Producer’s Choice: American Idol Top 8 Revealed

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 10: L-R: Top 10 contestants La'Porsha Renae, MacKenzie Bourg, Tristan McIntosh, Trent Harmon, Olivia Rox, Gianna Isabella, Sonika Vaid, (L-R Front Row) Dalton Rapattoni, Avalon Young and Lee Jean on AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, Feb. 25 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX. This image is embargoed until Thursday, Feb. 25,10:00PM PT / 1:00AM ET

Tonight was the night that America finally had a real say in who moved forward in the competition. Last week the Idol Top 10 was announced and each contestant sang for viewer votes. Before tonight, all of us suckers thought our vote was actually going to count for something. On the show (tonight) it was announced that instead of actually cutting the bottom two like they said earlier, they were going with a bottom three format and then allowing the judges to save one person. I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in the complete lack of integrity, producer bias in the judging or the way they act like we don’t notice any of these last-minute format changes that seem to be on the fly.

Ok, wait, one more point I have to make is slightly off topic but sort of relevant. Watching these kids perform tonight made me more frustrated with the direction the network seems to be going with this child entertainer genre. Watching some of the vocals tonight reminded me once again that these are young kids! They are 15-year-old kids and they haven’t been in love or felt adult feelings yet. They can hit the notes, sure, but there is nothing behind the notes. To think that the kids that are 15 don’t have enough life experience to make me appreciate their vocals makes me cringe at the idea that next, Fox wants us to watch 8-year-old kids dance with grown people. Where are we going with this? Cooking shows with kids is one thing but asking them to perform emotional songs or routines with feeling and soul behind their technique is too much!

Stepping down from my soapbox.

In order of performance, the top seven vote-getters were revealed as follows:

Dalton Rapattoni – I was excited to see what Dalton was going to do with Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. He drew a lot of attention during the audition weeks with his song arrangements but has fallen off the last two weeks. I don’t know who is feeding him advice but the Dalton we liked early on was much cooler. His performance tonight was fine but he didn’t really play with the song at all and it became less than memorable. He got the hole-shot tonight so he must be in trouble with someone. Judges were lukewarm at best.

Oh…wait, Harry did say that Dalton reminded him of Billy Joe Armstrong. Really, tonight he noticed that?

Lee Jean (who apparently dropped the Jr.) was up next which didn’t really surprise me but I was surprised to learn that back home, Lee is known as the Ed Sheehan kid. I joke…that doesn’t surprise me either. My favorite part of Lee’s prep video was watching a bunch of stiff, nerdy looking grown-ups sit in a room and tell Lee what to do. His performance was different tonight but I wouldn’t say I loved it. He did Use Somebody by Kings of Leon and the room full of nerds must have told him to fling his guitar and prance around the stage. That threw me off because it isn’t Lee’s style and I don’t know why anyone would tell him to do that. His vocal felt young and his inability to tell the producers no forced him to have to act goofy on stage. I felt bad for him because I think when he grows up he’s going to be a cool artist.

At this point, I realized how thankful I am that they don’t do those stupid group numbers anymore!

Sonika Vaid was up next talking about channeling her inner Sasha Fierce. I’m glad she is doing that because she needed to channel someone to make her more interesting (on stage – I’m sure she’s a lovely person). Sonika tackled the Queen herself Kelly Clarkson’s Since You’ve Been Gone and she didn’t really have the crazy girlfriend vibe that the song needed but, again, she hit most of the notes. In an actual surprise twist, the judges threw a little shade saying that she wasn’t in her alter ego enough and she didn’t appear as an authentic crazy girl for the song. Ok, my words not theirs but you get the idea.

At this point, I was reminiscing about how the Idol producers used to let the contestants have their own personality and stay in their own interesting lanes instead of trying to overcook their performances and distract us with background singers, flashy stages, goofy choreography and digital fodder. Remember Crystal Bowersox and that instrument and the carpet? That was cool…

MacKenzie Bourg was safe next and I would personally like to thank America for not ruining the entire show for me. I was scared out of my mind when I saw that MacKenzie was doing I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston. On paper, this seemed like the most career crushing song choice. Even hearing Scott Borchetta and the room full of old guys tell him it was cool didn’t calm my nerves. (it did make me laugh, though) He took it down slow and the judges were smiling a lot and I think, hopefully, and without jinxing him, he will be safe next week. I still think he is one of the most authentic artists left in the competition.

La’Porsha Renae introduced us to Cocomo (the Afro) and I love this girl more each week. In her prep video La’Porsha talked of how nobody has touched her hair in 22 years other than her mother. Then she knocked us over with black Cocomo! I don’t know if this is permanent but wow! Anyway, after all that she sang and she did her thing like she does. I HATED the production of this song, with the angel wings and the background business but I loved ‘Porsha and I’m pretty sure she’ll be fine unless she does something to annoy the producers and they have to change the rules next week.

No way, Harry has a new show coming out in the Fall. Quick plug after his performance. I skipped this part because I’m all about the contestants. I did take a moment to remember how much cooler Jimmy Iovine was and how his performances were so much better and less “antic” filled.

Trent Harmon came out tonight looking really dapper and I liked his whole new self (even though I just said I wish they would leave them alone). In his case, the little bit of polish somehow made him a better, more controlled singer tonight and I thought he was the best of the bunch. I do cringe at When a Man Loves a Woman because seriously…how many times have we heard it? But he didn’t do weird faces and he controlled his intonations and he killed it tonight. I hope he is safe because we are actually here to watch a singing competition and Trent is a really good singer when all his bad habits are in check. He did look really sad at the end…why so blue?

The last person safe to the top eight was Tristan McIntosh and this sort of made me want to throw things because that meant that my previously chosen one #ORox was in the bottom three. The frustrating thing about Tristan is that she is a really, really good singer but not all the time and most certainly not in the last three weeks on the big stage. She hasn’t been that good since the audition rounds and has been given a lot of passes. This week she sat down at the piano and did Go Rest High on that Mountain by Vince Gill and was flawless. Seems a little too lucky that she would be safe just in time to have one of her best performances to date. Too much is fishy with the producers and Tristan and I want to love her like I did the first time we saw her but Idol is ruining their own story with this one.

So our bottom three vote getters are Avalon Young, Olivia Rox and Gianna Isabella. This isn’t a huge surprise but I did absolutely not expect to see Olivia in the bottom three after Tristan’s performance last week!

Avalon is up first doing a song that she feels more comfortable with, which in turn gives her more swag. She covered Earned It by The Weeknd and she wore make-up and she said #onfleek which is one of those things the kids say that I don’t understand. Her performance was good but I feel like they are again forcing her to do and be things she isn’t and that whole clash of personality thing distracts from my appreciation of her music. She mentioned reading too much in the media about her look and how hard it was to stay true. For the record, I have no issue with the whole no make-up thing. I probably have no issue with her own personal wardrobe choices but I don’t like when the Idol fashion team tries to fake down-swag her. It’s weird.

My girl, Olivia Rox is up next and poor thing was in the hospital and battling some serious flu complications. No wonder she was less than stellar last week but no excuse. I blame you America for this one. (ok, truth, I didn’t vote but I was in Disneyland) I’m sorry Olivia!! Her performance was better than I expected when I heard she was doing Trouble by Pink. Olivia can work a stage in that weird way that Taylor Swift does without it looking completely fake and out of her zone. I thought she earned her spot back, especially since I had her pegged for a finale level finish.

Last performance of the night was Gianna Isabella and she looked beautiful tonight but honestly, I almost didn’t recognize her either Harry! She had a mature look and calm to her tonight, almost like a young Mariah on stage. Her song choice was If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys and this was the song where I realized how awkward it is to watch kids with no life experience try to give authentic, emotional performances. She did hit every note and she looked beautiful but there was no soul to her performance. Maybe they should stop letting them choose songs with a need for an emotional delivery. I can’t remember what the judges said because I just wrote that their comments were complete bulls%*t. (I also said that a lot tonight)

In the end, the judges saved Avalon, which I don’t understand. As far as marketability, Olivia is already there. She is young and spunky but also mature enough to pull both adults and teens. She stayed true to herself (still rocking that pink) and I thought had the best performance of the three tonight and last week. I don’t get it. But there are so many things I don’t get this year. Let’s talk some more about Kelly Clarkson.

Next week the top eight take the stage and we again lose two at some point during the two hours. I won’t go into the format because, as we are learning, they are just sort of making it up as we go.

My prediction for next week, maybe Dalton, Avalon and Lee are in trouble and Dalton gets the save.




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