Last night, American Idol revealed the top 10 finalists. On Wednesday, four got a fast pass to the top ten, while the remaining six had to sing for America’s vote. It was a night where the Idols reminded fans why they loved them.
Thursday’s live show started with host Ryan Seacrest announcing the six finalists to join Trent Harmon, La’Porsha Renae, Olivia Rox, and Dalton Rapattoni as one of the top 10 finalists. The additional finalists were Tristan McIntosh, Sonika Vaid, Gianna Isabella, Mackenzie Bourg, Avalon Young, and Lee Jean.
The four cut tonight were Manny Torres, Jeneve Mitchell, Thomas Stringfellow, and Jenn Blosil.
After the cuts, Kelly Clarkson joined judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and Jennifer Lopez at the judges’ table. The American Idols then began performing.
“Unconditionally” by Katy Perry
Judges’ Comments: Keith said that Olivia needs to work on loosening up more but it was great. Jennifer agreed with Keith, and she really liked the arrangement. Kelly said that the beginning was so, so good. Harry said that Olivia did everything that she needed to do.
Our Impressions: Olivia sang the best we have heard her sing on American Idol. She finally showed more emotions than just happy. It was a more theatrical performance which made it work. The arrangement at the beginning of Olivia’s version of “Unconditionally” is really what made it work the best.
“Listen” by Beyoncé
Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said that it was not Gianna’s best performance. She said that parts sounded great. Gianna needs to pick songs that work for all her vocal strengths. Kelly said that she hit the notes but it didn’t quite work. She told Gianna to just “let go.” It was very good for a fifteen-year-old. Harry said that it felt very arranged. It felt too rehearsed. It needed more emotion. Keith said that she just needs to believe in herself.
Our Impressions: Beyoncé is a vocal beast, so it is really risky to even try to enter her league. Gianna did the best that she could possibly do with that song. It was better than we expected, but definitely not a great performance.
“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver
Judges’ Comments: Kelly said that she likes that Lee sticks with what he likes. However, she said that a lot of the other contestants really want to win so they’re going to “blow it” every time. It’s cool that he founds his niche. Harry said that Mackenzie and Lee are sort of similar so that might be something to concern him. Harry said that he can’t see him singing outside of his genre, so he needs to focus more on pitch. Keith said that Lee tells a story well. He needs to pick a song to make him feel vulnerable. Jennifer said that he needs to pick songs that make his performances more impactful.
Our Impressions: One of the reasons “Skinny Love” is so beautiful is the haunting quality which Bon Iver sings the song. So as a personal preference, we didn’t enjoy Lee’s arrangement changes.
“Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
Judges’ Comments: Harry said that Avalon is really cool. However, this performance fell flat. He doesn’t think that this is the best song for her. Keith said that you can feel Avalon’s nerves at the beginning. He said that she needed to pick it up at the beginning. Jennifer said that she agrees. The song didn’t work for Avalon as well as some of her other performances. However, she said Avalon pulled it together at the end. Kelly said that Avalon is so captivating that she doesn’t like the artists that Avalon sings, but she loves the songs when Avalon sings them.
Our Impressions: We adore Avalon but this wasn’t her strongest performance. She got better as the song progressed. We really enjoyed the chorus and the end of the song, but the beginning of it was inconsistent.
“Hey There Delilah” by Plain White Ts
Judges’ Comments: Keith said that it was really cool. Jennifer said that she likes that Dalton is the really cool rock artist with heart. Kelly said that he is really comfortable. She said that Dalton shows artistry with each performance. Harry said that he is batting a 1000.
Our Impressions: Dalton gave us extreme Green Day vibes during this performance. It was more of what we expected from Dalton when we first saw him, which made this performance a little disappointing. We wanted something a little more unique with it, but as a rock performance, it really worked.
“Nothin’ Like You” by Dan and Shay
Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said that it wasn’t the strongest performance Tristan could give but she blamed her age. Tristan needs to find the right song to match her comfort level. Kelly said that she needs to find her message. She also said that Tristan needs to find a song that she feels. Harry said that she needs to find more songs with crossover appeal. Keith said that “Nothin’ Like You” is a hard song to sing. Tristan needs to work on her pitch.
Our Impressions: Tristan had some really great vocal moments on this song. However, she still had the same problems: she looks uncomfortable and sometimes she mumbles her words. Tristan’s performances also lack a little focus when she aimed for those high notes.
“I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran
Judges’ Comments: Kelly said that he knows exactly where Mackenzie wants to go as an artist. She is excited to hear his future music career. Harry said that Mackenzie is a compelling artist. Keith said that playing a guitar gave him comfort. He pulled them in. Jennifer said that she is curious to see how Mackenzie changes songs up as he progresses in the competition.
Our Impressions: Mackenzie is definitely keeping his spot as one of the frontrunners after his performance of “I See Fire.” He makes really smart song choices that work for his voice and connects with the audience.
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
Judges’ Comments: Harry didn’t get to give La’Porsha a critique because everyone in the studio went so wild with cheers and applause. Kelly said that if she was La’Porsha, she would just say “you’re welcome” every time she sang. Jennifer said that it is La’Porsha’s control that gets everyone going crazy. Keith said what she gave the audience was so beautiful.
Our Impressions: La’Porsha stole the show last night. She sounded gorgeous on “Diamonds,” and she did a lot of runs but they worked so well with this performance. They were not overdone.
“Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence
Judges’ Comments: Keith said that it was a killer song choice for Sonika. It played to her strengths. Jennifer said that Sonika is dangerous. If she keeps letting go, she can win it. Kelly said that Sonika is never pitchy and that’s an amazing accomplishment. Kelly said following La’ Porsha made her fight for it more. Harry said that he loves the way Sonika sang the song and the passion she gave to the performance.
Our Impressions: Last night we complained a little about Sonika being a great vocalist but an almost forgetful performer. Yeah…she shut us up tonight. Sonika gave the second best performance of the night.
“Like I Can” by Sam Smith
Judges’ Comments: Jennifer said that Trent’s voice is so unique. She said it wasn’t all perfect but he’s amazing. Kelly said that Trent’s voice is so unique and natural. Harry said that it was fantastic but he needs to make sure to hit all of the runs. He thought that Trent hit all of them tonight. Keith said that he wish La’Porsha started the show because everyone after her rose to the occasion.
Our Impressions: Trent sounded a little breathy during his performance of “Like I Can.” It wasn’t the right key for his voice. However, he definitely gave a performance that kept us entertained.