I’m not sure where to begin with American Idol tonight. So many things were packed into this two-hour spectacle that it’s hard to know just how to put them all into words. Let’s start with the shocking results for a change! In a twist that Shondaland couldn’t top, the darling of Season 15 and early frontrunner for the crown was sent home tonight. Tristan McIntosh, who made us all cry during her audition when her military mom made a surprise appearance, was not saved by the judges. Instead, they chose the shy, often pitchy Sonika Vaid to move on to the Top 5. Let’s face it, both girls had their moments but I honestly thought Tristan won the battle tonight and this made me scream at my television for totally new reasons.
I’ll only briefly rant about Ryan mentioning to America, in case we have forgotten, that Tristan is only 15 years old. Yes, Ryan, we know because that is what we’ve been complaining about all season. Both Tristan and Lee were good singers for being 15 years old but neither of them were ready for the competition. Sadly, several older, more seasoned contestants were passed over in favor of the kids. Maybe Fox needed Twitter followers or someone to teach them how to use Periscope. I don’t know but the kid experiment didn’t work really well for anyone.
The night started off with a shot of Adam Lambert doing his Season 8 performance of Mad World, or wait is that then or now? I’m confused. No, it was then. Flash to Ryan in the crowd and Adam is on stage to perform a new version of Mad World. I loved having Adam on the show tonight because I didn’t truly appreciate him when he was on earlier. I was a Kris Allen fan and Adam’s antics didn’t amuse me. But he has grown into a force and he was that and more tonight. Unfortunately, the opener was brief. Don’t worry, he’ll be back.
Another big surprise of the night was the announcement that the judge’s save was still in play. America still didn’t have the final say but I think this horse is dead and buried by now. No need to lament the loss of America’s choice in the American Idol competition. Ryan promised no more saves after this week so I’m going to hold him to that.
In order of being safe, tonight’s performances went like this:
Trent Harmon, first safe, first to see a montage of hometown shout-outs. Is this because we don’t have time for hometown visits in our abbreviated time here? The song America chose for Trent was horrible and if you chose that song, you should be ashamed of yourself. Trent screeched and twisted and tried to make a performance out of Counting Stars by One Republic but I think Trent went first because they were all hoping we would forget that performance. Judges noted that they weren’t quite sure what was going on and neither was I!
Dalton Rapattoni was up next with Numb by Linkin Park. His hometown shout-out wins my award for most adorable. His grandma and her beauty shop buddies all told Dalton to get home, but only after he was the next American Idol. He might be home soon Grammy. I had a lot of trouble with this performance as well because I didn’t even recognize the song. I like when he mixes things up but not this much. Extra points for the green backlighting for St. Patty’s Day.
La’Porsha Renae came out looking beautiful, like Mother Earth according to Harry. Her song, chosen by America, was Ready for Love by India Arie and it was a typical La’Porsha performance. And by typical I mean she is the only one with a voice that is really strong enough to win. Not to say she will but her voice is gold.
Quick time-out for some Ford advertising and a yoga class and then an awesome performance by Jussie Smollett and Yazz from Empire. This was smokin’ hot even though I think it might have been pre-recorded and maybe lip synced. Cute boys and dancers are some of my favorite things.
My boy MacKenzie Bourg was the last one safe for the night and he did a very confusing version of Cat Stevens’ Wild World. I wasn’t a fan of MacKenzie doing up-temp0 only because it didn’t feel like him in this song. Keith suggested that MacKenzie was like cake batter – even when it’s not cooked it’s still really, really good. I have no idea what that means but #MacAttack is safe and there is another round of singing. Oh, and whoever is trying to do his hair, please stop. He needs his hair to look naturally messy, not Dalton spiky. There is a difference.
Bottom two were not surprisingly Sonika, who sang Let it Go in a mad-frantic in front a wind-machine sort of way, and Tristan. I thought Tristan’s rendition of Independence Day by Martina McBride was actually pretty good but the judges said she was a one trick pony after telling her to stick to her lane for weeks. So all the rumor mills were wrong today and Sonika moves on to the Top 5.
To wrap up the first half, I’d like to know how America chose those songs. Was there a tally? Ryan asked Scott Borchetta how the songs were chosen and his answer reminded me a little bit of a Trump speech. In other words, he talked for a minute or two and in the end I still had no idea what he was saying.
Round two was sort of depressing but the performances were so completely better than the first half. I think we’ll go 1-10 ratings on this part just for fun.
Dalton was up first and his opening package was a telling of his struggles with bi-polar disorder. I’m happy that he could share his story with viewers but this was a really dark story. His second song was The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel and the good Dalton showed up to perform tonight. First song (5) Second song (8).
Adam Lambert debuted his new single Welcome to the Show featuring Laleh and it was awesome. Long story, moving on.
MacKenzie was up next and his very sad story was that he almost died from congestive heart failure. These are not light-hearted stories at all. His twist on Billie Jean by Michael Jackson was almost as great as David Cook’s version. I like these kids best when they are in their element and don’t look like people messed with them. This was pure MacKenzie and I loved it. First song (7) Second song (9).
Did I mention the stories were super sad? Trent shared a story about a special guitar that he owned that he had designed with his best friend who passed away on the day the guitar arrived in the mail. Even though I like the cleaned-up, dapper Trent, he doesn’t seem to be himself so I was so happy to see the real Trent back on stage with his hat. Tonight he did Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd and it was magic. He put his southern spin on it and it was pure and this was the best Trent has been in weeks. First song (4) Second song (9.5).
Sonika had no sad story so her intro was about her nerves and her journey on Idol. Maybe they thought she was leaving so they didn’t dig very deep because her package felt a lot like a clip reel. She performed Clarity by Zedd and it made me angry. She is trying so hard that she is losing herself and what she is really all about and that’s my least favorite part about Idol. I just couldn’t with this performance. Harry said she was a really nice person. What does that have to do with a singing competition? Anyway, First song (5) Second song (3).
I knew, with the direction of the night, that La’Porsha would make me cry. She fell in love with a bad man and lost herself in his abusive behavior. Her performance of No More Drama by Mary J. Blige was everything. For all the talk of feeling the lyrics and putting emotion into them, this girl ran the class. By the end she was crying and Jenny was crying and everyone was feeling the strength of this girl. I don’t think Idol could orchestrate this moment, it was real. First song (9) Second song (10).
The thing I like most about Idol is when they are allowed to be themselves and perform how they want. That’s what we’re here for and what we crave. Only then do real emotions come out. Just a thought on a deep night.
No more save next week so we’ll see what happens when America might finally be in control.