Posts Tagged With: Mackenzie Bourg

American Idol – Ask And You Shall Receive

Well they asked for our suggestions and from what I saw, there were some made, all be them stupid and pretty lackluster. I don’t blame America though. I mean, I sort of do. But is there really anyone that inspires you this season whose initials aren’t LR? For me, the answer is no, and tonight only made that clear to me.

crystal

From what I read, sure, the contestants weren’t given much to work with as far as song choice goes. Though I still kind of think it was just the assistants of producers tweeting suggestions that they could work with. I just can’t not believe in the Big Brother that is the American Idol producers. I mean really, in what world do they really leave things up to the public?

But lets get to talking about the performances. I would only talk about the second half because those were the only good ones, but I guess it’d be wrong of me to ignore the trainwreck that was 80% of the first half of the show. The only real nice thing I could say is that they got the elimination done at the beginning. Thanks for that. I thought it would be good for Sonika in the second performance which wasn’t exactly to be, but I guess it just makes it easier to see who should go next week.

Also, I’m not going to talk about the contestants in order because I think the 3 guys can basically be lumped together, 2 of the girls can, and one of the girls is practically standing on the stage accepting her crown at this point.

LaPorsha-Renae

 MacKenzie Bourg
Wild World by Cat Stevens
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

MacKenzie was one of two performers that I thought had 2 solid performances. I would’ve said that Wild World was a pretty solid performance, but then he did Billie Jean and that was pretty amazeballs. I didn’t even realize that was the performance he was going with. It didn’t even make me long for David Cook’s rendition (which up until now had been my favorite performance of this song on Idol). Though I do think both used the Cornell version to go off of. It’s interesting that while Mackenzie and David’s were similar, their voices are so different, you wouldn’t really notice it. David brings a rock twinge while MacKenzie has his singer/songwriter vibe.

I also wanted to say, and this goes for Trent’s cover of Simple Man and Dalton’s cover of The Sound of Silence as well, the songs are old enough that I’m pretty sure most of them weren’t born when they came out, and I’d guess many of them hadn’t really been super familiar with the songs they performed (which I think is kind of a plus). But to me these performances just sounded like they were given lyrics and told to create the song, and if you want to see real artistry on stage, I think that’s where you have to look for it. What do you do with words on a page?

Trent Harmon
Counting Stars by OneRepublic
Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Can I just say that I always thought the song was called “Counting Cars”? Is that a song? Actually never mind. I think I’m thinking of that song Chasing Pavement. Anyway, that song was borderline terrible. I’d call it easily tied for 3rd worst performance of the night. I’d really rather not speak of it ever again. But Simple Man is another story. I really loved Trent’s rendition. It was unique. Trent also has the growl that I think this song requires, so I really think this was a good choice for him. And definitely the better song to do second! My Idol watcher friends tried to tell me “Shinedown has one that’s better” but it’s not really about what cover of a song was better than another cover (because this wasn’t the best cover of the night). Shinedown’s sound is nothing like Trents. And in fact, I just listened to it, and I think I liked Trent’s more. So there.

Dalton Rappatoni
Numb by Linkin Park
The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

See: Trent Harmon. It’s basically the exact same review. I would only like to add (with regards to Numb) that it seemed so choppy. Like, every word could’ve been a couple seconds longer and instead it was cut off worse than me driving home from work. I’m the one getting cut off, for the record. I’m the song in this scenario.

Sonika Vaid
Let it Go by Idina Menzel
Clarity by Zedd

Sonika really brought nothing to either performance. I forgave her with Frozen because it’s a hard song that doesn’t really seem to be in her range. It was just weird but I blamed it on her nerves. Being in the bottom 3 cannot be easy for a girl with confidence issues. Maybe she just needs a Confidence Man to show her how it’s done?

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Sonika, you’re really sweet, but I fear you did nothing to save yourself next week.

Tristan MacIntosh – Independence Day by Martina McBride

Oh Tristan, I knew you’d be going home when you uttered the name Martina. I did like the somewhat tuned down version of this song but not enough to think we should keep you. Honestly, I’m just mad that you were here tonight when it should’ve been Avalon.

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But, I only went with the person being voted off so that I could finish with the only contestant that is giving me LIFE this season.

LA’PORSHA FREAKING RENAE
Ready for Love by India.Arie
No More Drama by Mary J. Blige

Man, how did I love these performances? Let me count the ways…

  1. The song choice, while expected for her voice, was not expected as far as what I thought she’d pick.
  2. Her outfits were… better… 
  3. The tears. All the tears.

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She’s just so good. Can we just give her the crown now, please? Thanks!

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American Idol – #IdolRequest

I actually really like this theme. I’m not saying the American Idol viewing audience is super original in their suggestions, but I like themes that involve me, or make me feel like I have an input. I read each contestant will do 2 songs so I’m wondering if there will be some kind of secret theme or what. Will only 5 be the peoples requests and the other 5/6 will be electoral college requests? Nothing like a little voting humor to get you through the day! It’s funny.

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Ok so anyway, the show songs come at the request of the people! Thusly, I have scoured twitter for answers. What are the people requesting? I didn’t personally put any requests out. Fear of rejection I suppose. The suggestions were interesting though. Mostly typical, but some good original suggestions. I figured I’d include a little synopsis of what I saw, along with my personal suggestions, although it should be noted that most of my suggestions are just suggestions from twitter that I saw and liked. They aren’t original ideas unless otherwise noted.

La’Porsha Renae

What you’d expect: Literally everything you’d expect. Comically expected. Patti, Aretha, Tina, Diana, “that song from the Dreamgirls soundtrack”.

Things I liked even though they were a little obvious: The Circle of Life, Lady Marmalade

What you wouldn’t expect: Florence and the Machine, Purple Rain, Skyfall, Kiss from a Rose.

What I’d like to hear: I really liked that Purple Rain suggestion, but personally I was thinking Tracy Chapman, Fast Car. Wouldn’t that be good?

 

Trent Harmon

What you’d expect: Sam Cooke, Maroon 5, John Mayer

What you wouldn’t expect: Kenny Loggins (3 cheers to this person), Nick Jonas, Phil Collins.

What I’d like to hear: Who cares what I thought! For the sake of Kenny Loggins, I’ll say Danger Zone!

top gun danger zone

MacKenzie Bourg 

What you’d expect: Every hipster band I’ve never heard of. And Justin Beiber. Also a fair amount of original song suggestions.

What you wouldn’t expect: Peter Gabriel (props to that person), Dust in the Wind (technically this person just asked that Dalton or MacKenzie sing this), Billie Jean.

What I’d like to hear: The Only Exception by Paramoure. I also saw some Lady Gaga suggestions that I think could be good.

Sonika Vaid

What you’d expect: Mostly Celine Dion, a fair amount of Christina Aguilera, and then a Demi Lovato or two. Ariana Grande.

What you wouldn’t expect: Nothing really.  This was kind of proof to me that people don’t really think about Sonika as a contender. She had the fewest suggestions and no original suggestions. I still think she can do one of the “expected” songs well though.

What I’d like to hear: I actually think Lady Marmalade could be good for her. Maybe. It would at least (hopefully) take her out of her comfort zone. I also saw a suggestion for Bittersweet Symphony that I really liked the thought of.

Dalton Rappaton

What you’d expect: Overwhelmingly, Panic! At the Disco, followed by My Chemical Romance, and an original song, Stop. I hadn’t heard it but I checked it out here, if you’re interested.

What you wouldn’t expect: Bon Jovi, Audioslave (which was suggested a lot – is he more metal than I realize?), Dust in the Wind by Kansas (?!?), the Sound of Silence cover by Disturbed.

What I’d like to hear: I can’t really decide. He unfortunately doesn’t interest me enough, clearly, to think of something I’d want to hear him sing. I thought about it for a solid 10 minutes, nothing came to mind.

Tristan MacIntosh

What you’d expect: Someone actually suggested “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”. I mean what does that even mean? Did she not sing that as a duet last week? Sara Bareilles – is she considered country?

What you wouldn’t expect: That hardly anyone suggested country songs. Isn’t she supposedly a country singer? And no one is suggesting country songs for her?

What I’d like to hear: I heard a few suggestions from one girl, for a couple different Jewel songs, and I feel like that could be a good spot for her, musically, to rise to the occasion. I mean, if not now, when? Or I want her to go home. Those are my options.

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American Idol – Top 06 – American Idol Songbook

It’s so hard deciding if this episode was the Top 8 or the Top 6, but there were 8 performers so that’s what I’ll go with.

This was an interesting night because I’d just gone back the day before and listened to a lot of the “most performed song” performances so they were nice and fresh in my mind. Turned out that my cutoff of 6 performances was a little off (there was definitely one contestant that chose a song only sung twice). But I guess expanding the songbook at least makes for a more interesting evening. And interesting it was. It really showed off to me, how talented a lot of these contestants are. It also had me really arguing back and forth at myself as to who should be saved. Should it be Sonika or Avalon? It was definitely the hardest “who to keep” I’ve seen all season. Besides times where they obviously chose the wrong people to keep (yes I’m looking at you Tristan and Gianna).

The night opened with duets and with the way they went (best to worst) I was a little worried the night would go like that. But I was pleasantly surprised. But I also thought the duets would be commonly performed songs. Then the first three performances were songs never performed on Idol. Were they great performances? Well, one of them was, yes I’m looking at you Trent and La’Porsha! And the Sonika/Avalon pairing wasn’t bad either. The other two well…

brit kinda bad

But really I’m ready and willing to download “See You Again” when it’s available on itunes. I didn’t realize how well their voices compliment each other. And while I wasn’t a fan of Trents performance of Stand By Me, this really reminded me that it’s not his time to go home yet.

I did think it was interesting that the only people to sing a duet of a song that’s been done (now, more than any other song on American Idol), were Lee and Tristan. If anyone didn’t need to be compared to better performers, it’s them. But guess what, we did. And guess what? They were probably the worst of the 9 total performances. That doesn’t even include Lauren Alaina who had it as her audition song. Well, one of them. I do hope that the ability for comparison makes people realize who should go home (I guess at least America was half right).

So let’s talk about these performances. We’ll just go in order. I think that’ll be easiest.

La’Porsha Renae – Come Together by The Beatles 

I think, if anything, this song in Idol history, is really synonymous with pretty great performances! The only bad one was Sam Woolf (ok and Qaasim – I had really wished Quentin would sing that song). I think for the most part, the only people who pick this song, are people who know they are going to kill it, and they all did (mostly). So if I had to compare La’Porsha with the previous 6 performances, I’d place her solidly in the middle, leaning toward glass half full. It’s astonishing because when compared to her fellow contestants, she’s leading the pack, but when you compare her with those who sang the song before her, she’s stuck in the middle for me. Carly Simpson just sang it SO well. She’s my favorite by leaps and bounds. That said, I felt like La’Porsha did kind of channel her growl that made the performance what it was.

Other Performances: Carly Smithson (Season 7, Top 12), Kris Allen (Season 8, Top 04), Crystal Bowersox (Season 9, Top 9), Candice Glover (Season 12, Top 09), Sam Woolf (Season 13, Top 11) and Qaasim Middleton (Season 14, Top 11)

MacKenzie Bourg – You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker

I think MacKenzie made a pretty smart song choice. He’s not really like anyone else who’s sung it before. It was definitely Taylor Hicks best performance (I dare say it’s worth a re-watch), but I didn’t love this song with Jessica or Danny sang it. And either way, MacKenzie doesn’t compare to any of them musically. Had someone like Sonika done it, she’d be immediately compared to Jessica – and could probably hold her own – but comparing MacKenzie to any of these three, is almost like comparing apples to oranges.

Other Performances: Taylor Hicks (Season 5, Top 03), Danny Gokey (Season 8, Top 03) and Jessica Sanchez (Season 11, Top 05)

Trent Harmon – Stand By Me by Ben E. King

Trent did really well, but he took a huge risk. The 4 other guys who covered this song had really great performances. Phillip had a great soulfulness, Archie’s voice just stands out as clearly the best of the group, and weirdly, I thought Gokey brought almost a country twang to it. He wasn’t country though, was he? Either way, Trents, for me, fits somewhere higher Phillip but lower than Archie. He did have a lilting quality to his performance that I enjoyed. I do agree with JLo though that I didn’t like his look as much tonight.  Bring back all the scarves (unless they’re covered in mono still).

Other Performances: Bo Bice (Season 4, Top 05), David Archuleta (Season 7, Top 04), Danny Gokey (Season 8, Top 08) and Phillip Phillips (Season 11, Finale). – Also I’m starting to wonder if this night could’ve just been called “Things Danny Gokey sang”.

Tristan McIntosh – A Broken Wing by Martina McBride 

I’m not gonna lie, when I heard the song choice I was like – has this even been done before? But when she started it I remembered Jordin Sparks singing it in the Finale. And I guess she sang it in the Top 07 as well. And then I saw Jessica Sierra sang it and she still rings out in my mind as a “gone too soon” contestant! This is another time where comparisons hurt the performer. Listening to Jordin and Jessica sing this, and Diana too, to some extent, it just makes you realize how much farther Tristan has to go in her vocal coaching. She’s not to the caliber of the other ladies. Especially Jordin. I’m honestly shocked she made it through tonight. But I’m going to try not to dwell on it…

nothing turns out right

Other Performances: Diana DeGarmo (Season 3, Top 11), Jessica Sierra (Season 4, Semis), and Jodin Sparks (Season 6, Top 07 and Finale).

I was fine with Tristan being picked because I thought, maybe it’ll be Dalton and Lee in the bottom and that will be fine. Surely it wouldn’t be Avalon AGAIN!

shirley

but then it happened…

Dalton Rapattoni – Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles

I was also starting to wonder if no one would sing a Stevie Wonder song… most performed artist, after all! But alas, we were stuck with Dalton singing a classic (probably one of my favorite) Beatles songs. I did not even have to look this up to know that David Cook crushed Dalton as far as this song is concerned (I also didn’t need to look it up because Dalton kind of sucked except at the end there). I was never sure if I liked David Cook but this performance made me think I might. I didn’t really start liking him until he sang Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey. That was a really great performance! I also have to say that re-listening to Michael Lynche’s performance, that was really great too! Better than Dalton for sure. Also I could only find Paul Jolley’s studio performance of this, not his real version, which makes me think it might’ve been terrible. It was the week he was voted off, after all. Long story short is that but for Paul, Dalton was probably the worst performance of the previous performances of this song. And don’t even get me started on the judges reactions. I mean…

Me watching Tyler

Me watching Tyler

Other Performances: David Cook (Season 7, Top 12), Michael Lynche (Season 9, Top 09) and Paul Jolley (Season 12, Top 09).

And then we were left with the poor terrified bottom 3. Well, 2 of the 3 were definitely scared. I think Avalon was just like – screw it, I got this.

Avalon Young – P.Y.T. by Michael Jackson 

My bigger beef with Avalons song was that only 2 other people have sang it. Is that really an Idol classic? I don’t think so. That said, I think she did great. This was probably the first performance where I thought that the performer was better than any of their predecessors. Which is why I think she probably should’ve been saved, but I’ll get to my arguments for saving Sonika too. I was really torn with that elimination. But here’s my pitch for saving Avalon – more interesting song choices, excellent performance under pressure, overall great attitude, would probably be my friend. And did  I mention how good her performance was?

Other Performances: Danny Gokey (Season 8, Top 13) and Justin Guarini (Season 1, Top 04). Justin’s unfortunately was either recorded before people were putting videos on the internet, or it was forgettable enough that no one remembered to put it on the internet.

Lee Jean(ValJean) – Let it Be by The Beatles

This was Daltons performance all over again. Just hearing what he’d be singing reminded me of Brooke White’s version of Let it Be and how stellar it was. Did she cry in it? I would probably put it in the Top 25 greatest performance on Idol. What that means is that it unfortunately focused in on the connection that Lee just didn’t have to the song. I feel bad for the kid. He did look really defeated while performing, I’m sure the nerves were really bad, but this just wasn’t good. I did feel so bad for him when he spoke before the judgment, because he was just adorable. I just think he needs a few more years. I really think he could have a great career and hopefully this is just his jumping off point. Also it should be noted he was way better than Burnell’s version of the song, if it’s any consolation.

Other Performances: Brooke White (Season 7, Top 12), Katie Stevens (Season 9, Top 09) and Burnell Taylor (Season 12, Top 09).

Sonika Vaid – I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston

Sonika picked probably one of the hardest songs in Idol lore. It’s been performed (very well) by many of the greats. Was she better than those ladies? No. But did she hold her own? Abso-freaking-lutely. Arguments for keeping her: Holding her own against the likes of JHud, Jessica Sanchez, Trenyce, Vonzell, Katherine… she challenged herself and really showed she should be on the show. I think picking a song that’s been done a lot and doing it well, says a LOT about the quality of a singer.

Other Performances: Trenyce (Season 2, Top 11), Leah LaBelle (Season 3, Semis), Jennifer Hudson (Season 3, Top 08), Vonzell Solomon (Season 4, Top 10), Katherine McPhee (Season 5, Top 06), Lakisha Jones (Season 6, Semis), Shannon Magrane (Season 11, Top 13) and Jessica Sanchez (Season 11, Finale).

And with that, we are left with a Top 6, which I assume will go down to 4 next week and then one at a time after that? I wish it would go one at a time from here on out but I don’t know if they’ll give me that much in this shortened season. Time will tell!

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American Idol – Top 08 – The Right Save

You know last night, I was really angry. The things I was angry about started with the format. I really thought there was a show change to announce the people going through at the beginning of the show, and then have them perform. It made sense. Then nobody is super nervous while performing. I think we all realized the effects of making someone sing when they’re super nervous that they may be cut. Last year the save performances were some of the worst. Sure you’d love people to step up to the challenge and have the best performance of their lives, but these are very young teenagers. Can we really expect that? Why force them into what will be (to date) the most stressful day of their lives, to see if they have what it takes to still perform. I feel like that just breeds mental breakdowns, even in the strongest of candidates.

I tried to see the bright side – that at least we’d get to see 10 performances tonight, but I don’t think it’s worth it if it’s not going to be the best performance they can give. And if they’re in the bottom 3, odds are they won’t be.

Other things that made me mad that I won’t spend too much time on included but were not limited to: having Demi Lovato sing (sorry but can’t we just have former Idols perform? Are you really saving them all for the finale? Or was Demi the only one with enough balls to come on and perform after Kelly Clarkson?), having Harry Connick Jr sing (who sounded like a Jimmy Buffett record on slo-mo) when we shouldn’t be focusing on THE JUDGES! No one watches the show because they love Harry Connick Jr. music. Or JLo. Or Keith for that matter. They watch it for the talent COMPETING!?!?!?! and finally, the American Idol voters.

America is really screwing it up. I mean, if they screw it up this badly in March, what are they going to do in November…

shudders

The good thing is that the final save was left to the judges and they in fact, did the right thing. I had a hard time admitting it because I do like Olivia as a performer, but Avalon was the right save in this scenario. We still have a lot of entertaining acts left, so it doesn’t sting as much. And Avalon by far, had the best performance of the people fighting to be saved. So let’s talk about my favorites of the night, starting with my Top 3…

Avalon Young – Earned It by The Week(e)nd

Avalons performance was my favorite for a lot of reasons. For one, the pressure she was under could’ve easily cracked her. I liked the seated performance, her voice has a quality that just impresses the hell out of me, and not that it had anything to do with the performance, I really liked her pre-show attitude. Sure I worry when she says she’ll never step out of her comfort zone (I’m ok with that when it comes to clothes and make-up, but you’ll never grow if you don’t do it musically).

La’Porsha Renae – Halo by Beyoncé

I felt like La’Porshas outfit really showed me where she was going with her performance. When I saw her and her new hair (why can’t I find on the internet what she named it! Shameful, internet!), I felt like this was going to be something good. And it was really good. It’s hard to not think she’s the one to beat, so I’m not even going to question it. La’Porsha – the crown is yours to lose, girl.

MacKenzie Bourg – I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston 

I really liked this performance a LOT, but then I heard Harry say he wished that Mac had done the song acoustic and I was like… oh yeah, I want that version!

please

I’m not going to take away the goodness that was this performance, only that maybe, when everything is said and done, you could do an acoustic version? I also have to say I didn’t agree with Harry that MacKenzie likes to do things “differently, like Dalton”. Um, no he doesn’t. Have we seen him do that yet? Oh wait, he did the medley of judges songs for his audition. See, I totally forgot about that part of you MacKenzie because you haven’t don that since your audition. But I guess that was you doing it tonight. Well done, sir.

Honorable Top 03 Mention (aka 4th):

Sonika Vaid – Since You’ve Been Gone by The One and Only Kelly Clarkson

I know I did a top 4 last week, but we’re down to 8 contestants so I just felt like a top 3 was enough. And Sonika definitely didn’t deserve to be Top 3 today in my eyes. But what almost made me put her there (performance aside) was stupid Harry Connick Jr. You’re not going to keep telling her how good she is? You fall over for half the contestants (maybe not you personally, Harry but your judges table) and you aren’t going to continue telling Sonika that?

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Folks, welcome the Hailey Reinhart of Season 15!

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I don’t think this was Sonika’s best performance, especially after her performance last week, but I’m still seeing improvement and I still think she can come out of that shell and give us more. I think this just wasn’t the right song this week. The One and Only is too fresh in our minds.

And then there were the people I was fine with saving, but now might be in my bottom 2:

 Dalton Rapattoni – Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

 Was it just me or was this Daltons worst performance to date? It felt very “Dalton” to me… but not in a good way. I guess I just don’t think the punk-effect should be given to this song? Or maybe he just didn’t do it in a way that appealed to me but the song felt very slow and the performance felt like it lasted minutes longer than anyone elses. This was just the complete definition of lackluster to me.

Trent Harmon – When A Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge

You know, its hard not to compare apples to apples when you perform a song on Idol that’s been done many times before. And it’s been done a LOT. So I figured I should do that. In fact, I actually ranked the performances (see below) and decided Trent was roughly 4th. I don’t think it was a good song choice for him and truthfully the performance made it clear he should not be getting my vote this week.

  1. Clark Beckham (season 14) – I loved Clark and his performance.
  2. Michael Lynche (season 9) – This was straight up fantastic and basically tied with Clark’s. I only put Clark first because it was a touch better, and because it was the first one I thought of while watching Trent.
  3. Joshua Ledet (season 12) – While I hated Joshua, this was one of his best performances. I can’t wake that away from him. But the screaming at the end kept me from putting him in first. He also was better at facial contortions than Trent. And that’s saying a lot.
  4. Trent Harmon (current season) 
  5. Stefano Lagone (season 10)  – He literally only got this position because I liked the falsetto he had in the opening lyric. I hated the rest.
  6. Justin Waddell/Christina Christian/Gedeon McKinney – Literally do not remember these people at all. But 2 are from season 1 and the last was from season 5 which was 10 years ago, so I don’t feel bad. The internet just told me that they also sang the song.

And finally, we have the 2 that I wish hadn’t made it through but their performance made me think, woah, maybe I should re-think this? But probably not… but maybe… but I’ll regret it:

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Lee JeanValJean – Use Somebody By Kings of Leon

I still am not sure this young boy has what it takes, but I think he’s the most modifiable. That’s a word right? I think he (so far) has been pretty good at taking advice and he is growing, but I don’t think he’ll grow fast enough to become a real boy a contestant in the Top 4.

Tristan McIntosh – Go Rest High on that Mountain by Vince Gill

This was a great song and I didn’t know it. So I was happy to hear a new song that was good. And it was a good performance, I think. The problem mostly, was that she shouldn’t have made it through AT ALL based on her performance last week and it really hurt me that she got through over Olivia because it just was not deserving. The same goes for Lee JeanValJean. Neither of them deserved a pass. But Tristan deserved a pass even less. Sorry girl, but the crying to Scott nonsense, the crying in other episodes nonsense… I’m sorry but you’re 15 and you’re clearly not ready. I mean, I’m a crier. I get it. But I wouldn’t put myself into a situation like that if I knew I couldn’t handle it. She should probably take a page out of Shi Scott’s book. I think that was her name?

As for Olivia…

Katniss Salute

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American Idol – Duets

Duets just makes me think of Gwenyth Paltrow (and Huey Lewis but that doesn’t fit with where I’m going here). And that just makes me think they should’ve done some kind of Sliding Door situation, instead of Duets. I don’t know how that would work but I think it would be great. For me the duets were a bit on the lackluster side over all. I liked the concept and as soon as Lauren and Emily started singing it made me think about how this is a pretty interesting challenge. You’re singing with people who were the best of their season. You’re at this point only in the Top 24 of your season. It’ll be interesting to see how people compare to the top contestants. Maybe the Top 24 are as good as these guys. I mean they’re saying that there’s more talent in this season than ever before!

Sure they say that every season but this season it actually has some credibility just because everyone who was sitting on the fence as to whether they’d audition, got off their asses and did it. Or so they’d like us to believe 🙂

Emily Brooke and Lauren Alaina
Flat on the Ground by Carrie Underwood

Emily loves a sheer overlay. Lauren definitely stood out far more than Emily, which I have a feeling could happen a lot with these first 24 duets. I mean, Ryan said it – these are seasoned performers at this point, even if none of them are really all that famous yet. As for Emily, I just think it was a good pick for her if she wanted to hide her voice, and glob on to Lauren’s voice. All this performance made me do was miss Lauren as a contestant. She was great for the show.

Thomas Stringfellow and Nick Fradiani
Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

Weird combo. I mean, I’m sure Thomas was hoping for Alex Preston. That’d be too matchy matchy. I do feel like Thomas was looking at Nick like, oh my god that guy is so hot. No? Was that just me?

As for this performance, I just wish Nick was singing the whole time so I didn’t have to hear that hiccup. It was back in full effect tonight. I didn’t really love either of them singing this though. It seemed a little choppy and rushed.

Also Harry, stop praising that Creep performance.

Top07 - Notcool

Stephaney Negrete and Ruben Studdard
Superstar by The Carpenters

Rueben hit the nail on the head with what Stephaney was lacking from yesterday. She’s lacking that ability to let go and be free on stage. She’s got the voice and energy, she just needs to relax and petit all out. Is he teaching now? I didn’t realize they were billing her as a Pia Toscano type.

Also, Luther Vandross is JLo’s favorite singer of all time? Wouldn’t have guessed that.

Sonica Vaid and Caleb Johnson 
Skyfall by Adele

I was only going to be happy if they sang a song for Beauty and the Beast. I mean they said they were doing something theatrical. I love seeing how naive Sonika is but truthfully it’s only going to hurt her this season. I just think I would’ve liked it more if Caleb wasn’t singing (and for the record this was the only performance where I thought that). I do think that he helped her get out of her comfort zone… a little.

little

Jenna Renae and Scotty McCreery
See You Tonight by Scotty McCreery

Jenna just seemed like a fan that happened to be able to sing, that Scotty pulled up on stage. Also there are very few women that I think look better in a fedora, but I really like that look for Jenna. Her not wearing one made me really take notice and wish she was. That feels like a backhanded compliment but it isn’t meant to be.

La’Porsha Renae and Fantasia
Summertime by George Gershwin for Porgy and Bess

what just happened clapping

This required a double gif for me to explain my emotions about this performance. It was great. Is it possible La’Porsha is even better with a duet partner? I mean they were really flawless, I have to say. It was the highlight of the show, and I don’t usually feel that way about Fantasia, but as a duet, I liked it!

Also, their height difference in the practice round was amazing. I’m kind of dying to know what their actual heights are. I didn’t think Fantasia was that tall. Also, I LOVED Fantasia’s shoes! I tweeted her to see what they were but alas, no response.

Mackenzie Bourg and Lauren Alaina 
I Hope You Dance by Leanne Womack 

“I was hoping I’d be taller than you” – so cute. Adorable. He really is. And you know Lauren is a huge flirt. God love her. Excellent song choice for them and I think showing that he can compete with Thomas for the ladies, was a really good move for Mackenzie. Mackenzie > Thomas. For serious.

Gianna Isabella and Nick Fradiani
A Beautiful Life by Nick Fradiani

This reminded me of the end of a tv show graduation. And Gianna looked like she was the freshman standing next to senior Nick. She looked SO young. I think the keds were a bad idea. Heels would’ve helped age her up a little bit. She’s so goofy and cute but it does read so young.

I will say that JLo has a tell. And I could tell she’s already mentally voted Gianna off the show. “I’ve gotten rejections from so many other auditions” – hey Gianna, maybe don’t say that.

Avalon Young and Ruben Studdard
Flying Without Wings by Ruben Studdard

snooze andy cohen

I stand by my belief that Rubens victory song was one of the worst in the series. That said, they did a really good job. It was a little boring, I mean we’re at the 1.5 hour mark at this point, I needed something a little more upbeat – thought seeing the pairing I was pretty sure it’d be a smoother song. They were still really good. I didn’t really expect Avalon to go that way musically but it was a nice divergence.

James VIII and Caleb Johnson 
Give Me Shelter by The Rolling Stones

James was a really good guitar player next to Caleb singing the Stones. Maybe he should just leave the show and tour with Caleb? I think that’s a good idea. Do that Mr. VIIIth.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell and Scotty McCreery
Gone by Montgomery Gentry 

That was very country.

Jordan Sasser and Fantasia 
I Believe by Fantasia Barrino 

Um… you know, we all know my feelings on Jordan.

mckayla-maroney-not-impressed

And then FINALLY we got to who would stay and who would go! And I was actually really happy with who stayed. Sure, I wish Emily could’ve been a little better, but I think she earned her position. And I think that if there were an 8th person picked, it would’ve been her. I also really thought they’d keep Stephaney over Gianna. That was a bit of a shocker to me. And while originally I liked Gianna more, I think Stephaney would’ve been the better add.

SAFE: La’Porsha, Sonika, Avalon, Gianna, Jeneve, Thomas and Mackenzie.

OUT: James, Jordan, Emily, Stephaney and Jenna.

And just as a friendly reminder of who’s left to perform next week, we have: Jenn Blosil, Amelia Eisenhauer, Olivia Rox, Shelbie Z, Tristan McIntosh, Adam Lasher, Kory Wheeler, Lee Jean, Manny Torres, Trent Harmon and CJ Johnson (I bolded the 7 I hope stay in)

And the returning Idols will be: David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Constantine Maroulis, Kellie Pickler, Haley Reinhart and Jordin Sparks.

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American Idol – The First 12

Ok so first off lets address the elephant in the room… or should I say, the elephant that’s not in the room – the producers of American Idol.

Dearest Simon – What made you think that it was a good idea to not let America vote when it came to the Top 24? Did the judges really need another shot at narrowing the playing field before you let America get their hands on it? Sure, I get irritated with America sometimes when it picks the wrong person (don’t worry, I’m not getting political), but to not give us a right to vote until it’s time to get down to the Top 10?

rude

All I have to say is that the judges better do a better job than America in picking the Top 14, or I’m gonna be super pissed.

I mean voting is what draws us in! It’s what makes us care about the show! …which I guess is political because it’s the reason I think you should vote IRL. To care about America. Trust me. Start voting and paying attention and I guarantee you’ll understand the importance. But if you’re scared to vote… just start with Idol. You’l be voting for president in no time, I promise!

Ok so lets talk about the real reason we’re here. The judges! Oh sorry, I was still in “producer” mindset. I meant, The Contestants! I was wondering which 12 they’d pit up against each other and I was happy with this selection. Though I do think next week will be harder. I decided, so as not to be too mean, to try and say one thing I liked about the performance, and one thing I’d change (or straight up disliked).

Stephany Negrete – Mama Knows Best 

+ I LOVE her energy. I was thinking how the producers must be really obsessed with her to have her start out a show two weeks in a row – but when you watch her, you realize it has more to do with just getting people into the show! And I get that.

– What I wish she’d work on is her… a certain I don’t know what. She was just so close to a really good performance but it just lacked something for me. Mojo wasn’t it but I think it did have to do with connection.

And congrats on knowing all those languages.

Mackenzie Bourg – Say Something
+ He’s one of my favorite guys this season – which is saying A LOT because that’s a very short list this year. And what I thought would be a plus for him, ended up being what I didn’t like 😦
– Perfect song choice for him (I thought). I think not doing something “original” was probably a good idea. Do a crowd pleaser. Thing is though, this is def not as good as the original. And I’ve listened to the original a lot. It even came up in my FB “on this day” today. I saw a lot of people that really loved it, but I just wasn’t on that list today. I still hope he’s in for the guys tonight though.
Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 7.35.09 PM
Jeneve Rose – The Sad Animal Song aka Angel 
+ She basically plays every instrument. And harp is HARD! And how often are you seeing people singing while playing the harp? But I thought  the harp was a nice touch. I loved that Jen admitted she was the one not sure about her – SHOCKER. Glad Jeneve won her over.
– that 90s meets 1800s look. Not sure about that one. It was giving me Seinfeld puffy shirt flashbacks too (not necessarily a bad thing).
Jena Renae – My Church
+ Memorizes song lyrics easily? Me too! That’s probably going to a plus for her if she stays in this game, which I really hope she does. I think she had just as much energy as Stephaney and a better song (which I really liked – had to google and find out what it was).
– Her position in the competition! Sad face. I hope the judges remember her. I think if nothing else Keith will. Fingers crossed for my little dark horse!
James VIII – Love Lockdown
+ He’s got a nice smile and he seems really good at playing guitar…
– … in a bar. He seems like the guy I would see at This guy seems like the type that won’t make it through this week. But, Caleb made it through 2 years ago so anything is possible.
Sonika Vaid – Safe and Sound 
+ Plays by ear on piano? Talent. And with pitch like that, is it even surprising how well she takes to piano? She has, hands down, the best voice in this competition.
– She needs the energy of Stephaney or she’s going to be forgotten. You’re halfway there picking a t-swizzle song, but you’ll be all the way there if you can do an upbeat song. Just remember no one likes a ballad every single week.
ballads
Gianna Isabella – I Put a Spell on You
+ I do like her more than Tristan, but i think Tristan, unfortunately, is the better singer. This also made me notice that they separated a lot of the “similar” contestants. I think that’s very interesting as to how we’ll be shaping up the Top 14. I realize none of this is about Gianna but honestly, it’s because I already kind of forgot her performance. It’s not a good sign. The only thing I do remember…
– that last note wasn’t great.
Emily Brooke – I Am Invincible 
+ She’s really good at getting autographs.
– “That wasn’t the sweetest and most beautiful part of your voice” – jlo. I think that sums it up. Poor girl. Competition is hard.
Avalon Young – Love Yourself 
+ She’s proving she isn’t who I thought she was, and from this point forward, I will not call you “She’s All That” girl. I liked hearing “this is the only way i’m going out on this stage”. It means a lot to stay true to yourself. And your voice was wonderful. You made me not hate a Justin Beiber song.
– You picked a Justin Beiber song.
Jordan Sasser – All By Myself. 
+ I liked your haircut.
– I wish you were all by yourself, at your house, and not on American Idol. I think Harry could’ve stopped with “I didn’t like that”. I know, it’s rude, and this guy hasn’t done anything to me, but he’s also not going to do anything to me, to make me like him. Sorry friend.
Thomas Stringfellow – Creep
+ Far less hiccup noise making.
– Way too many swaybots. Le sigh…. what would Idol be without them?
LaPorsha Renae – Proud Mary
+ She loves a movie soundtrack – I agree. Much of my iPod is movie/musical related!
+ Her JJ key earring, which I’ve mentioned.
+ That she was the only one where I actually stopped writing and watched/jammed along with. #teamlaporsha
– It was a little karaoke. I saw proof of your originality in your first performance so I know it’s in there, but this was very straight forward. But I still loved it. Excellent work for your first almostlive show.
And now, since I’m already running late, let’s see who they keep!
For the record, the 5 I think (it’s a fine line) they say goodbye to are: Thomas (probably not gonna happen. I know, I live in a world of pipe dreams. It’s definitely not to Thomas), Jordan, Emily, James, and then I guess either Gianna or Jenna, in which case I’d hope Gianna. Jenna doesn’t have a quasi-famous mom to help her out.
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American Idol – And We Have a Contender!

Tonight felt like a really great episode. Maybe it’s because I watched it late and with fast forwarding through commercials the whole episode only took me about 20-25 minutes to watch. And the contestants were really good! In fact, I have my first Chorus Line moment of the season. I hope she gets it, god I hope she gets it. She being Jenna Renae and it being a spot on the live show! There were a lot of really good contestants though, most of which I’d be happy to see move on to the Top 24 (I have to imagine at least 3 will get in from this batch, that’s my guess). And in a suprise similarity to previous episodes, my top 3 this week are again, all females!

bitches get stuff done

And I do really hope that these ladies get stuff done because to be honest, I’m partial to a female winning the final season. It’s only right to bookend it with another Kelly. Or Carrie. Or even Fantasia. So anyway, lets talk about my Top 3 of the night, and then mention a few others:

Jenna Renae – 23 years old from Williamson, NY
Song: She Don’t Love You

Jenna was just wonderful. Her singing just completely drew me in. I also liked the note about how her parents used to listen to show tunes with her. It’s always a solid start to a musical background, no? I think it is as long as you aren’t too theatrical, which she definitely wasn’t. She was just the right amount of attention grabbing in a very good way. On the whole,

howitsdone

My second 2 are a tie. I really don’t know who I like better.

Emily Brooke – 16 year old from Wellington, FL
Song: Careless

Emily was great. I didn’t recognize her face but I did recognize her name and then when they flashed back to her audition last year I realized who she was. It’s amazing how different someone can look in just a year! Then, like I did with John Wayne from last episode, I re-listened to what I could find of her from last season and I have to say, you’ve come a long way (in a year) baby! Although her voice is just as good, she just seems more composed and more ready to take on the season. She’s still young, don’t get me wrong, but I do think there’s a big difference from a just barely 15 to an almost 17.

Amelia Eisenhauer – 15 year old from Nashville, TN
Song: Many Rivers to Cross

So the reason for my tie between Em and Am, is that Em has kind of already had her chance, while I think Am might be a little too young to get her first chance, as she is only 15 at of this moment. Well, as of the moment this was taped. She could be 18 by now for all I know. Either way though, she had an aggressiveness about her audition that really drew me to her. She seemed very… commanding. Which I think is rare for a young performer. It’s one of the reasons you don’t want a 15 year old on stage, but since she lacks that problem, I’m fine with moving her into my Top 3 position.

As for honorable mentions the only thing I can say is that I really liked Mackenzie Bourg‘s medley. I didn’t really like him, because to me he was just 1,800 other auditions I’ve seen. He didn’t really stand out to me beyond the excellent compilation of songs, which I still support him doing, just maybe not being the one who sings them. He was also kind of a whisperer, which I found very odd.

images

Some final thoughts:

  1. Ugh Clay Aiken – who knew you’d be on so much of the final season after all that hate you spewed about the show that made you a D-Lister… Was Aiken really the best that Idol could get for that job? I just feel like there are so many better options. But I guess the better people are busy with their better things. So I guess it makes sense. But to try and be Simon with that half-shirted guy? I mean come on. You are not, nor will you ever be, Simon Cowell.
  2. If I were handing out awards for make-overs, Adam Lasher would not be on my list. How did you go from cool rocker to looking like a crooner from the 30’s? It may be someones look, but it’s not mine. I say stick with the Santana vibe, personally (but again I go back to Brenda K. Starr’s offspring – if you have a famous parent/relative, why are you coming to Idol in the first place? I mean playing the nepotism card works pretty often.
    rudd-everytime
  3. Finally, of all the “tough decisions” the judges have had to make this season, none of which they’ve really even argued about – did you really have to use the blind guy are your example of good people who aren’t “good enough” when you keep every 15 year old who walks through the door? Mario, I think you were robbed! Sure you might not have made it to the live show, but you had more of a chance than a solid quarter of what I’ve seen go through.  And while I would be angry and need justification, I then remembered – didn’t this guy try out for The Glee Project? I feel like he was eliminated early from that too… so if Ryan Murphy didn’t think he’d succeed in that space, I’m ok with Idol not taking him.

And with that, we move on to tomorrow where we’ll have the LAST audition episode EVER for Idol. I wanted to make a bunch of “penultimate” references on here, because it’s a word I love, but Slezak used it in his headline and I didn’t wanna look like I was copying – so I’ll just say that I hope Slezak and I are just similarly minded. I mean, we definitely are. He just hasn’t noticed me yet… haha

crying rain

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