songs, but her performances show a little girl pretending to be an adult. This is so incredibly event when Harry asks what happens at the end of the song, lyrics wise. Tristan admitted that she wasn’t sure; she thought the girl just leaves. No, girl, she kills herself. HEAVY STUFF.
The old Dalton came back this week a little with “Eleanor Rigby.” He mostly stuck to the original, adding a touch more “punk” (read: pop punk), to it. The song grows and grows until it finally reaches the climax, which is sort of how Dalton’s entire performance was. The beginning half (or slight more) fell flat, with some weird cut off words thrown around here and there. But as soon as Dalton got up from his chair, he started picking up a bit. The drama was back, and he did a nice big, strong, kinda rough (in a good way?) ending note to try to secure a spot in the Top 5 next week.
Sonika proved once again that she has incredible pipes with “I Have Nothing.” Her performance was vocally flawless, but still Sonika needs to continue to let loose and grow. Yes she can sing, but where was “Bring Me To Life” Sonika? Did she connect with the lyrics at all?
Oh MacKenzie, how I love you so. He took on Joe Crocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” and man did I swoon. MacKenzie’s song choice was smart- he needed something to win over the girls that are slowly getting over Dalton. The straight forward, tender arrangement without his guitar felt vulnerable, kinda. Yes, he still could have dug a little deeper, but I was perfectly content just listening to his beautiful tone. And okay, I definitely was imagining it was me he was singing to.
I’m going to ignore all the goofy faces and grins that Trent made while singing “Stand By Me,” because he sounded completely amazing. MacKenzie should take some notes on how he’s changing the song, vocally. While some artists transform the song by messing with the melody and arrangement, Trent added his thang with runs, dips, falsettos and whatever other vocal things singers do (I’m not one, so I don’t know, a pocket maybe?). His only downfall is lack of connection to the lyrics. While he sounded incredible, I wasn’t emotional (or imagining I was being serenaded by him).
La’Porsha proved once again that she is going to win this thing with “Come Together.” She took a class rock song and made it her own, “full diva” as Jenny From The Block said. From the beginning to her growly “one thing I can tell you,” all the way to the ending high note, La’Porsha delivered fire. La’Porsha knew that we had seen ballad after ballad from her, so she showed us she can groove. A+, babe… Well, minus the outfit.
Next week only one contestant will go home to make our Top 5. Who will it be? Tristan.