RECAP: American Idol Reveals Top 24

AMERICAN IDOL XV: A contestant in the  “Hollywood Round #4” episode of AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, Feb. 4 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcastign Co. Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

It’s time for the final judgement on American Idol. All 51 contestants performed solo once again, this time in front of a real crowd. It was their final chance to show the judges they have, what it takes, to be, the next, AMERICAN IDOL. (Do I sound like Ryan yet?) More than half of the contestants will head home, the rest will officially become the Top 24.

First up to walk the longest runway ever to hear her fate is Stephany Negrete. She’s pretty and is comfortable on stage while singing Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire,” which is no easy feat. She has a good voice. But, why is she so boring predictable? (Do I sound like a broken record yet?) Apparently the Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick see something in her, though, because she is part of the Top 24.

Shelbie Z was Shelbie Z again. Meaning, she sounded great with her big strong voice singing “Barracuda,” but there was no originality, as always. Switch things up Shelbie! Pick an unpredictable song! Regardless, she rocked the stage and the judges enjoyed it. She makes it through and promises to “put on a show” every time she’s on stage. Let’s hope so.

Michelle Marie, draped in sparkles from the top of her cowboy hat all the way down to her cowboy boots, told the judges that singing “Little Toy Gun,” was the best thing ever. Her performance was actually her strongest so far. I could have rooted for her (if I ignored her scream at the end). J.Lo tells her she was born to do this, but unfortunately, that’s not enough. It’s a no for tiny Michelle Marie. Props to her for taking it like a champ with a smile on her face.

We then say goodbye to a ton of contestants that we haven’t seen much of, like at all. Colette Lush impressed during her initial audition, but we haven’t seen much of her since. Her final judgement song was “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” and sadly we do lose her. Jessica Cabral, who rocked her solo round even with laryngitis, shockingly was sent home. Maybe she bombed her final performance? But we’ll never know. Jessica Clark, Ameet Kanon, and Terrian are also all packing their bags. If you don’t know who most of these people are… well yeah, neither do I.

Mackenzie Bourg showed off his songwriting skills during his solo round, but for his final performance he sang the classic, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love.” The young girls in the audience are loving it, and yeah okay, maybe 25 year old me also loves his little falsetto. While his originality by far exceeds his vocal ability, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. He’s interesting, which is why he made it to the Top 24.

Trent Harmon’s only disadvantage is that he will always be mono guy. His personality hasn’t really been show, and his performances have all had the “WOW and he has mono!” compliment attached. His final judgement performance was to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” It was fine, considering. (See what I mean about the veiled compliment?) But, there’s no doubt he has a great voice. He’s part of the Top 24.

Jenna Renae, James VIII, Kory Wheeler, and Adam Lasher all make it through to the Top 24 as well. Adam has gotten virtually no screen time, so he must have done something to captivate the judges. But, we don’t get to see any of their performances, so who knows what they did.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell did an interesting version of “Ring Of Fire.” I don’t like her voice. I will never understand how she made it through. But I will give her this: she is musical. She’s played who knows how many instruments at this point, and her choices are unique. But I just can’t get into her. The judges don’t care what I have to say though (except J.Lo, I think), and she’s in the Top 24.

CJ Johnson, who has been gigging for over 10 years, is another contestant whose voice far exceeds his creativity. What’s different from CJ and say, Lee Dewyze? Not much. But the judges apparently liked his rendition of “Parachute,” and he continues to the next round.

Amelia Eisenhauer, yet another singer who we haven’t really seen since her audition, brought out her violin for “New York State of Mind.” Her raspy tone is different and pretty, but her performance has a lot of flaws. Jennifer says that her being so young could be an issue, and I agree. Her lack of experience shows. But they give her a chance to move forward anyway.

Lee Jean went onstage with loads of confidence  and did Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain” some serious justice. His growth is showing already, and like I said before, he’s a mini Bieber. He even showed some of that Bieber ‘tude by telling the audience to be quiet, twice. Jennifer chastised him for that, calling him immature. He looked worried for a second before he was told he would be part of the Top 24.

 Avalon Young tackles Chris Brown’s “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” which personally is a bad song choice purely for personal reasons. She seems comfortable on stage, and her tone is so interesting, but I’m so sick of her sweaters. I get that she’s a chill, but you can still look like you’re trying to dress up, a little bit. I mean, you’re on national television. To nobodies surprise (given the amount of screen time she’s received), she makes it to the Top 24.

Chynna Sherrod, Mary Williams, and Zach Person (again, who?), all get cut before we hear about Dalton Rapattoni’s doubts. He tells the audience that his self esteem is low, which is an odd choice. He then goes on to sing “It’s Gonna Be Me.” He clips the words short a little too often, making Harry complain, “Sing the words, sing ’em.” Although it was by no means a bad performance, it didn’t show off much of his singing ability. After walking the mile long hallway to see the judges to hear the verdict, Harry tells him he’s inconsistent, but in a good way, in an exciting way. Top 24, here comes Dalton.

Manny Torres, struggled to get through his solo performance round, but showed off his stage presence and confidence while he danced around the stage. Manny is the prime example of having “it,” whatever that is. He’s talented, yes, but by no means the best singer in the competition so far. But he’s fun to watch, he’s likable, he’s entertaining; take note other contestants. He makes it though. Unfortunately though, not everyone can, and
Laurel Wright, Anatalia Villaranda,Isaac Cole, Jon Klassen, Kassy Levels, and Andrew Nazarbekian are all sent home.

Thomas Stringfellow, 17, was sadly broken up with by his girlfriend of a year right before the competition started. He smartly dedicates One Direction’s “Story of My Life” to everyone with a broken heart for his final judgement performance. There was some weird screeching at the end of his words, but again, he’s likable, he’s cute, he’ll win over teens. So, top 24 it is for Thomas. Take that girlfriend! (Well, ex).

Sonika Vaid picked another ballad, “I Surrender,” and sounded great. This is exactly who needs to take note from Manny. Show some intention, some spunk, or just personality. The judges seem to worry about this as well, but they’re going to give her another chance.

Malie Delgado has had a tough time on Idol, having lost her voice during Hollywood Week. She takes on “Little White Church,” and sounds amazing. She has more to offer performance wise than say, Sonika, but the judges don’t see it. She’s going home.

Olivia Rox sang “Love Somebody,” with a bit of a cold. Not sure if her cold really affected the sound of her voice, but she didn’t sound like she had previously. Her originality has been sprinkled in some performances more than others, but it seems as there’s more to her. And we will get to find out if there is more because she moves forward.

Emily Brooke sings Carrie Underwood’s “So Small.” While the vocals weren’t perfect, it’s easy to see her growth not just from her run the previous season, but from her audition. The judges tell her she’s ready to be in front of America, and she continues on.

We say goodbye to Sara Sturm, Jordyn Simone, Tiffanne LeMay, Kayla Mickelsen, and Mionne Destiny before Gianna Isabella finds out her fate. Gianna takes on her mom’s (Brenda K Starr in case you forgot) “I Still Believe.” There was a great moment during rehearsal where Ricky Minor told Brenda to back off. She listened, which paid off, because despite some nasally areas in the song, Gianna is part of the Top 24.

Jenn Blosil, resident quirky weird girl and my favorite contestant by far, sang “Hanging Tree.” Her choices were so uniquely her which is why I love her. The judges see this and she moves to the Top 24. But because so many people have to be cut, we do say goodbye to Christian Eason, Ariel Sprague, Kelsie Watts, and Shevonne Philidor.

Tristan McIntosh, whose military mom has been by her side since her audition, sang Faith Hill’s “Stronger.” Her voice is strong as always, and it seems as though she stepped up performance game a bit. I can’t see where she’d be as an artist, but hopefully I’ll find out since she’s part of the Top 24.

Jordan Sasser and Kacye Haynes go in to see the judges together, but only one will make it through. Jordan chooses “Love Runs Out,” and I still don’t understand his appeal. He has moments where he’s great, but mostly moments where he’s not. He wins over Harry and Jennifer, but not Keith. Kacye goes for “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” He has a great voice, and he moves around on stage in such a different way. He by far outperformed Jordan. But apparently Keith’s indifference towards Jordan didn’t beat out J.Lo and Harry’s love for him because he makes it through.

La’Porsha Renae and Lindita, who lost 150 pounds to audition for Idol, also see the judges together to find out which one will make it. Before we even have to see their judgement performances, there’s no doubt La’Porsha will make it through. She’s been a favorite among the judges, for good reason, from the beginning.  Lindita does a generic take on “Bang Bang.” La’Porsha then comes out and KILLS “House of the Rising Sun.” This girl can do no wrong, and I’m so glad we will continue to hear her next week. Sorry Lindita.

Next up, live rounds.

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