As much as American Idol has tweaked its format, the dreadful duets are still a part of the competition. Duets that don’t count, don’t stand out, really shouldn’t have a place in the show. But hey, there’s time to fill, ads to sell. The reason why the contestants are paired up is due to a flaw in the concept, which should’ve been dealt with long ago, but here we are, in season 15.
Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban don’t expect much, either. Harry’s dressed like a funeral home doorman, Jennifer looks like she planned to go to the beach instead of the judges table, and Keith, well, Keith always looks great. He just needs to put on a T-shirt with a few smudges, so you don’t know where his shirt ends and his tattoos begin.
That said, the first couple of the night, La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon, does a great job singing ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth. A wise choice, to put these two together to open the show, since they’re considered – at least by me – to become the winner and runner-up of Idol XV. Following them, are Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid, with ‘Rise Up’ by Andra Day. They’re great singers, but good voices need to be pushed by strong personalities and conviction. Young and Vaid aren’t the worst ones by a landslide; Dalton Rapattoni and Mackenzie Bourg take on ‘I Want It That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys, one of the most meaningless songs in music history. They try to wink their way through it, but it’s a disaster; they have no idea what they’re singing about. Lee Jean and Tristan McIntosh are even worse, having picked ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ by Aerosmith. It’s one of those pies you take out of the oven too early and it just completely collapses. Like Harry said, Lee should’ve played guitar and keep it small. They were way too opportunistic about it and we got karaoke.
Then it’s time for the 5 people who are definitely safe, to sing. You thought Aerosmith makes a great rock version out of The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’? Think again. La’Porsha Renae has got something in store for you. Commanding the stage in a leather outfit, she tears up the whole place. As powerful as all of her performances are, there’s always such heart in them. She’s got the perfect combination of diva, theatre, grandeur and emotion. So much so, I can’t wait for her to sing the next James Bond theme song.
Beautiful Eleanor Stands By Me With A Broken Wing
Mackenzie Bourg is next, singing ‘You Are So Beautiful’ by Joe Cocker. It’s nice. Violins. Piano. Basically repeating the title of the song over and over, for 90 seconds. Not exactly sensational, but alright. After Nick Fradiani plugs his new single ‘Get You Home’, Trent Harmon takes the stage. He picked what must be the most covered song of all time, ‘Stand By Me’. I like the edge that Harmon puts in his songs, but this is such a mellow, toothless tune, it’s a little bit of a letdown. Tristian McIntosh sings ‘A Broken Wing’ by Martina McBride. Wheelhouse. Tailor made. The last one in the safety zone: Dalton Rapattoni. He goths up The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’. It’s a good song choice, well done theatricality, but his voice barely matches the intensity of the music.
Pretty Young Be Nothing
That means Lee Jean, Avalon Young and her roommate Sonika Vaid are in the Bottom 3. Young’s up first, just like last week. Her version of Michael Jackson’s ‘P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)’ is fine. Lee Jean sings another Beatles song, ‘Let It Be’. Similar to Bourg’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’; not bad, not great. Sonika Vaid’s version of ‘I Have Nothing’ by Whitney Houston is great. And despite her obviously fake reactions to the audience, she deserves to stay. The judges save her – it wasn’t a hard choice – and we’re rapidly moving towards the end now. Only 6 contestants remain. 5 episodes to go. In just 4 weeks time, the 15th Idol will be crowned. And her name shall start with La.