‘American Idol’ 2016 Recap: Group 1 Duets-12 Become 7

Idol-Mackenzie and Lauren

Last night, American Idol continued week one of the top 24 semifinals. We saw twelve hopefuls sing with six of the American Idol legends. The returning Idols included Nick Fradiani, Scott McCreery, and Fantasia.

It wasn’t the best way to showcase the new Idol hopefuls. However, it provided a good dose of nostalgia for Idol fans. After the duets, American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. had to make a series of tough cuts.

The first half of the final 24 American Idol contestants went from 12 to 7.

Emily Brooke and Lauren Alaina

“Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood

Judges’ Comments: Harry said that you can tell the difference in ages. He prefers when Emily sings more under produced songs. Keith said that Emily held her own against Lauren, but it wasn’t the right song for her. Jennifer said that she has potential to become a Lauren Alaina but needs more experience.

Our Impressions: Emily harmonized with Lauren well. She had some strong moments during the performances, but Lauren’s vocals overshadowed Emily’s vocals a bit.

Thomas Stringfellow and Nick Fradiani

“Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson

Judges’ Comments: Keith said that Thomas struggled doing that version. Jennifer said it didn’t feel quite right for him. Harry said it wasn’t his best performance, but he did great last night so he will focus on that performance.

Our Impressions: Thomas clearly looked nervous during his performance. He got a bit better as the song progressed.

Stephany Negrete and Ruben Studdard

“Superstar” by The Carpenters

Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said that their voices blended well together. She said it was really beautiful. Harry said there was some note issues, but the emotional stuff trumped it. Keith said that Ruben brought out the best in her.

Our Impressions: Stephany also got a little overshadowed by Ruben. Her performance was better than it has been in the past. It was one of Stephany’s best performances.

Sonika Vaid and Caleb Johnson

“Skyfall” by Adele

Judges’ Comments: Harry said that Sonika has a lot of potential. She really held her own. Keith said that they sounded great together. It was a really good performance. Jennifer said that Sonika needs to loosen up.

Our Impressions: Sonika showed a bit of maturity in her voice that we haven’t heard in the past. The chorus wasn’t powerful enough though. Otherwise, it was a really good performance from Sonika.

Jenna Renae and Scotty McCreery 

“See You Tonight” by Scotty McCreery

Judges’ Comments: Keith said it was a hard performance to critique because it is Scott’s song. He called Jenna’s voice “lovely.” Jennifer agreed with Keith about the dynamic being hard to judge. She said that Jenna did the best she could do with it. Harry said it was an entertaining performance.

Our Impressions: Jenna did not really get a chance to shine during the chorus section of the song. However, she got a few moments during the overall performance. It just didn’t feel memorable enough. Jenna needed a song that played more to her strengths.

Fantasia and La’Porsha Renae

“Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald

Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said it really showcased how great she is. Harry said he liked how it turned into a battle of runs. Keith said it was the best vocally matched duet.

Our Impressions: La’Porsha had one too many runs. We love La’Porsha’s voice and just wanted to hear more of it during the melody.

Mackenzie Bourg and Lauren Alaina

“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

Judges’ Comments: Harry said it was sweet and a nice duet. He preferred his performance from last night. Keith said that he loves what Mackenzie does with songs. Jennifer said it felt mismatched but worked for them. It was a nice performance.

Our Impressions: It was a more sleepy performance from Mackenzie but he did a good job of giving it enough twists to make it his own.

Gianna Isabella and Nick Fradiani

“Beautiful Life” by Nick Fradiani

Judges’ Comments: Keith said it was good. Jennifer said it was the perfect song for both of them. Harry said that he is still trying to figure out Gianna.

Our Impressions: The song didn’t fit Gianna at all. She seems very uncomfortable with the song.

Avalon Young and Ruben Studdard

“Flying Without Wings” by Ruben Studdard

Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said it was incredible. It felt like a duet. Avalon said that she is really likable. He said that she has a nice package as a performer. Keith said that she held her own.

Our Impressions: Avalon sounded pretty good on “Flying Without Wings.” However, she didn’t get enough moments to really shine.

James VIII and Caleb Johnson

“Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones

Judges’ Comments: Harry said he did a pretty good job hanging with Caleb. Keith said that he liked the way he performed. Jennifer said that Caleb and James complimented each other.

Our Impressions: James really got underperformed during “Gimme Shelter.” He seemed more like a background singer during it.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell and Scott McCreery

“Gone” by Montgomery Gentry

Judges’ Comments: Keith said that the song didn’t work for Jeneve. Harry said that she is really unique. He said that it was a little bizarre. Jennifer said her singing quality is really special.

Our Impressions: We may be in the minority but we actually really enjoyed Jeneve’s performance. Her singing really worked on this song.

Jordan Sasser and Fantasia

“I Believe” by Fantasia

Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said that he did a good job. He held his own. Harry said to work on not trying to upstage the person standing next to you on stage. Keith said that he needed to center it more.

Our Impressions: Jordan continues to sing a bit too theatrical for our taste. The song fit his performance style well.

Advanced: La’ Porsha Sonika Avalon Gianna Thomas Mackenzie Jeneve

Eliminated: James VIII Jenna Emily Stephany Jordan

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