I’m back after a night off that week with a very good excuse – seeing the Carly Rae Jepsen concert in Los Angeles, of course!
As fun as that was, it did cause me to miss the chance to say goodbye to Jenn Blosil. I’ve never been more impressed with somebody’s audition than Jenn, and I thought she was the most exciting performer this season with the most talent and the biggest potential to be interesting each week.
She reminds of somebody that nobody will remember from this show – Lilly Scott. Lilly was a Season 9 contestant who played crazy instruments and had a very unique vibe. I looked forward every week to seeing her perform and couldn’t wait to see her on the live shows.
Here’s a little taste of how awesome Lilly was, playing a mandolin!
Then, somehow, she was gone. We got a little bit more Jenn than we got Lilly, but not by much. It’s a shame because Jenn was the most intriguing contestant this year and I really wanted to see what she’d do week-after-week, but it’s also kind of a good thing, because this year’s top ten really might be the deepest the show has ever had.
Almost every season, there’s a few in the top ten that I never want to see each week and this year, they’re either all good or I understand why they’re still around. And last night, they were all up to their billing. Well, almost all of them.
Dalton Rapattoni Sang “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Keith Said: I don’t think that was a great song for you.
J-Lo Said: You understand the art of the show.
Harry Said: This was the first time where you weren’t as present as you have been.
Dalton’s been making his name so far on two things: Smoke machines and re-working songs. Here he went so heavy on the smoke machines, that he completely forgot to rework the song as he pretty much matched the record.
He matched everywhere except for the quality of the vocals. Nobody is going to confuse LL with Steve Perry, but he at least has a solid rock voice. Dalton had a voice that would play poorly even at a high school musical audition as he was embarrassingly pitchy and just utterly weak the entire time.
I’ve never liked Dalton but never heard him deliver a truly bad vocal. Until now.
Lee Jean Sang “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon
Keith Said: I loved the fact that you tried something different, but I don’t think it was a great song for you.
J-Lo Said: I think you can go for things a little bit more.
Harry Said: I thought it was really smart.
Lee is so hard for me to put my finger on. One minute he’s a country kid, the next he’s a rhythmic singer without a strong voice, the next he’s an unspeakable Ed Sheeran disciple and then, last night, he goes electric and suddenly his voice sounds sweeter than it ever has and all the nerves that dogged him earlier seemed to disappear.
This could have been a turning point performance for Lee. I’d still like to hear a little more power from his vocals, but the power that he brought onto the stage, looking comfortable for the first time, more than made up for it. If he can tap a little deeper into his voice, he’s going to be very dangerous.
Sonika Vaid Sang “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
Keith Said: I wanted more attitude.
J-Lo Said: You gotta get lost in the character of what you’re doing.
Harry Said: I think it needed an extra lift.
Sonika has been absolutely spot on with the song choices and how she’s changing lanes but continuing to pick big-time singer’s songs. After some slowed-down ballads from incredible female vocalists, she takes on one of the greatest uptempo pop records of all-time but doesn’t sacrifice the ability to show off her unbelievable pipes.
There wasn’t really much to criticize with her performance – her vocal is flawless as always – but I do feel like there’s a little bit missing in terms of her really letting go and losing herself into this pop/rock anthem – she’s still a little stately. Sonika needs to go Sonika boom on something like this.
Mackenzie Bourg Sang “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
Keith Said: It was a really good song for you.
J-Lo Said: That switch-up really worked.
Harry Said: I thought it was fine, but I would have done more.
Yes, this is a little derivative of David Cook’s “Always Be My Baby” in that he turned a song by a member of the Holy Trinity into a pop/rock song – but that doesn’t make it much less clever. Mackenzie’s arrangement was fun and fresh and complimented his voice wonderfully – turning this exactly into the song that a wussy singer like him would record right now.
I still hate this kid and his glasses and most things about him, but I have to give respect where it’s due – and this was a very respectable effort.
La’Porsha Sang “Halo” by Beyonce
Keith Said: (unintelligible babbling)
J-Lo Said: You’re really the one to beat.
Harry Said: Every time you sing, I’m urged to consider the song from a new perspective.
I swear, every week La’Porsha is making everybody have to come and take the crown away from her, and I don’t know if anybody can.
Despite her vocal being a touch on the bright side, this was another stunning performance from La’Porsha in what came across like an absolute coronation of the greatest diva we’ve ever seen. She’s certainly not attained that status yet – but would anybody put it past her to eventually do that? I mean the a capella ending? Stupid good.
Trent Harmon Sang “When A Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge
Keith Said: Don’t let facial expression awareness get in the way of what you’re feeling.
J-Lo Said: All of it’s you. You’re amazing. I had a vision of you and La’Porsha at the end.
Harry Said: It’s a great improvement. I love you on high sustained notes.
It’s strange to feel like Trent got lost in the midst of the evening with such an accomplished vocal performance – but despite its stunning quality, I don’t know – it just didn’t seem like a standout.
I mean this guy hit some unreal notes. He sang like a gospel preacher mixed with a Vegas lounge act – and I swear that’s a compliment. The performance itself was just about damn near flawless.
Still – I forgot it almost five seconds later. I don’t understand it.
Tristan McIntosh Sang “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill
Keith Said: That’s a terrific song.
J-Lo Said: That’s the Tristan that America fell in love with.
Harry Said: You really are a country singer.
Tristan is getting stronger and stronger every week. As she gets away from over-twanging everything to force a country tone out of herself, and embracing a bit of blues in her voice instead, suddenly she’s become a great old-school country singer from a time back before every song had to be about beer and trucks.
This was a stunning and simple example of that, as she stripped down the song, sat at the piano and just sang her guts out in a way that formed an instant connection with the song. You could feel the evening on the prairie in her voice and wanted to see her singing to the stars – that’s real country music.
THE BOTTOM THREE
Avalon Young Sang “Earned It” by The Weeknd
Keith Said: You make it your own and that’s really clever.
J-Lo Said: That was what you needed to do.
Harry Said: You couldn’t have sung a better song at a better time.
Hey! It’s Avalon singing another song that deserved to win the Oscar over “The Writing’s On The Wall”, but I digress.
I just can’t say enough about how much I love Avalon. I love everything about effortless her flow is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody in the history of this show inject so much hip-hop flavor with such authenticity into their performances – she’s a total original on this show.
Plus, she has a remarkable voice. It’s not as big as La’Porsha’s or Sonika’s, but for what she wants to do, it’s exactly what it needs to be and I don’t think it could be any better. .
Olivia Rox “Trouble” by Pink
Keith Said: Your vocal range is insane.
J-Lo Said: Everything about it was the right thing.
Harry Said: I thought it was a great job and your performance was very energetic.
Olivia’s entire video package was dedicated to how sick she was this week, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody more clearly affected by their illness on their performance than Olivia was on this one. A lot of people have whined about being sick going into a performance, but usually they end up sounding absolutely the same.
Olivia sounded much rougher than normal, and I think it actually worked into her favor – for a grittier rock song like this, that sandpaper tone only served to enhance the song’s genre and made her sound more authentic.
She also managed to throw the sickness aside at times for an amazing Mariah-esque falsetto and a huge final note. She absolutely tore the teeth out of that song from about every direction.
Gianna Isabella Sang “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys
Keith Said: I wanted more feeling.
J-Lo Said: You have a truly blessed voice.
Harry Said: You really have an incredible vocal gift.
Gianna was far too pitchy on this and sang way too many unnecessary runs. The performance itself came off as forced and theatrical. It reminds me of the episode of “The Simpsons” with the dioramas – this doensn’t deserve to get through to the second round.
Result and Predictions:
Avalon is safe! I don’t expect that the judges and producers expected to have to make a call where Avalon would be considered this week, but Avalon absolutely crushed it on her save-me performance and that was really the only choice.
Gianna is gone, and whatever, she’s fifteen and her mom is a singer – she’ll be fine. The interesting exit is Olivia. I think Olivia is already a superstar. She’s got incredible vocal range, a great look and an amazing name. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if a record producer in LA snatches her up after this and turns her into a superstar – I think she has the best chance of a big career of the contestants this year.
As for next week, I have this weird feeling that Trent is going to end up in the bottom three because I just didn’t remember his performance. He’ll be joined there by Avalon (it’s going to be an uphill battle) and Dalton.
I can’t judge their performances, but something tells me the judges will not save Avalon again. What a shame.