Tonight’s American Idol was a game changer. Forget my power list from last week! There is a new world order afoot.
La’Porsha Renae was not her typical flawless self tonight. But I would by no means call either performance “weak.” I thought she pulled off “Wanted Dead or Alive” in the way Scott Borchetta was sure she wouldn’t. I believed that performance. But alas, she forgot a couple of words, and it took her a few beats to get back on track. She needed “Elastic Heart” to be an A+ performance, but due to a few odd stylistic choices and a delivery that was a little distracted at times, it was only an A- or B+. In this crucial week, she had to stay on top of her game.
Trent Harmon nabbed this season’s “steady grower” arc and has played it perfectly. The ones who are lauded for marked improvement, particularly if their hard work is congratulated, are often in the perfect position to knock front runners off of their perch. Trent turned in two STELLAR performances tonight. He played it perfect. He was a soulful swamp rat, full of swagger, in part one, but then turned right around to display a cerebral yet vulnerable sensitivity in part 2. That kind of versatility and range wins a singer the crown. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a cute boy.
Then bring on Dalton Rapattoni. NOT the best singer by a long shot. He takes wearing his heart on his sleeve to a whole new level. He’s a theatrical entertainer who knows how to play to the the studio and home viewers alike. He’s not a guy who holds back. He’s popular because he knows how to connect to an audience. I liked the simplicity of “God Only Knows” more than “Bird Set Free.” But that’s my personal preference. It was obvious Dalton made an impact tonight.
I’ve been predicting MacKenzie Bourg would win American Idol, and now I wonder what on earth I was thinking. To be honest, after I posted last week’s power list, I regretted ranking him second. I think Trent had already eclipsed him by last week. Other than a handful of performances, particularly the original song he sang earlier in the season, MacKenzie has been emotionally flat. His voice lacks the dynamic range to make an impact, especially with a full band behind him. Based on performances, I think he deserves to go home this week. And he might! But uggggh. Girls on Idol are graded by a different standard. A C night of songs from MacKenzie could very well trump an A- night from La’Porsha. That’s just how it works in singing competition land. Working in La’Porsha’s favor: Although Scott continues to be less than enthusiastic about La’Porsha, the judges still gave her high marks this week, not even pointing out her lyric flub.
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