Before we get too far into analyzing the performances on Thursday night’s new episode of “American Idol,” can we just stop to take a deep breath and mention how much we love Kelly Clarkson as a judge? She is bringing it for all of these contestants, and doing it in a wide array of different ways. She was honest, frank, funny, and it really made us wish that she had this job at some point before now. It’s a shame that due to her pregnancy, this is probably the only time we’re going to be seeing her this season.
Olivia Rox, “Unconditionally” – A nice start to the show. This started off a little softer in the beginning, but that gave it somewhere to build and some interesting places to go. We like that Olivia chose something that is not only current, but reasonably popular, for the first spot.
Gianna Isabella, “Listen” – We’re a little shocked that she is in the top 10, honestly. Her voice has moments, but it just doesn’t feel like there is any connection to the lyrics. She feels very stiff, like she is still trying to focus on getting the lyrics right.
Lee Jean, “Skinny Love” – We do like this performance, but let’s be honest: Who else really enjoyed this performance more because of the Chris Medina cameo? This is a very deep reference to bring back a guy who didn’t even make it on the live show during Jennifer Lopez’s first season.
Avalon Young, “Stitches” – Like with Olivia, we dig that she chose a song that was very current and young viewers out there with the free time to vote with know. The downside is that this didn’t do much for her voice or some of the soulful parts of her personality.
Dalton Rapattoni, “Hey There Delilah” – Maybe the rearrangement here will be controversial, but to be honest, we liked this a lot more than we did the original version of the song. It had some energy and stood out.
Tristan McIntosh, “Nothin Like You” – We’re not familiar with the show, but it was … decent? That’s what we have felt about most of her performances. She has talent, but there has always been something reasonably-intangible missing.
MacKenzie Bourg, “I See Fire” – Sure, it didn’t rise to the level of what we saw with “Roses” last night, but it was still solid. The problem MacKenzie faces is that he’s such a singer / songwriter guy that after you see him perform his own songs, it’s hard to go back to covers.
La’Porsha Renae, “Diamonds” – AWESOME. This is the sort of performance that will make her a winner this season. Her voice has always been incredible, but what she did here was prove that she can also put a stamp on a song.
Sonika Vaid, “Bring Me To Life” – Yes, THIS is the sort of performance that we have been wanting to see from Sonika for a long time on this show. The emotional connection was there, but so was the power and the range.
Trent Harmon, “Like I Can” – Were we incredibly impressed by Trent’ vocal chops tonight? It wasn’t perfect in terms of the key, but we would at least say that we enjoyed the arrangement of the song and some of the lower notes. We still think he and La’Porsha will be the final two this season.
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