Forgive me for my confusion, but what the heck just happened? We started the night with 13 contestants and I expected 13 performances, but instead, the judges fast-tracked four contestants straight to the Top-10, but only if they all three had unanimously agreed on that person. So. Um. What if Keith, Harry, and J-Lo had been unanimous on 8 contestants? Would we have only watched four perform? This …is not quite American Idol, but I guess it’s OK, because it’s the final season and why not go for broke? It’s not like anyone watching will turn off their TV in disgust based on changing the route to the Top-12 or Top-10. We’re all heavily invested if we’ve made it these 15 years, already.

So, as I said, first, the judges unanimously put Dalton, La’Porscha Renae, Trent, and Olivia into the Top-10, and off they went to the side. Then everyone else started singing. Let’s talk about that.

First up was Manny Torres who I guess had to sing his best song from the first couple of weeks, and how much does that suck? For him, it sucked bad because he had to sing Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” again which the judges, and me, told him was a bad choice, and they got to tell him again. Manny is a charismatic, charming singer with a unique and powerful voice, but Stevie Wonder he is not. What will we do with him? Me? I voted for him. I used the Super Vote. I think I voted a billion times.

Then came The-Daughter-of-Brenda-K-Starr (aka Giana Isabella) and she has, I think, is the best female voice in the competition with the most potential. Oh, J-Lo said the same thing. I love Tristan (you’ll see in a few minutes), but she’s the whole package …the look …the smile …the voice. But Giana has a superior voice and I’d like to see how her voice grows as she ages. She might not win, but I could see her having a recording career after this. Actually, I could see, if she doesn’t make the Top-5, I could see J-Lo taking her under her wing and producing an album for her.

Thomas Stringfellow pulled no punches and he pandered to his base (hey, I’m using political buzzwords because we’re in a presidential year). He looks like a kid who could be in a boy-band, so he went with One Direction’s “Story of My Life.” Now, now, now …pipe down One Direction fans. I know One Direction doesn’t consider themselves a boy-band, and their fans don’t think of them that way, and I guess the reason is because One Direction doesn’t have highly choreographed dance numbers at their shows. But to my eye, they are pretty, they are boys, and they sing pop songs that show up on my Top-40 radio station and are anthems of Middle School dances, and Daddy-Daughter dances, everywhere. It’s cheese. And Thomas is “cheese” and got scolded for his falsetto and faking his voice breaking too much. Give ‘m hell, Harry. Thomas is nice to look at, doesn’t suck, but he’s more style than substance.

Tristan McIntosh sang Rascal Flatts What Hurts the Most, and I have a theory. This show is 15 years old. Tristan is 15 years old. See where I’m going with this? No, of course you don’t. She was created in a lab. A government lab. Is that her “real mom” or is it her custodian? Idol knew, eventually, they’d need another megastar and they created Tristan (and probably 40 other Tristans, all slightly modified) in a laboratory so she’d eventually emerge as the greatest ever. It all makes sense (unless you ask how they knew this show would be as big as it became and then would last exactly fifteen years and be slumping and would need another Underwood or Clarkson). My theory includes time travel and a large, tightly secured building somewhere in the Bahamas and hundreds of 12, 13, 14, and 15-year-olds with perfect smiles, beautiful faces, and angelic voices wait for their spot.

Avalon Young doesn’t want to be here, or she might not care and won’t try because she’s just coasting along, singing songs she likes, in her own way, and as beautiful and unique as her voice is, she picks songs that, well, I could sing. Then again, she’s being true to herself and if that doesn’t get her votes, so be it. Probably the right move. She looked a little cleaned up, last night.

Anyone who knows me and has been reading my recaps for the last decade, well they know I love Cindy Lauper’s “True Colors” and think it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written, so it’s hard to screw up. Jen Blosil didn’t screw it up. Far from it. She’s quirky but, oh, hey, so was Cindy Lauper, but the voice …the sincerity …Jen’s crazy appearance contrasted with the quiet, shyness of that song …I agree with Harry. It was gorgeous. Actually, Harry called it “flawless.”

Lee Jean sang Ed Sheeran’s “Make it Rain” and it’s safe, as they say. He sounds like Ed Sheeran. It wasn’t a “wow” performance, but he hit all his notes. I would say he’s in trouble. He’s not spectacular in any way.

Sonika Vaid‘s cover of Celine Dion’s “I Surrender”  suffered from the same damage that everyone suffers from when they tackle the untouchables – Celine, Aretha, Whitney, Mariah – she leaves us a wee bit underwhelmed. Maybe my soundbar isn’t calibrated right, but I didn’t love it nearly as much as J-Lo.

I hoped it would take a bit longer for Jeneve Rose Mitchell to be overtaken by the size of this stage and the professionalism of some of these stage kids and their stage moms and dads. She’s getting swallowed up because she lacks experience (performing on stage in front of audiences) and if she truly lives a electricity-free life most of the time, she hasn’t seen enough Grammy’s, MTV Music Awards, or enough concerts to get a feel for how to act like the persona she’s created (which she didn’t fabricate, she’s just who she is). If she sticks with this singing thing, she’s got a shot. She’s immensely talented. She’d be a real threat if there was an American Idol Season 17 or 18.

MacKenzie Bourg went back to his original composition, “Roses”, that so impressed the judges during Hollywood Week. Brilliant move, but he was never that good before or since. Until last night, when he was amazing again. That song, whether he wins Idol or not, will be a radio hit. He might not be a future signature vocalist, but a songwriter he might be.

I have to predict six of these. Hmmm. I’ll go with MacKenzie, Tristan, Jeneve Rose Mitchell (because Country always gives people an edge), Sonika Vaid, Manny, Gianna. But I could see Manny and Jeneve not getting enough votes based on last night’s performance alone and boy-band-pretty-boy Thomas Stringfellow and quirky Jen Blosil taking their spots.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow night. I thank you for reading. See  you tomorrow.



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