American Idol: Season 15, Episodes 15 & 16

If you thought American Idol was finally going to give the public the power to express their feelings about the contestants, you were only half-right. With 14 hopefuls remaining, this week the batch had to be cut down to the Top 10, and judges Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban already made a selection for us.

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Episode 15
From 14 to 10 in just a couple of hours. The judges had picked 4 contestants for us, although all 14 had rehearsed a song for this night. Why keep them in the dark until the last moment? Just to get their reactions on camera? Due to the short show; no time for 14 songs? Probably a little of both. The jury reveal their choices for the Top 10: Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon and La’Porsha Renae. I agree for 3/4.

Bottle Episode
The left over 10 sing their favorite songs from the competition so far. Another odd decision. They all give good performances, but why rehash what they’d already done? I surely hope they won’t have to do it again in one of the live shows, like they usually do. If Idol were scripted (and, by the way, who said it isn’t?), this would be called a ‘bottle episode’. No new songs, no guests, no eliminations, no drama, no surprises.

Episode 16
Fortunately, Idol takes a ruthless revenge on itself, the day after. Cutting down the field to 10 isn’t the main course. It actually goes by rather early and quickly. Manny Torres, Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn Blosil and Jeneve Rose Mitchell are out. If it shows one thing, it’s America doesn’t appreciate off-beatness as much as I’d hoped. Jenn and Jeneve deserved a place in the Top 10. O well, there can only be one winner anyway. La’Porsha Renae. Did I just say La’Porsha Renae? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Shaky, Melodramatic, Stiff
So, the eliminations are taken off stage, Kelly Clarkson joins the judges and then we’ve still got an hour and a half to go. The Top 10 is going to perform, but why? Apparently, next week two of them are going to be sent home, and the voting has already started. It’s time for the contestants to bring their A game. Olivia Rox must have the worst taste in music of all potential Idols. This week she’s singing ‘Unconditionally’ by Katy Perry. It doesn’t get more melodramatic than this. Gianna Isabella’s showing once more that she doesn’t belong here. Jennifer calls her performance shaky. I’d call it all over the place. Lee Jean does, well, Lee Jean. Playing and singing flawlessly, but it’s starting to get a bit stiff. Man. Guitar. We get it. Hopefully he’ll incorporate a bit more ‘show’ in the weeks to come.

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#TEAMLAPORSHA
Avalon Young has a similar problem. Like Jean, you know what you’re going to get with her, and it’s good. Nice. But it’s not enough. Dalton Rapattoni comes out swinging, like the one man Green Day that he is. Also, even though the judges wouldn’t quite agree with me, Tristan McIntosh does a great job. I finally know, now she’s got her hair straightened, who she reminds me of. Amy Santiago. Mackenzie Bourg decided to do another Ed Sheeran tune, and anyone doing an Ed Sheeran tune doesn’t get my vote, period. But then, the real contenders show up. Starting with an amazing performance by La’Porsha Renae. Now, that is floodgate material right there. She’s got the ability to pour her heart and soul into the lyrics. I dare you to keep a dry face when you watch her.

Emotional As Ever
It’s hard to follow Powerhouse Renae, but Sonika Vaid tries and succeeds. She’s a bit too mesmerised by the cameras, circling around her, but other than that, she does a fine job. Closer of the night is Trent Harmon, who naturally draws you in. He and Dalton are singing in a different league, what the men are concerned. You know what you’re going to get with Lee Jean, Mackenzie Bourg, Dalton Rapattoni and Trent Harmon, but the difference is, what you’re getting with the latter two is surprise, instead of the same old thing slightly altered. After Kelly Clarkson has been an absolutely great and delightful guest-judge, she has the final say, with her song ‘Piece by Piece’. If you had any tears left in the tank, you don’t anymore. American Idol proves it may soon be television-retired, but the show’s as energized, highly moving and emotional as ever.

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