AMERICAN IDOL Recap: Better Late Then Never!


It’s the final show before the finale week. I’ve run out of things to say.

McKenzie Bourg Sang “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Keith Said: That was just superb.
J-Lo Said: That was a really strong performance from you.
Harry Said:: It felt like you’ve come completely full circle.
The Verdict:
It’s strange to me how this song has become such a mainstay on this show. It’s a very tragic love song by one of the most tragic love song writers of all time and is further associated with tragedy as it was recorded by Jeff Buckley shortly before his death. Yet here it is on everybody’s favorite fan-friendly show!
MacKenzie tried to a do a very spare and haunting version of this with only his acoustic as accompaniment, but he failed a full execution of that goal due to a distracting amount of over-singing and over-emoting that took away from what should have been a very stark and beautiful performance.
He tried to show that less is more, but couldn’t take his own advice.
Grade: B-

Dalton Rapattoni Sang “Calling You” by Blue October
Keith Said: You did the best Daltonization of that song.
J-Lo Said: I felt a difference in the way you performed.
Harry Said:: I like the way you think about the words and the whole performance.
The Verdict:
Of course Dalton would do a Blue October song – it’s almost too satirically perfect for him not to do it.
I never thought it would be possible for me not to hate Dalton doing a Blue October song, but I didn’t hate this. There was a pleasant bit of honest energy in his performance that I haven’t seen in a few weeks and his voice actually sounded quite good.
Maybe I’m delusional. Maybe I’m just happy that he didn’t desecrate another classic.
Grade: C-

Trent Harmon Sang “Tennessee Whiskey” by George Jones
Keith Said: That was a bulls-eye.
J-Lo Said: It felt so easy-breezy.
Harry Said:: I thought it was a fantastic performance.
The Verdict:
Trent’s really proved that he’s the most accomplished performer throughout the course of this season, and it was so completely on display in this performance. I don’t know if there’s ever been anybody on the show who has been able to kill a vocal in so many different ways and with as much ease as Trent does.
Here, he combines country, soul and yacht rock into a blend smoother than the song’s eponymous beverage and stretches through about three octaves without ever breaking a vocal sweat. This guy’s a total pro in a competition for amateurs.
Grade: A-

La’Porsha Sang “Glory” by John Legend and Common
Keith Said: I feel like I just had a baptism.
J-Lo Said: Music heals the spirit.
Harry Said:: There is an incredible elegance and grace to you.
The Verdict:
This is such a perfect song choice for La’Porsha – the perfect song for a big soul singer to her to take to church and inject a helluva lot of emotion into.
Predictiably, La’Porsha did just that and built the song up perfectly into a crescendo that saw her blowing the seats out of the floor by the final note.
Grade: B+

Dalton Rapattoni Sang “Dancing In The Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
Keith Said: It’s about what you do that makes you individual.
J-Lo Said: There was something about it that felt fresh and new to me.
Harry Said:: It was a smart arrangement.
The Verdict:
No. Just no.
Grade: D

La’Porsha Sang “Stay With Me” Lorraine Ellison
Keith Said: Your vocal killed it.
J-Lo Said: You can sing the mess out of it.
Harry Said:: It was an amazing performance, but I didn’t feel like you meant it. (La’Porsha: “I don’t”)
The Verdict:
La’Porsha is still relatively young. She’s only in her early twenties. She’s certainly been through a lot in her life, but she’s still quite young.
That’s why it’s so remarkable to hear her come out and sing a song that’s fifty years old and sound like she was the original artist – like ‘Idol’ plugged in a tape from an old episode of “Midnight Special” in lieu of a La’Porsha performance.
Nope, it’s just all La’Porsha – as classic as the song she sang.
Grade: A

Trent Harmon Sang “Drink You Away” by Justin Timberlake
Keith Said: It was great.
J-Lo Said: That’s singing to win.
Harry Said:: When the background singers start clapping, that’s a really good sign.
The Verdict:
The brilliance of Trent is on full display tonight. First he tears up a country classic and feels totally natural. Then, he comes out, guitar in hand, and sings a Justin Timberlake song – and both fit so perfectly.
Yes, this is Timberlake’s nod to country music, but it’s worth pointing out just how much of a pure showman Harmon is and how fearless he is when it comes to taking on artists and their songs. He seems capable of anything.
Grade: A-

Dalton Rapattoni Sang “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
Keith Said: I would have taken the key up a little more.
J-Lo Said: I felt like the key could have been higher.
Harry Said:: This was not your strongest performance.
The Verdict:
This is a smart choice from the judges and Dalton did exactly what I expected him to do with it – turn it into a bastardized emo song that feels different but is really just a slight reworking of the melody sped up with some distorted guitar riffs, sung by a kid who can’t really sing.
Still, I think it was a good song choice – kind of sums up my feelings on Dalton right there.
Grade: C-

La’Porsha Sang “Hello” by Adele
Keith Said: It was beautiful.
J-Lo Said: It stretched your range a little bit. It’s nice to hear you reach.
Harry Said:: That’s beautiful.
The Verdict:
The judges posed a challenge to La’Porsha when they announced this song choice – they said they wanted to paint her into a corner with a song so popular she’d have no choice but to do something different with it.
La’Porsha didn’t take the bait – instead she sang the song almost note-for-note with the record. She injected a little more rock tone into than the stately Adele version, but it was basically a total karaoke rendition.
And nobody, not even La’Porsha, is going to look good trying to compete directly with Adele.
Grade: C+

Trent Harmon Sang “Waiting Game” by Parson James
Keith Said: It was beautiful to hear you sing that song tonight.
Harry Said:: It’s an honor to critique a guy like you.
The Verdict:
I have never heard this song before. I have never heard of Parson James before. As far as I’m concerned this was a Trent Harmon song. And it felt miraculously timeless. I wish I could own it.
Grade: A+

It just has to be Dalton, right? He was in the bottom two last night and that’s not his first trip to the danger zone in this year’s competition. I’m hoping America is as sick of him as I am.

(Yes, I know this is exactly what I wrote last week – but I’m writing it again)

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