Friday, April 01, 2016

American Idol Top 3

This is the penultimate week of American Idol. Next week, will be the Finale, which apparently will feature a Top 3 for the first time instead of a two person race. Could that be some foreshadowing for the 2016 Presidential debate stage? I am just amazed at how escalated Fox has made this season. It feels like someone just cannot wait for this all to be over.

I will be live blogging a recording of the episode tonight, which we are told is the final one from American Idol's Hollywood studio, where the vast majority of performances throughout the years have taken place. This season, the Top 4 all got the trip home, where it usually is reserved for the Top 3. The hometown crowds were probably smaller than usual but I bet at every event in all the towns, at least one person had a sign proclaiming their Idol hopeful to be better than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Twelve performances tonight I think, as the Top 4 will sing in three rounds, and then at the end, I imagine they will make the cut. I think I am starting this early enough so I will not be falling asleep by the end.

Who should be eliminated: Dalton Rappatoni
Who I am predicting will be eliminated: Dalton Rappatoni

Round 1- Hometown Dedications

1. MacKenzie Bourg- "Hallelujah"

This song has been done so many times on Idol and other singing shows in the past seven years, I guess it was inevitable it would find it's way into the competition one more time. MacKenzies's version was very simple, with just him playing a guitar, as opposed to all sorts of orchestra people playing cellos and whatnot. He sings well, but did not really do anything to this song to stand out. It did not feel like a "moment", but perhaps this song is just overplayed to the point where that is not possible.

The parents and families are all sitting on the stage with the contestants. It reminds me of a Bar Mitzvah Bimah. 

2. Dalton Rappatoni- "Calling You"

This is a song I do not know, but I thought he did fairly well. Writing messages on his hands is dumb though. I thought the performance started off very strong in the first verse, but then got a little frantic in the chorus and as he continued, but Dalton gave a high-energy performance. I have "predicted" he will leave at the end of the show, but I will not at all be surprised if he makes it to the Finale. I wonder if I underestimate his fan base. It's just that he seems about seven years in the past in terms of his style. Do young girls still like the emo thing?

3. Trent Harmon- "Tennessee Whiskey"

It looks like Amory, Mississippi is fairly close to the Tennessee border, so I guess the song makes sense as a Hometown Dedication. Everyone back there supporting him may have been wearing blue, but the town certainly looks like it would be red politically. I am somewhat surprised that Trent did not cry too noticeably in the package they aired before the performance.

This is another song I do not know, but Trent has the ability to make anything sound interesting. This was a very strong performance to lead off the night for him. He has shown that a lot of musical versatility

4. La'Porsha Renae- "Glory"

North Mississippi yields to South Mississippi as we see La'Porsha visit her hometown. How come her daughter never seems to age? It would be pretty unique for their to be an Idol winner with a child this young. I am sure she will have people travel with her if she makes it big, because I cannot imagine that she will be away from her daughter for long stretches of time.

Anyways, this was a very strong vocal and a powerful performance. As nice and pleasant and MacKenzie and Dalton were in this first round, the other two are just in a different league.

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

What's going on now? Somebody is getting cut right here? Are two people leaving tonight? This is going to be a buzzkill for the audience if La'Porsha is voted off. I keep pausing the recording because this is getting somewhat interesting. Dalton is through, after Trent advances to the Finals, and Trent's reaction at the seats is not one of being too happy. So, now it is down to MacKenzie and La'Porsha and MacKenzie looks scared to death he might make it over her and face all sorts of wrath. He is practically announcing his own elimination while Seacrest holds the card. I actually had him narrowly beating out La'Porsha on points last week, but for his sake, I sort of hope he gets to gracefully bow out in 4th place. I am not at all sure that is about to happen though.

La'Porsha advances. My mother will be happy. MacKenzie was her least favorite. In a way I sort of wonder if that is the actual result. I am glad though that we will get to hear La'Porsha continue, even though as I said, I thought her two performances last week were not quite up to her usual standards.

Round 2- Scott Borchetta's selections

 1. Dalton Rappatoni- "Dancing In the Dark"

I thought it was funny how he changed the narration of the song to someone working the overnight shift, coming home in the morning tired and bored with themselves instead of in the evening. I really do not know what to think of this. He's a heck of a performer and JLo seemed to really be digging it, but the vocals were off, especially after the slowed-down first verse, as it went into some kind of dance track, which oddly enough makes sense with the title of the song. He belongs on stage, perhaps in an emo-inspired Bruce Springsteen musical, but Dalton is just not at the same level as Trent and La'Porsha vocally. He's reminding me of Blake Lewis now.

2. La'Porsha Renae- "Stay With Me"

Scott announces the choice by saying that La'Porsha was not happy with it, but that it was going to be an Idol moment. I do not know this song or why she might have been reluctant to sing it, but this was basically a Diva Masterclass. I do not know how she could have made it any better. MacKenzie is somewhere backstage just relieved that Black Lives Matter will not be trying to hunt him down.

Interesting. She did not like the message of the song begging a man to stay with her, considering what she has been through. It was very shrewd for the Producers to have Harry Connick Jr. ask her about it so she could get that info out there.

3. Trent Harmon- "Drink You Away"

So, now Trent has sang two songs tonight about drinking, after having said last week that he had family members who struggled with alcoholism. This was very odd to me. He definitely has an amazing vocal range and he really put on a fireworks show with his voice at the end, but I do not think this song really worked for him. It felt too frantic and out of synch, (too bad for Justin Timberlake, formerly of N Sync.)

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

She easily takes this round, even if she was forced to put on an act when she sang it. She had to do that last week when she sang about being a cowboy though too.

The flashing lights in this Keith Urban performance are going to cause someone watching on tv to have a seizure. They did not even give a disclaimer.

Round 3- Judges Choices:

1. Dalton Rappatoni- "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"

 I will say this for Dalton. He knows how he wants a performance to come across and he manages to make it happen. I think it was a bit weird that he had a mental patient on the loose vibe to this, but I am sure people will like it. It was decent vocally, but David Archuleta, David Cook, and Kris Allen all have done much better live cover versions of this Tears For Fears hit in their post Idol careers. The judges bus hm a bit with their comments.

Back from commercial break and babies and dogs are both being cradled at the Judges' table. They are just missing Grumpy Cat.

2. La'Porsha Renae- "Hello"

The judges gave her the recent Adele hit and not the old Lionel Richie song of the same title.
I think this was good, but not as good as she was on the last round. She may not have liked the lyrical message of this song either for similar reasons. La'Porsha had to switch this up and try to make it her own, but my brain felt programmed to anticipate the Adele version. Something felt slightly off but she hit a pretty strong note towards the end.

3. Trent Harmon- "Waiting Game"

It is unusual that they gave two number one hits to the others (albeit one much older than the other), but Trent was given a song that very few people have probably heard. Regardless though, Trent was on his game here once again. He does indeed make everything sound like it is his song and he is able to go to his vocal bag of tricks at any point, without having it come off as gratutious.


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

Overall for all three rounds:

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

The Idol Powers That Be, seem to be trying to do anything in their power to keep La'Porsha. I sort of remember now that last season, at the Nokia Theater, they  had an awkward scene at the very beginning of the broadcast where JAX was cut, and quickly ushered away, and then only the Final Two performed. That may be the case again this year.

Without a doubt, Dalton should finish in third place at this point, and we should all be lucky enough to see La'Porsha and Trent battle it out on stage for the right to be the supposed last ever American Idol.

However, if the results are on the up and up, that may be hard see happen. Voting habits are important and La'Porsha as much as everyone respects her singing ability, is not a male and is not white. (I sound like a Bernie Sanders voter now.) She is also not thin and glamorous and cannot even rely on a home state loyalty vote, since she has to share that base with Trent. I think it is going to be somewhat of a "travesty" in Idol's last week, and I hope to be wrong, but I think La'Porsha will finish in third, to the surprise of many, leaving two guys to compete in a mismatch.

It just might be though that if La'Porsha does get the lowest votes this week, they will go to a three person Finale and just announce the winner a week from now.

That is it for Stage 36. On July 16, 2002, Ryan Starr kicked it off by singing (fairly badly) to a backing track of "If You Really Love Me" on Motown Night, in front of Seacrest, Dunkleman, and the original judge trio of Simon, Paula, and Randy. Kelly Clarkson was also there that night though, and while she may not have even had the best performance, she was a worthy winner of Season 1, and American Idol became a cultural institution. The Finalists this season, including the four who sang tonight, have shown just how far the show has come since that first performance. American Idol will be missed, as long as it is off the air.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey: My predictions of next week in the final season of American Idol!

1.) LaPorsha will finish 3rd as she's facing the Bradley Effect: people are just NOT going to vote for a fat person as their Idol champion PERIOD!

2.) The last American Idol winner of 2016 will likely be either Dalton (fellow Texan) or Trent!


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