The farewell season of “American Idol” saw the Top 14 finalists hit the stage Wednesday night to fight for a spot in the Top 10. And right out of the gate, the judges gave four contestants an edge by sending them straight to the next round without having to contend for America’s votes. This gives America the advantage of knowing who the “Idol” judges favor, which is not always a good thing when it comes to the voting public, where underdogs can often get the contrarian or sympathy vote. So who got the judges’ “fast passes”?
The Los Angeles Times recapped Wednesday’s show February 25, found calling the four-person elimination round the “Wildcard Round” a bit confusing, and noted that the show was rather “tame.” A fair assessment in that the four “American Idol” finalists given “fast passes” — Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon and La’Porsha Renae — were also the this season’s most dynamic singers — to some degree. What is fascinating is that Sonika Vaid, the contestant Jennifer Lopez said could win it all after she auditioned, and Tristan Macintosh, who has wowed the judges for most of the singing competition, were not in the four chosen. And Trent Harmon could have been traded out for Lee Jean, MacKenzie Bourg, or Thomas Stringfellow.
But, as noted, now America knows who the judges will ooh-and-ah over for the rest of the season. Truthfully, the last few shows have probably primed America for or against what seems to be a judges push to put Dalton Rapattoni and La’Porsha Renae (or is it Olivia Rox?) in the Season 15 finale.
The hands-down best performance of the night went MacKenzie Bourg, who performed his own composition, “Roses.” “American Idol” judge Keith Urban, no amateur at songwriting himself, loved it and called it a “great song.”
Other notable performances were Tristan Macintosh’s rendition of Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts The Most,” Lee Jean’s cover of Ed Sheehan’s “Make It Rain,” Sonika Vaid’s version of Celine Dion’s “I Surrender,” and Gianna Isabella’s soulful twist on Screaming’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You.”
There were three performances that just didn’t seem to make it. Manny Torres was given the death spot, starting off as the first singer. Even worse, he chose (the song topic for the week was “Favorite Moment” from the show) to perform Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” It was just a hint above karaoke. Jeneve Rose Mitchell gave a meandering ballad-like turn to Johnny Cash’s classic “Ring Of Fire,” which was definitely the wrong turn to take. And so-called heartthrob Thomas Stringfellow delivered One Direction’s “Story Of My Life” with that quirky squeak after nearly every line, prompting judge Harry Connick Jr. to explain the difference between “unique” vocals and a “bad habit.”
The other two “American Idol” finalists did well but maybe not well enough. The starry-eyed (and bedazzled eye-browed) Jenn Blosil did a great job with Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” And Avalon Young did a nice version of Chris Brown’s “Yo (Excuse Me Miss).” Whether or not the songs were good enough to get them into the Top 10 remains to be seen.
So who will be eliminated? Most likely Manny Torres, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Thomas Stringfellow, and Jenn Blosil. But its the first elimination show where the viewers vote, so, except for the four who got “fast passes” from the “Idol” judges, it could be another four. Still, it’s probably safe to say Jeneve Rose Mitchell and Jenn Blosil, due to their quirky mannerisms, will likely not make the Top 10.
“American Idol” returns on Thursday night to eliminate four finalists and reveal the Season 15 Top 10. Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson will be on hand as guest judge and to also perform her hit “Piece By Piece.”