RECAP: American Idol Judges Eliminate Five

AMERICAN IDOL: Season 3 winner Fantasia with contestant La'Porsha Renae in the “Showcase #1: 1st 12 Performances” episode of AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, Feb. 10 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co.

Last night, the first group of twelve performed solo. Tonight, those contestants must team up with previous Idol contestants to perform duets to leave a final impression on the judges. I’m not sure exactly who picked the songs that the contestants had to sing, but for the most part, it seemed like the choices were poor. Anyway, at the end of show, five must go home.

Lauren Alaina is the first to return to the Idol stage with Emily Brooke. The two took on Carrie Underwood’s “Flat On The Floor,” and unfortunately for Emily, the results were just not what she needed. After her flat performance the night before, Emily needed a standout duet. Next to Lauren though, her lack of experience showed. Sorry Emily, I think this is the end for you.

Thomas Stringfellow reminds America that his girlfriend broke up with him right before the show started, and Nick Fradiani tells him the same thing happened to him. The two duet on “Man in the Mirror.” Thomas’ squeaks have seriously been decreasing, which is great for him. But next to Nick, and with the chosen arrangement, Thomas seemed a little out of his element.

Ruben Studdard came back to team up with Stephany Negrete for “Superstar.” Whoever picked out Stephany’s dress should be fired. Stephany does a fine job vocally, but her problem is that she’s singing with Ruben. She comes off as a glorified featured singer, but the judges don’t agree with me. The judges all enjoyed it. Harry says there were some note issues, but that the emotions always trump that. I didn’t see emotion, so I’m just confused.

Sonika Vaid and Caleb Johnson joining forces for “Skyfall” may seem like a strange competition, but the result was truly magnificent. I’m not sure what changed in Sonika, perhaps having someone stand net to her helped, but she looked comfortable. Plus, her lower harmonies were outstanding. Harry says that she still seems nervous, and I agree. But, the growth so far is noticeable. Hopefully she’ll continue to loosen up.

Scotty McCreery joins Jenna Renae for his song “See You Tonight.” It seems like a huge disadvantage to have a contestant sing a winner’s song, and Jenna didn’t step up to the plate. Scotty is so consistent, so every time Jenna’s vocals failed, it was obvious.

La’Porsha Renae is joined by Fantasia for “Summertime.” The combination is so predictable, but that doesn’t take away from the power in the performance. I’ve never been a huge fan of Fantasia’s voice, so for me, La’Porsha dominated that song. Harry said it was a battle of runs, which it was, but it was phenomenal.

Lauren Alaina comes back for another duet, but this time with Mackenzie Bourg. I’m a little not okay with her flirting, but I’ll let it go because the two sing a nice version of “I Hope You Dance.” The two seem to be singing two completely different versions of the song, but it somehow works together. And yeah, okay, maybe I was imagining that he was looking at me the way he was looking at Lauren, but whatever… Harry said that this performance was “sweet” but that he was thankful for last night.

Nick Fradiani and Gianna Isabella take on his song “Beautiful Life,” which, for lack of better words, sucks. This song is not a duet. The arrangement is messy. Gianna looks uncomfortable on stage. She’s much better than this, as she proved the night before. Again, who’s making these choices?

Ruben comes back, this time with Avalon Young. While Stephany didn’t exactly hold her own next to Ruben, Avalon was able to. The difference in Avalon’s tone really held up against Ruben. She was dressed up a little more than usual, which added to the show of it all.

James VIII and Caleb Johnson sing the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Just like his performance the night before of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” James showed he’s a great musician. He could do amazing things in a band, but as a solo artist, his voice just does not stack up. Caleb was amazing, and the attention was all on him when it should have been the other way around. I would one thousand percent pay for a ticket to a show if the two formed a band, though.

Any credit I gave Jeneve Rose Mitchell last night is out the window after her duet with Scotty McCreery for “Gone.” She was uncomfortable as she ran around the stage blushing. I’m not sure what else to say, but their performance was just bad. Keith said it was “Bizarre,” which is probably the nicest thing to say about that performance. I’m still not understanding why the judges love her so much, especially after that performance.

Fantasia and Jordan Sasser sing “I Believe,” and again, was just bad for Jordan. He was oversinging every bit while he tried to stand next to Fantasia. So while she was singing aggressively to emote, Jordan was singing that way to compare. The judges were far too kind, and noticed that they weren’t really dueting. Again, I think this is where we finally say bye to Jordan.

Now it’s up to the judges to decide who makes it through. La’Porsha, Sonika, Avalon, Gianna, Thomas, Mackenzie, and Jeneve all make it through to the next round.

This means that we say goodbye to Stephany, Jordan, James, Emily, and Jenna.

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