Itâ€™s the final night the American Idol judges will have any say in who stays and who goes, as the control is handed over to us and our votes beginning next week. Â Itâ€™s a round of â€œfuture Idols meet Idol starsâ€ for the last half of the elite top 24, and after a â€œtwilight zoneâ€ night of solo performances, we can only hope the seasoned vets bring out the best in the newbies.
AMELIA EISENHAUER AND SEASON 5 STANDOUT KELLIE PICKLER: If Kellie Pickler ever gets her own reality show, I vow toÂ watch every second. (Weâ€™re gonna not mention that she actually already has/had one on CMT called â€œI Love Kellie Pickler,â€ because even though I do, I somehow managed to miss seeing it?) The self-proclaimed â€œantique Idolâ€ won Americaâ€™s heart 10 years ago, and itâ€™s refreshing to still see her small town girl charm. Amelia and Kellie deliver Sara Evansâ€™ â€œSuds in the Bucketâ€ (a song Kellie performed her original season) and itâ€™s hard to say what brings Amelia to life on stage more, the fiddle or the Pickler? Harry calls the number â€œabsolutely terrificâ€ and J.Lo feels Kellie was the â€œperfect mentorâ€ for Amelia.
I can already tell what Iâ€™m not going to like about the all-star duets: the forced banter between Idols past and Idols present backstage after each performance, just before we cut to commercial break.
KORY WHEELER AND SEASON 10 3RD PLACE HALEY REINHART: True confessions of an Idol fanâ€¦ I remember liking Haley on her season, but I wasnâ€™t sure I watched her entire show, because I donâ€™t remember much about her. I had to conduct some investigative research (aka google) to find out she finished third behind Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. I did in fact watch that entire season, she just didnâ€™t stand out that much to me, I suppose. Sheâ€™s trying to make up for lost time with her â€œall eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a Circusâ€ getup, though. She and Olâ€™ Blue Eyes Wheeler perform â€œBennie and the Jets,â€ and Iâ€™m not feeling it. Keith thinks the two were â€œmatched up really, really wellâ€ and Harry says weâ€™re â€œtwo for twoâ€ so far.
LEE JEAN AND SEASON 5 4th PLACE CHRIS DAUGHTRY: I canâ€™t let the fact go that Chris Daughtry just confused the â€œrunning manâ€ with the â€œRoger Rabbitâ€ while trying to break it down. (I just cried into the hair of my Corn Silk Cabbage Patch Kid.) The duo performs Daughtryâ€™s hit â€œHome,â€ which could be considered a pretty bold move, considering Iâ€™m pretty sure it was an official Idol exit anthem one year. I feel that Chris carried Lee through the entire number, but Jennifer is left â€œspeechlessâ€ and has trouble completing a thought. (Paula Abdul’s Coca Cola cup, again???) Harry thinks itâ€™s â€œpassionate but very controlledâ€ and Keith loves the â€œstoryteller qualityâ€ that was brought to the stage with it. Keith also marvels in the fact that itâ€™s an â€œoriginal song written by someone who came from American Idol.â€
CJ JOHNSON AND SEASON 7 WINNER DAVID COOK: I guess when you win the title of American Idol, you can get away with chewing gum during performances such as this. David and CJ bring to life â€œThe World I Knowâ€ by Collective Soul, which happens to be the last song performed in the competition by David during his season. Harry knows it sounds clichÃ©, but likes that their â€œvoices blend really well together.â€ Jennifer gets a rare boo from the audience, and Harry compares that to â€œseeing a unicornâ€ and decides to â€œboo those boos!â€
MANNY TORRES AND SEASON 6 WINNER JORDIN SPARKS: Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that Manny attended one of Tyra Banksâ€™ Top Model makeovers, and had that beard glued to his face? Manny is worried about ditching the fun side for an emotional side on a version of Jordinâ€™s own â€œNo Air.â€ Itâ€™s a daring, but completely smart, move. Harry thinks Manny has â€œcharisma that canâ€™t be forced.â€ The highlight for me was Jordin Sparks talking about little Ryan Seacrest.
JENN BLOSIL AND SEASON 4 6th PLACE CONSTANTINE MAROULIS: Itâ€™s my girl Jenn and the smoldering smize of Constantine. When I see that the two will be performing â€œMy Funny Valentineâ€ all I can think is this: When Bad Songs Happen to Good People. I like how Jenn sounds, but the song does nothing for me. Luckily, itâ€™s another case of Jimmie Donâ€™t Know Best, as the duo receive a standing ovation from Keith. Jennifer thinks itâ€™s the â€œembodiment of the perfect duetâ€ and Keith â€œfrickin/freakin loved it.â€ (Itâ€™s hard to tell, with the sweet Aussie accent and all.) Harry thinks it was somewhat of a shouting match, but I donâ€™t frickin/freakin care.
TRISTAN McINTOSH AND KELLIE PICKLER: During the mentor session, Kellie proclaims that she believes Tristan â€œhas what it takes to go all the way.â€ This seems like a perfect match up on paper, and when I find out the two will be performing Kellieâ€™s â€œBest Days of Your Life,â€ I think it will be a highlight of the night. Next to Kellie, Tristan just appears lost and uncomfortable. I want it to work so badly, and I am so disappointed that it doesnâ€™t. Harry says itâ€™s â€œpretty darn good,â€ but I donâ€™t think heâ€™s even convincing himself. Keith thinks itâ€™s â€œshaky, pitch wiseâ€ and Jennifer loves her, but thinks her â€œyouth and inexperienceâ€ showed performing next to the former Sonic carhop.
OLIVIA ROX AND DAVID COOK: Having been only 9 years old when Cook beat Archuleta for the Idol crown, itâ€™s a pinch-worthy moment for Olivia. The two sing Davidâ€™s â€œLight Onâ€ and Keith lets Olivia know â€œitâ€™s high praise to get high praiseâ€ from the original artist. The judges love it so much, they pretty much tell her sheâ€™s through to the next round without actually telling her.
ADAM LASHER AND HALEY REINHART: The Idol of my dreams meets the Idol of my nearly forgotten memories. Fitting that the two sing â€œCanâ€™t Help Falling in Love,â€ as that was the tune I was singing last season when we first met Adam Lasher. (Smitten I am, I tell you.) I love everything about this, from Adamâ€™s little Joker smirk to the sweet looks the two deliver to each other. (I think I would be OK if they started dating. As long as I could be the 3rd wheel.) Jennifer thinks itâ€™s â€œvery strongâ€ and Harry thinks itâ€™s â€œlovely.â€ Keith, however, wants to get on my bad side apparently, and â€œkept waitingâ€ for Adam to â€œloosen up.â€
DALTON RAPATTONI AND CHRIS DAUGHTRY: These two search for â€œHigher Groundâ€ on the Stevie Wonder number, and itâ€™s clear Chris has the stronger vocals, but performance wise, I think Dalton held his own next to the Idol legend. (I like how dramatic it sounds to use the word â€˜legend.â€™) Chris Daughtry is presented with a plaque that boasts 8 million albums and 16 million singles sold; not too shabby for someone who didnâ€™t even win the competition, but placed fourth, no less. Harry says thatâ€™s why heâ€™s â€œhonored to be a judge,â€ to be part of a show that â€œbreeds such talent.â€
TRENT HARMON AND JORDIN SPARKS: The duo bring us â€œTo Love Somebodyâ€ by the Bee Gees, and Jordinâ€™s biggest advice to Trent is to control hi vibrato. (I wish she would have mentioned something about the over the top facial expressions, too.) The judges eat every bit of the performance up, and practically hand him a key to the top ten. (Letâ€™s just pretend such a thing exists.) Jennifer thinks thatâ€™s the Trent she â€œknows and loves.â€
SHELBIE Z AND CONSTANTINE MAROULIS: The good news? Ms. Z has ditched the microphone scarf. The bad news? Sheâ€™s now wearing a necklace that taunts me with her name. (PLEASE, JUST TELL ME YOUR LAST NAME ALREADY, Z GAL!!) For reasons we may never know, Shelbie and Constantine choose â€œBohemian Rhapsodyâ€ as their duet, but maybe thatâ€™s just because nothing really matters. The judges arenâ€™t having any of it: Jennifer thinks she â€œlost Shelbieâ€ in the number, while Harry thinks there was no â€œpoint of view.â€
After this last round of 12 have given all theyâ€™ve got in a duet with a former Idol, itâ€™s the end of the road for five, as only seven will live to see the next round and sing for Americaâ€™s vote.
The Idols surviving are Leeâ€¦ Oliviaâ€¦ Jenn (YES!)â€¦ Daltonâ€¦ Mannyâ€¦ Tristanâ€¦ and Trent.
(Excuse me while I pull this random hammer out of the center of my television screen. And excuse me for what I might write from here on out, as Iâ€™m currently blacked out and in denial at what I will now forever refer to as The Great American Idol Robbery of Adam Lasher 2016. Makes me wanna curse, real bad. I am giving this episode a 5 star review for Adam Lasher, and Adam Lasher alone.)
NEXT WEEK! The microphone drops into our court, Americaâ€¦ and itâ€™s our turn to play judge. (One week too late, b-words.) For the love of Jenn Blosil, I will continue on this alleged farewell journey, but I plan on a lengthy depression. (At least until February 26th, when Fuller House premieres.)
American Idol Season 15 Episode 14:
Fan favorites Constantine Maroulis, Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, David Cook and Haley Reinhart return to mentor the contestants and perform; the judges determine which contestants will be eliminated.