Wednesday, April 06, 2016

American Idol Season 15 Finale Performances

After nearly 14 years of watching this show, tonight was the last ever performance round of American Idol. I will be live-blogging a recording of the episode for the final time, or until the show makes a re-emergence one day.

Tomorrow night, the final American Idol will be "crowned." There will be a host of special guests and performances and I am sure a lot of sentimentality. There is lots of sports to watch live tomorrow though and I will probably not be able to catch all two hours plus tomorrow. So, while I will likely find out online who the winner was, I will have to catch the Finale later on. Eventually, I will post my final American Idol entry.

Looking back to last week, I said that if someone is cut right away so that the Final Two can square off as per the entire Idol tradition, it would be Dalton Rappatoni leaving so that La'Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon could rightfully compete for the title. However, I would guess that La'Porsha would have received the least amount of votes, and thus Idol may just let all three of them go at it tonight.

The night begins with the Top Three singing a pretty brief version of "At Least We Stole the Show", which sounds like a pretty lousy song. Since I have to rank it, I will put LaPorsha first, Trent second, and Dalton third.

Next, all three Finalists will sing what would be their "Winner's Single" and then it looks like somebody will be getting cut. At least the votes from last week will have mattered.

1. Trent Harmon- "Falling"

Is this a brand new song or a cover version of something? Keith Urban seemed to know some of the words, which would be odd if it was the first time he ever heard. This sounded like a cross between the Weeknd and George Michael. It definitely is not the whole sort of inspirational magic rainbow sort of winners song and I am not sure if I liked it as a song, which is always the case with these things. Trent sang it well and threw in all sorts of the vocal tricks he has become known for. I just do not know if I can really imagine this on the radio or think that Trent is going to expand his fanbase singing this after the show ends.

2. Dalton Rappatoni- "Strike A Match"

There were some lyrical and musical elements to this song that reminded me of "Dancing In The Dark", which Dalton was given to sing last week. It did sound a bit more like a "winner's single" though. He definitely put it all into the performance. Dalton goes out there to put emotion into renditions and he tries to put on a show. That is a good contrast with some of the "too cool for school" male singers that have been on in some past season. It is just that Dalton does not have the best voice in this competition, out of those who are also left competing and some others who have already been cut.

3. La'Porsha Renae- "Battles"

She is back to her original hair style and to the second hair color she has had on the show. What is different to me though is that they show her saying her last name was Jennings, when she auditioned. I think she should have just competed as La'Porsha Jennings, with or without that annoying apostrophe.

This definitely sounded like a traditional winner's single. Why in the world did they give Trent a song that sounded like it was about seduction or something? That's very curious. I may not have been crazy about this song either but she sang it really well. I think the Powers That Be would love to see her become the last Idol.

No comments at all from the judges' in this round.


3. Dalton Rappatoni
2. Trent Harmon
1. La'Porsha Renae

Back for the results now, I am pleasantly surprised and relieved to see Dalton bow out in third place. No negative feelings at all towards him, but that was the right decision by America, similar to the way Wisconsin was right to overwhelmingly reject Donald Trump yesterday. Maybe there is hope yet. However, there will be no Brokered American Idol Finale to award the title to Sonika Vaid or even David Archuleta (to go along with the theme of past Mormon runners-up who I felt should have won). Luckily for Idol, Trent and La'Porsha are quite deserving. Wow, two people from the same state are indeed facing off, and it's not even a large state. All three of the southern Top 3 Finalists auditioned in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dalton got a lot more dignified send-off than JAX did last year. 

Next round is songs selected by Idol creator Simon Fuller.

1. Trent Harmon- "If You Don't Know Me By Know"

We should know by now, that Simon Fuller loves this song. I think he probably gave it to someone else in a previous Finale.  It really is a good song for Trent's style and I thought he sounded very impressive on much of it. However, I noticed he never sang the melody on the chorus. I think he should have shown that element of the song, at least once, instead of just riffing all over the place in a Taylor Hicks sort of way. He is very talented, but he might have overdone it a bit.

2. La'Porsha Renae- "A House is Not a Home"

The first ever live competition performance on American Idol belonged to Tamyra Gray, (who sang that song from "Dreamgirls") an early standout who had to settle for fourth place. It looks like La'Porsha will have the final American Idol competition performance after the next round. Here though, she sang a song that Tamrya did fairly early in the Finals in Season 1, that was a very memorable performance. I do not recall this song ever having been done since.

La'Porsha gave a great, technically proficient performance that I am sure almost everyone will appreciate. I did not find it overly exciting though. If I am being honest, I would probably say that Tamyra's 2002 version was better.

Sill though, I give the round to La'Porsha over Trent.

The final round will be reprisals of songs the contestants have done earlier on. Trent will be doing the Sia song again and I assume La'Porsha will close it out with Mary J. Blige.

1. Trent Harmon- "Chandalier"

 This was really good, once again, but he seemed to take a few moments into the song before he sounded fully warmed up. Maybe it was a bit better the last time. These sort of reprisals are always hard to duplicate in regards to a "moment."

2. La'Porsha Renae- "Diamonds"

Two songs written by Sia in this round. I really thought she was going to do "No More Drama." This could be a strategic mistake. That would have been far more emotional and would have played into her narrative as a recent survivor of domestic abuse.

After having watched the performance, she probably sang it better this time than the first time. Both she and Trent are just so good. I have no idea though what either is going to be able to accomplish in the world of current pop music, but they sure did American singing and the tradition of American Idol proud.

The final round I give to La'Porsha Renae over Trent Harmon.

So, this is pretty much a clean sweep tonight. I give every round to La'Porsha Renae. She deserves to win, and I will cast my 10 Google votes for her. Nonetheless, I still think the competition between her and Trent tonight and between her and Trent all season has been very close. This was no blowout, only close calls.

It is very possible that I could have come away from tonight thinking that Trent deserved to win, however, (while I still am surprised she did not do "No More Drama") the night was set up for La'Porsha to have the best chance of shining and that is what happened. I find the stylistic differences between both of their winners' singles to be odd. It is like they are trying to pump up more votes for La'Porsha.

Usually, but not always, the contestant I think deserves to win in the Finale manages to do so. I do not know what will happen tomorrow. Looking back, I do know that whenever a black woman got to sing for the title, I wound up on their side, and they have always won.

This really could go either way tomorrow. I am impressed by the fact that La'Porsha managed to outlast both MacKenzie Bourg and Dalton, in spite of splitting home state votes with Trent. Against Trent, one on one, she may have a very decent chance of winning. However, with the current Idol viewing demographics, it is still somewhat hard to see a black singer beating a white singer, although it was done three years back. What might be more difficult in this Age of Texting is how a female singer beats out a guy. (No guitars or instruments played tonight, which of course only Trent does... more fodder for conspiracy theories.)

To use a cliche, there really can be no "loser" in this Finale. Both did really well, although Finale Night always feels a bit anti-climactic and too schmaltzy for me. Because he is a white, southern male, I think Trent is slightly more likely to be the winner, but I hope La'Porsha does.


At 2:39 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey: Trent is likely going to win the final American Idol crown tonight!

La'Porsha is facing Obama Fatigue & the backlash from Middle America because of the following factors:
1.) She's too fat

2.) The Bradley Effect: people say they're voting for La'Porscha, but secretly vote for Trent instead once the Performance Show was over.

3.) Dalton's supporters are likely backing Trent in massive droves, which is key here.

4.) The teenage girls are NOT going to stomach seeing a fat girl win.

After tonight, African American singers will drop to (4-1) once La'Porscha LOSES!

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

My record of picking American Idol winners stays intact (15-0)!

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Nailed my bold prediction: La'Porscha lost because of the backlash against the judges pimping her & the anti-Obama sentiment!

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey, are you going to post your analysis on Thursday's Grand Finale of American Idol ?

At 5:48 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Probably not until next month.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

I'll be looking forward to seeing your recap!

I'm surprised that Camille Velasco (from Season 3 of 2004) didn't attend the Grand Finale last week.


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