I don’t speak sports or basketball, but American Idol is exactly what I need to bring the madness to my March. (Actually, my madness was brought back in February, when Adam Lasher was axed, but with a few more years of counseling, I should be over it.) We are only two weeks away from the grand finale, and we’ve yet to have a Pia Toscano/Chris Daughtry-sized upset with eliminations this season. (I think the multiple “judges’ saves’ might have something to do with that.)Â This week we go from five to four, with a double-header. If thereâ€™s any justice to the show that built so many musical careers, Sonika Vaid will be shown the door.
Round One finds our contestants teaming up with Steven Van Zant, for a take on a classic rock song. Oh great, heavy metal. (I grew up on classic country and teenybopper pop, so any music not in my wheelhouse I refer to as â€˜heavy metal.â€™) Round Two, the Final Four will team up with Sia, to take on a song from her catalog, complete with a face-to-face (she showed them her face!) mentoring session.
LAâ€™PORSHA RENAE- ROUND ONE: The first to break through to the next round is Laâ€™Porsha, who just said no to the â€˜fro this week, and endured 14/15 hours of hair therapy for a new look. I think she looks amazing, and as long as her talent wasnâ€™t hidden in her giant hair, the image shift wonâ€™t matter. I actually like that she waited this long to try a new look. She brings us Bon Joviâ€™s â€œWanted Dead or Aliveâ€ (thatâ€™s now considered classic rock?) and itâ€™s a home run. Keith appreciates the â€œblues undertonesâ€ and the â€œsoulâ€ and â€œswaggerâ€ she brought to the number. Jennifer thinks she has an â€œundeniableâ€ voice that â€œcould sing the phone book.â€ (Wait, they still make phone books??) Harry notices that she has slowed down her vibrato, and calls that a â€œreally crazy skill.â€ ROUND TWO: Laâ€™Porsha stretches her vocals on Siaâ€™s â€œElastic Heartâ€ for her second song. J.Lo has a flashback to Hollywood week, where she says Laâ€™Porsha flew under the radar. Wait, what? Of all the places Laâ€™Porsha might have flown in life, I would say under the radar on season 15 of American Idol would NOT be one. Harry compares her performances to that of a NASCAR driver, with him riding in the passenger seat. Keith feels like he just watched Laâ€™Porsha perform her nominated song at an awards show.
MacKENZIE BOURG- ROUND ONE: MacKenzie slows down Cheap Trickâ€™s â€œI Want You to Want Meâ€, and doesnâ€™t quite live up to its name for the judges. Jennifer thinks he definitely â€œMacKenziedâ€ the number, but it â€œwasnâ€™t the best.â€ (Jennifer blanking on Steven Van Zantâ€™s name, having to be rescued by Harry is a highlight of the night for me.) Harry thinks itâ€™s just â€œalrightâ€ while Keith â€œhated the arrangement.â€ (I would like to have a sit-down with Keith and talk about this unnecessary hate is putting into the universe we all have to live in.) ROUND TWO: MacKenzie chooses the David Guetta song â€œTitanium,â€ written by Sia. Harry gives what I feel is his most unpleasant critique of the season. While he claims â€œit was nice,â€ his tone seems anything but. (I think maybe I could make a career out of judging judges on reality TV.) Keith feels the song is â€œreally beautifulâ€ and J.Lo offers up a little hope by saying â€œAt the end of the day, weâ€™re all rooting for you.â€
GUEST PERFORMANCES- Season Seven winner, David Cook, returns to the Idol stage to perform his own â€œHeartbeatâ€ song. As he sings, there is a video montage of all previous 14 winners being crowned. With all the hoopla of the â€œfarewell season,â€ it hasnâ€™t really felt like the end for me. Until now. This performance gave the â€œitâ€™s almost overâ€ goosies for the first time this season. Katharine McPhee may have lost the Idol title to Taylor Hicks (I know, who?) back in Season Five, but that didnâ€™t dim her star potential. After building an impressive resume in the acting world, where she currently stars on CBS show Scorpion, Kat comes home to Idol for a return performance to her chill-inducing version of â€œOver the Rainbow.â€ (Um, is that a lost verse she began the song with?) She seems to have been drinking from the fountain of Electric Youth, because she looks as young and beautiful as she did back in the day. We get a sweet moment when Ryan Seacrest invites a â€œsuperfanâ€ member of production out to meet Katharine, and it melts my heart.Â Sia takes the stage for a half-faced (literally) performance of her song, “Cheap Thrills.â€ I honestly didnâ€™t have that high of an opinion of Sia prior to this episode, but I really enjoyed her personality and seeing her mentor the contestants. I think I finally get what sheâ€™s about, and I enjoy her.
TRENT HARMON- ROUND ONE: Trent brings ZZ Topâ€™s â€œSharp Dressed Manâ€ to the stage, and I never knew of a sharp dressed man that tucked his tie into his pants. Is this aÂ trend I missed? I know we are a little behind the times sometimes here in Kansas, but seriously, did I miss this memo?? The â€œcrazy faceâ€ has returned, and I feel like I am just missing something about him. The judges swoon (once again) over this performance that leaves me wanting to say Simon Cowellesque comments. (Iâ€™m making my fingers refrain from being too negative.) Harry thinks itâ€™s â€œbrilliantâ€ and â€œso, so smartâ€ and Keith thinks itâ€™s â€œso freaking good,â€ and gives it â€œ10 out of 10.â€ Jennifer feels itâ€™s the performance â€œeverybody was waiting for.â€ (Um, I wasnâ€™t, Jenny.) ROUND TWO: Trent decides to descend from the rafters to swing from Siaâ€™s â€œChandelierâ€ for his second song, and itâ€™s more of the same for both me and the judges. Keith calls it â€œexquisiteâ€ and Harry declares it â€œphenomenalâ€ and gives it “100 out of 100.” (Which is the same as 10 out of 10, of course.) Itâ€™s probably a good thing this is the last season of Idol, because maybe I have no business reviewing a musical reality show, because I just donâ€™t get him. I won’t deny his excellent voice, but as our next American Idol, I just can’t. (Or as the teens are saying these days, I literally can’t even.)
With the first three through to the next round, that leaves us Dalton and Sonika in the bottom two. This is where I am expecting the upset of the season, with Dalton getting the combat boot. Thankfully, my vision is foggy, and Sonika is eliminated.
DALTON RAPATTONI- ROUND ONE: Dalton first brings us â€œGod Only Knowsâ€ by the Beach Boys, and if the Beach Boys are considered classic rock, then maybe I do like heavy metal. Keith thinks itâ€™s â€œso good that you chose that song,â€ and Jennifer believes he â€œreally won with that moment.â€ Harry drops words like â€œmelodicallyâ€ and â€œharmonically,â€ and Iâ€™m over here like â€œI like your beanie, Dalton.â€ ROUND TWO: Dalton really lets himself fly on Siaâ€™s â€œBird Set Free,â€ and it seems to be a brilliant move. I think he knows his voice canâ€™t really compare to Laâ€™Porsha or even Trent, so he plays it up with dramatic performances, and I think it works.
What did YOU think? Comment below, or tweet me at @jimbob90210 and let me know what you thought! I leave you with this performance of “Heartbeat” by David Cook, because the end is near, my friends!
American Idol Season 15 Episode 20 Review: "Top 4 Perform"
The four remaining contestants perform for the judges.