Tonight, the American Idol 2019 Top 5 perform three songs. One is from the Elton John catalog, another is chosen by in-house mentor Bobby Bones, and yet another is Hero mom dedication.
American Idol continues to broadcast LIVE coast to coast. Viewers across the US will watch and vote simultaneously. At the end of the episode, TWO contestants will be eliminated. The finale three will head to the finale.
Here is how to VOTE. Y’all can start voting AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW:
Song Spoilers below!
Host Ryan Seacrest wishes all the moms Happy Mothers Day.
Bobby Bones picks kick off the show.
Wade Cota – You Are The Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne – Wade didn’t like the pick at first, but now he thinks it could be his best so far. Hm. This song seems right in his wheelhouse. It appears that Wade has found his mojo. He’s finally comfortable on stage. I can’t wrap my head around his gravel. But he sings with feeling, and finally some confidence! Katy is “so happy” that contestants are pushed past their comfort zones. “You met that challenge.” Katy wants him to let go even more. Luke likes that he didn’t over do it “very easy to listen to,” he says. Lionel says, “Just enjoy this ride…relax a little.” Wade admits to Ryan that he was “upset” when he first heard the song pick. He had already done a LaMontagne song, he didn’t want to do another. What?
Laci Kaye Booth – The House that Built Me by Miranda Lambert – This song reminds Laci of her own home. “This is her sound, her story,” says Bobby. This song IS perfect for Laci. However, her performance feels a little low-key rather than deeply emotional. The band is too loud! A stripped back version would have suited Laci better. I wonder if she’s still feeling under the weather. Luke is glad they saved her. “You give us soulful, you give us style, grace and beauty,” says Luke. He thinks it’s her best. “That song fit you perfectly,” says Lionel. “Keep focused on what you are about.” Katy says, “Keep turning it up a notch…you just took so many changes with your vocals. Take more chances.” Laci felt blessed after she was served. She took Lionel’s advice to concentrate on being herself.
Alejandro Aranda – No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley and the Wailers – Alejandro changes the verse melody quite a bit. Wailers fans may not love this, because it loses much of the reggae feel. The chorus, however, is very recognizable. He’s found a good compromise between the beloved original and his own style. By the end of the performance, he sold me. Lionel says, “You understand what it is to be an artist. You have taken a Bob Marley and turned it into Alejandro.” Katy thinks she saw Alejandro step into the power in real time. She thinks he’s finally taking himself seriously. Luke says, “You commanded that vocal…you are going to change music.”
Laine Hardy – Can’t You See by the Marshall Tucker Band – Laine is DELIGHTED with the song pick. Bobby wants him to lean into it, vocally. The band arrangement feels a little Vegasy to me. But vocally, Laine sounds terrific. He brings confidence and grit to the performance. My only complaint–he could dig into the song even more. But it’s a fine rendition. Katy says, “Let’s pretend that you don’t win this show.” She wants to see his fight even more. She says his guitar is his girlfriend, “Treat her good.” Uhm. OK. Luke likes the band arrangement. Katy throws her pony in Luke’s face. Lionel says, “Give us attitude.” He’s right. The basic building blocks are there. Just give us more.
Madison VanDenburg – What About Us by Pink – Bobby coaches her in channeling emotion. He rightly notes that she holds back sometimes. Letting go could take Madison to the next level, he says. STAAHPPP SMILING. Her vocal as impeccable as ever. She let loose some on the bridge, she’s hitting those high notes, but emotionally she’s not there yet. She thinks too much when she sings. Luke notes that she interacts with the audience more. “Keep digging,” he says. Lionel says, “17 and ready for showtime.” Katy says, “It’s happening to you right now. You showed us at the end of the song was some crazy musical talent.” Bring it out in the first 30 seconds, says Katy. I agree. Madison often doesn’t find her groove until the song is nearly over.
Bobby did good with those song picks!
Elton John catalog is next. Elton John taped a special message for the finalists.
Wade Cota – Rocket Man – Oh gosh. Those EJ specs he’s wearing are distracting. CLEAR YOUR THROAT DUDE. He’s slightly off pitch and off the beat. This is a deceptively difficult song to sing. Not a good choice for Wade. He should have allowed Bobby to pick his song. I’m not even kidding. Lionel says, “You’re doing something right and perfect.” He likes that he took on a character. Like it helped him perform a difficult song? It didn’t help. Katy likes his characters too, “You’re hilarious.” She felt he was connected in the first part of the song. Uh. They’re struggling to say nice things, talking more about his sunglasses than his vocals. Luke calls even his whisper believable. Oh look at Ryan’s light up glasses. Hardeeharhar.
Laci Kaye Booth – Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting – She sings a country-fried version of the song. The band is SO LOUD. Her voice just does not sound strong tonight. The arrangement is solid. She needs more energy and ATTITUDE. Without the attitude, she’s not believable. Dang. I like Laci, but she’s going home this week. Katy says, “You keep bringing every girl out. You’re a pop star!” Luke liked that she moves around and worked the crowd. Lionel has seen Elton 90 million times. No really 90 million! “You killed it. You turned it into your song,” he says.
Alejandro Aranda – Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word – Sitting behind the piano, Alejandro delivers a heart tugging performance. There’s so much feeling and emotion, here. His voice gets whispery on the chorus, but overall, a good cover from Alejandro. It’s like he’s snapped back this week. In both of his performances so far, he seems very present. Luke wonders if he’s been holding back, “Wrap your head around being a ginormous star,” Lionel says, “You killed that. You are taking us on a journey. The art of your artistry is so beautiful.” Katy talks about how music comforted her as she grew up, “I feel sad, but feel so connected to that,” she says. Alejandro looks sad. What is he thinking right now?
Madison VanDenburg – Your Song – Lots of hand waving. Maybe too much. Heh. But Madison is delivering a very pretty rendition of this classic. One of my favorite songs of all time, bye the way! A good vocal isn’t always about high notes. She hits a few towards the end. But actually, I liked the quieter first half better. Lionel says that song got him into the songwriting business. “You are coming to this competition with a bat,” he says, “to knock everybody out!” What an image. Katy says, “You just gave us the ketchup and the MUSTAAAHHD.” Weird analogy. “You keep singing like that,” she says. Luke calls her voice soulful and rangy, “How do we have this talent in front of us?”
Laine Hardy – Something About the Way You Look Tonight – NO guitar tonight. Hm. He’s done a countrified version of this song online. I would have prefered that. This version is too easy listening. Like Rod Stewart in the 90s. Laine’s too young for that ish. It’s a good vocal, but I don’t understand this Vegas lounge act shtick. Laine admits that he’s been to a vocal coach. “It really shows,” says Katy. “It’s paying off.” Luke says, “We heard you SINGING tonight.” Oh God. Like compares him to Frankie Valli in Grease. THAT IS NOT A COMPLIMENT. Lionel compliments his style and calls him a winner. Laine spiffy shoes are borrowed and are worth $4000 dollars. He is literally wearing diamonds on the soles of his shoes!
Now, it’s a video clip of the kids at a private screening of “Rocket Man.” The star, Taron Egerton talks about what it took to get into character. Well, barely.
Hero Tributes close the show.
Wade Cota – Hard Luck Woman by KISS – Like last year, the contestants parents read letters written to them. Wade dedicates his song to his mom and step-dad. Oh. Cota is his step-father’s name. LOTS OF CRYING happening here. There are some pitch issues here and there, but Wade delivers a credible performance of one of KISS’ few mid-tempo tunes. However, he’s not landing his performances like he did last week. Luke calls it an “amazing tribute.” Lionel says, “You were born enough. Recognize that power inside of you and go forward.” Katy is “so proud of him…it’s just the beginning for you.” Hm. These comments sound like a goodbye from the judges.
Laci Kaye Booth – Dreams by Fleetwood Mac – Laci and her grandmother walk through a gallery of photos from when Laci was young. FINALLY tonight, Laci turns it up. This is a beautiful rendition. She really is best when it’s her and a guitar. Bandzilla drowned her out on the first song. And the second song was all wrong for her. But this is Laci at her finest. Is it enough? Will people vote based on this performance? A few wobbles here and there, but beautiful phrasing from Laci. Lionel thinks Laci is coming back stronger than ever. “I’m a mess right now,’ says Katy, “I feel like everyone’s mom! We love every single one of these contestants.” Luke thinks it was a complete visual into the future of her career.
Madison VanDenburg – Make You Feel Me Love – Bob Dylan/Adele – Madison and her mom look through a book of photographs as mom reads a touching letter. It’s another song that allows Madison to concentrate on the words she’s singing. She’s actually feeling this. One of her most connected performances. Simply lovely. Big notes, not necessary! She’s really stepped it up this week. “The emotion is so real,” says Katy, claiming if she were singing to her mom, she’d ugly cry. “You were so elegant, and timeless,” she says. Luke says “Three words: Pow er House” OK then. Lionel urges, “VOTE VOTE VOTE.”
Laine Hardy – Hey Jude by The Beatles – His big brother Bubba is his hero. No really. His name is Bubba. They used to take river trips in Louisiana! Those were good days. Bubba took his role as big brother VERY seriously. This performance feels less loungy than his prior songs. However, cutting Hey Jude down to a minute is problematic. The end should have gone on longer! Lionel says, “VOTE.” Katy calls it “Super cool, you’ve got this.” She thanks him for coming back. Laine has had stronger weeks. But, he’s got people. He’s gonna sail through to the final.
Alejandro Aranda – Blesser (Original Song) – He dedicates his song to a fellow musician, Twin Shadow who became his musical mentor. “He believed in me so much.” Alejandro notes that he listened to classical music as a kid. Setting aside his vocal ability, Alejandro is a phenomenal musician. This original incorporates jazz, classical and pop inventively. He’s a talented songwriter and a passionate performer. Lionel says, “We war watching a phenomenon. We are watching musical history. VOTE VOTE VOTE.” Katy says, “Stay humble homie.” Luke starts that “I am not worthy” schtick again. “I will champion you as much as I can.” While Alejandro IS talented, the judges really need to cut back on the over-the-top hyperbole. It does not help him.
The judges seem to be pimping hard for Madison, Laine and Alejandro. Notice how Lionel urged viewers to vote for all three. He basically told Wade to have a nice life.
RESULTS: KIERAN DIM THE LIGHTS. Here we go. The first person to get a hometown hero’s welcome is Laine Hardy! Also competing in the finale next week is…Madison VanDenburg! The final person to get a hometown celebration is… Alejandro Aranda. Yep. Nailed my power list this week!
I would have preferred a Laine-Alejandro-Laci finale. But Madison really stepped it up tonight. Gotta give her props for bringing it at the right time. In the past few weeks, Laci has receded, while Madison upped her game. Timing is everything on Idol. At least, the finale will be diverse as far as musical styles are concerned.
Laci Kaye Booth