American Idol Top 10 Recap: I Don't Think You're Ready for This, Kelly

I may not have grown up under the Common Core Standards, but I know enough math to figure out the following simple equation:

There are six weeks left of American Idol‘s Season 15. There are seven weeks left of Kelly Clarkson’s pregnancy. If Fox and 19 Entertainment spring for a luxury RV to transport the original Idol winner to and from Hollywood every Thursday between now and the April 7 finale, there is no reason whatsoever she can’t upgrade this rollercoaster of a Farewell Season with her sweetly rambling, stream-of-consciousness, heartfelt and honest critiques. (And the occasional emotionally devastating performance.)

You know you want it. We know Keith Urban wants it. In fact, if Kelly promises to move the Aussie judge to tears by belting her devastating “Piece by Piece” in his dressing room before every telecast, Keith might just give up 10 percent of his salary to pay for the aforementioned ground transportation.

In other joyous news, after a verrrrrrrrrrrrry iffy start to the show, Idol‘s Season 15 Top 10 performance telecast sprang to life like a zombie during a rare quiet and tender moment on The Walking Dead. I don’t mean that to sound gruesome and gory — but rather to imply that La’Porsha and Sonika (and to a lesser degree Olivia and MacKenzie and Dalton and Avalon) rocked hard enough and in tune enough (or at least with enough authenticity/creativity) to make me think the actual competition to find a bookend to La Clarkson might be more than an afterthought in a swirling eddy of nostalgia.

Oh and then Kelly sang and we all cried. (No, you can’t blame it on pollen or dust mites — admit that you wept, dammit!)

IMG_8140Before I discuss said successes — and the abject failures — you’ll want to know who got eliminated after America’s votes were tallied following Wednesday’s Top 14 showdown: Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn Blosil, Manny Torres and Jeneve Rose Mitchell. I’d have swapped any of ’em — yes, even Faythur McSqueakum — for Gianna or Tristan, but to paraphrase J.Lo, this exercise is all about the “fifteen-ness” (aka 2016’s most offensive f-word).

Let me offer my letter grades and reviews for the week’s performances:

Olivia Rox – Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally” — Grade: B+ | I won’t lie and call myself a big fan of this song choice — a six-syllable word as your chorus is Rated C… for Clunky — but the delicacy of Olivia’s opening verse and her rock-solid pitch won me over (even if her clench-jawed enunciation still bugs me just a bit).

Gianna Isabella – Beyoncé’s “Listen” — Grade: C- | With even J.Lo offering harsh criticism of her buddy Brenda K. Starr’s daughter, you know there were major problems with intonation. But it was Gianna’s phrasing — stiff as a Wall Street dude’s over-starched shirt, intuitive as a trout flopping on a scorched patch of desert — that remains her biggest downfall. I am as certain that Gianna will go home in next week’s double elimination as I am that Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey will not celebrate Thanksgiving together come November.

Lee Jean – Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” — Grade: C- | I’m not the only one who couldn’t make out more than a word or two of Lee’s garbled opening verse, am I? Combined with the way his immature tone tends to dissipate like Vicks in a toddler’s bedroom humidifier, I’m still a little flummoxed about how he’s an actual Top 10 finisher. #BringBackJessicaCabral

Avalon Young – Shawn Mendes’ “Stitches” — Grade: B | Avalon forgot to put hot sauce in her bag, swag — as Beyoncé would put it — before she tackled “Stitches.” Or maybe her song choice was too far away from her loosey-goosey R&B wheelhouse — without taking her any closer to a vulnerable state. As Kelly Clarkson so aptly put it, it’s been Avalon’s delivery moreso than her song choices that’ve made her look like a potential champ. If I were Avalon, I’d be looking for a devastating ballad for next week’s set: She’s got the pipes to go deep in Season 15, but she needs to learn the element of surprise to keep us interested.

Dalton Rapattoni – Plain White Ts’ “Hey There, Delilah” — Grade: B- | Don’t get me wrong: I respect Dalton’s ongoing quest to reject karaoke and offer new and fresh takes on the songs he selects. But that doesn’t mean I particularly enjoyed his Backstreet Boys by way of Blink 182-ization of a simple, long-distance love story. I’ve got to give the dude the appropriate credit for singing in tune, but I felt like any sense of Delilah — or, more specifically longing and romance — was sacrificed on the altar of doing things differently. If Dalton really wants to walk in the footsteps of David Cook, he needs to remember the Season 7 champ’s biggest selling point wasn’t his ability to tinker with song structure, but rather his innate ability to infuse his lyrics with heart and authenticity.

Tristan McIntosh – Dan + Shay’s “Nothin’ Like You” — Grade: D | Oh, goodness, no. This performance was like watching a newborn impala stumble directly into a den of ravenous hyenas. With neither the vocal dexterity to handle the song’s rapid-fire lyrics or the confidence and range to hit the required notes, Tristan got devoured whole by the Idol band. And alas, not even Kelly’s sweet suggestion to try out a Trisha Yearwood ditty is going to put the 15-year-old girl back together in time to salvage a shot at the finale.

MacKenzie Bourg – Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” — Grade: B | After MacKenzie’s beautiful original tune on Wednesday, the utter expectedness of an Ed Sheeran cover could only be a letdown — and J.Lo’s advice about choosing songs that really make an impact was especially astute. To quote Paula Abdul’s greatest ballad, MacKenzie’s voice is “a whisper on a summer breeze” (in the best possible way). But without the bombast of Sonika or the camera-readiness of Dalton, he’ll need big, bold, Kris Allen-y risks to avoid an unfortunate, early exit.

La’Porsha Renae – Rihanna’s “Diamonds” — Grade: A | After her borderline embarrassing Tina Turner karaoke during the Semifinals, this was the week where La’Porsha got her groove back. Sure, “Diamonds” has become all too familiar on reality singing competitions — I’m still holding out hope she’ll tackle “Bird Set Free” or “Alive” by Sia — but like a hawk seeking out its prey in a rugged terrain, La’Porsha’s voice swooped and soared and darted and glided around Rihanna’s simple melody, turning it into something entirely other. Along with a Grammy-ready outfit — that blouse-necklace hybrid was the bomb! — and a heretofore unseen confidence, the single mom stole the show. I mean, when you have Kelly Clarkson declaring you the winner on Top 10 night — and then saying she wants to be you — you’re on your way to… if not a confetti shower, than something pretty special.

Sonika Vaid – Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” — Grade: A- | While La’Porsha slayed by standing still at the mic, Sonika delivered her own death blow by proving her knee-high boots were made for stomping, kneeling and getting totally physically immersed in Evanescence’s operatic rock jam. Prior to this performance, Sonika’s generally looked about as bad-ass as a kitten in a “Hang in There” inspirational poster, but tonight, girlfriend roared to life — and let us see her as a viable alternative to The La’Porsha Show or the Mackenzie-Vs.-Rapattoni Rock Boy Showdown.

Trent Harmon – Sam Smith’s “Like I Can” — Grade: C+ | I’ve been a big fan of Trent’s all season, but to my ear, he chose entirely the wrong key for “Like I Can,” putting a tight, tinny edge to his usually muscular vibrato. Trent seems to possess way too much inner talent to become one of those vocalists who crashes and burns in the live rounds, but remember there was a time we thought Majesty Rose, Brandon Rogers, David Hernandez might have a shot at winning their respective seasons, too?

OK, your turn. Vote for your fave performances in our poll below, then hit the comments and explain your decisions!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    LAPORSHA, Sonika, Olivia, Mackenzie, and Avalon won it for me. But LAPORSHA and Sonika, WOW!!! LAPORSHA slashed my existence!!! And Sonika, FINALLY let her inner fire be unleashed!!! THATS the Sonika that I WANT!!! 😍😭👏🙏😱🙌😁😌

  2. Jessamine says:

    Good recap, although I loved Trent’s performance and disliked Avalon’s.

    • Scout says:

      Avalon was off tonight. Loved her makeup though :) Hope she gets another chance next week. Surely, Tristan and Lee must go before her.

      • Smokey says:

        Yes, Avalon was way off her game tonight, bad song choice and she looked nervous and started taking the competition too seriously, lost her rappers edge.

      • Trent says:

        Did anyone hear RIGHT before Ryan announced that he was safe, J Lo can be heard saying “Lee”?… Fishy business

        • Ashley says:

          I heard that as well! I also smell the fishiness. And to me, it didn’t sound like a question – “Lee?” It sounded like a confident statement, which really makes me suspicious.

    • Lisa G says:

      Yeah, I didn’t like Avalon much at all. I was shocked to see it so highly rated. And Trent was dialed in. His faces didn’t even bother me as they seemed organic. Sonika was great. She’s been iffy to me until now (and seeing Kelly’s I Surrender made Sonika’s so bad in comparison) but tonight she was tremendous! Piece by Piece has been a song I liked a lot, but Kelly’s performance tonight slayed me. I’ll never hear it the same way again. I love her more now than when I voted for her in 2002!

    • JoJo says:

      Agree. I love Trent.

    • Shazza says:

      Yes! I liked Trent a lot, he has a great voice… unfortunately I fear that Dalton’s going to last longer in the competition because of his good looks. And as for Dalton’s advice on applying eyeliner before going to bed to give it that “smudged” look – meh, have heard that from Adam Lambert in a number of interviews. Favorite of the night LaPorsha & Sonika WOW!

      • N Bishop says:

        I’ve notice other comments Dalton has made that has been said by other people before. I am glad someone else noticed. I am beginning to believe he’s not as genuine and original as he pretends to be.

    • Karen says:

      Trent Harmon is great !! He’s the whole AI package that we need for s role model for our kids! Plus he sings great too.

  3. Logan says:

    Laporsha killed it. Rihanna is definitely not Motown, which means she can have variety, which was the one concern I’ve heard about her. Laporsha is my favorite for a reason. Sonika killed it too.

  4. Charlie C says:

    La’Porsha, Sonika and Mackenzie definitely owned those top 3 spots, with Trent following close for the 4th

  5. Holly says:

    Trent’s look does not match his vocal. He needs to lose the hat and stop looking like a door-to-door evangelist. And Sonika – gorgeous vocal, but sung in a prom dress. I want to SEE the rocker chick, not just hear the rocker chick! I would complain about La Porsha’s hair, but after that vocal it seems frivolous to complain about anything!

    • The Beach says:

      Yep, it’s past time for Sonika to ditch the prom dresses. It’s giving too much of a Pia vibe. She’s a really cute young girl and should dress that way.

      • Scout says:

        LOL. To me, she was invoking her inner bad girl. It kinda worked with the vibe of the song.

        • Tyler says:

          @ Scout: Agreed. To me it looked like a goth dress. Something you would see in a Cure video. Very New Wave-like. Prom was the last thing that came to my mind unless you’re talking about the prom that Carrie went too.

          • FNorth says:

            I have to agree an all black dress does not invoke images of a Prom. Her’s was actually my favorite performance if for no other reason it was awesome to see her finally come out of her shell. But it is 1A and 1B between her and La’Porsha.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I actually thought it was kind of cool that she rocked out in a pageant gown. It was a neat visual juxtaposition. It may have been purely unintentional, but I liked that she approached her outfit at a right angle to the music. It was less predictable (and therefore more rock and roll) than singing a rock song in rock garb.

      • JayNC says:

        Yes exactly, and the judges mentioned it too. She was dressed for another diva performance so it was shocking (in a good way) when she burst out of her shell.

        • LIzzie says:

          Sonika’s every move and every note are too calculated and staged. The production staff are coaching her to look here, look there, step forward on this note – it’s boring to watch her dress up and play act at being a singer. There isn’t anything authentic about the girl. After Gianna and Tristan go home, next should be the “most shocking” moment when Sonika is eliminated.

          • Cooper says:

            Dalton is the fake one here. I mean how much make up one male can have on their face? And till now not a single performance worth making my playlist. I mean why pretend to even sing when you go thru simply by totally manufactured teenage boy band looks.

          • FNorth says:

            I think Sonika has the best voice by far in that competition. It’s not even close. Not sure how you can call that fake. In fact I would say La’Porsha was lucky to get this far since that was her first performance this entire season I felt she even belonged in the competition. That Tina Turner song she did was bad. and not the good bad, the really bad “OMG did that really just happen bad”. The fact Stephany Negrete went home and La’Porsha advanced was more than mystifying.

    • If you watch the original Evanscance video with Amy Lee, she always wore black or almost gothicky prom dress type clothes. I think Sonica was trying to kind of match the Amy Lee look. If you ever watch one their live performances on u tube, Amy rocks!

    • Temperance says:

      I thought the costume and hair was perfect for the song.

    • Amy Lee from Evanescence had the same gothic dress style. But I think her dresses are beautiful, and suit what she’s singing. I’m sure we’ll see some changes in the future.

      And how dare you even suggest complaining about La’Porsha’s hair, she looked amazing xD

      • Lizzie says:

        LaPorsha’s hair has been very noticeable, sometimes distracting. Last night, it was gorgeous, with the sparkly clip and her outfit, she looked lovely, it was all visually in balance and stunning. Her appearance went well with the wondrous voice this time.

        • Scout says:

          Agreed. I thought the stylists got La’Porsha’s whole look “right” last night – wardrobe, hair, makeup, jewelry. She was gorgeous.

    • Lizzie says:

      There is no rocker chick in Sonia – she is an emotionless, calculated wind_up singing doll, with a high school talent show voice. No career.

      • Lizzie says:

        lost the ‘k’ with the touch screen ,Sonika

        • Alex says:

          Somebody here’s all about Sonika I see, so many comments after her, what about others? Troll much?

          • lizzie says:

            I am not impressed by Sonika at all. If you think she might sell some music, I do not. I also do not enjoy Gianna or most of the ones who were cut this week. Avalon doesn’t fit the competition,although in some ways she was better this time minus some of her vocal style that others find appealing. Tristan seems lost, and to me she would so better in the Alicia Keys sort of sound range, not country. Olivia was better than she has been, but I don’t love her sound. Trent is talented. Something about Lee is really the sort that makes me want to hear more. LaPorsha did herself proud, and was deserving of all that cheering. Next to go are Gianna and Tristan, and then hopefully Sonika. not a super fan of Mackenzie, although he may have potential.

      • Yup. Sonika tries way too hard to be perfect that she comes across fake. “I never watched American Idol because I always had a book in my hand” “I can’t read notes but can play piano by ear” “Never had a boyfriend but I’m going to show America an Angry Girlfriend.” Not buying her holier than thou bull crap. Even La Porsha bores me.

    • Ulove says:

      I really hope you would not complain about and African American wearing her hair in a natural style. Please expand your horizons.

    • Ulove says:

      I really hope you would not complain about an African American wearing her hair in a natural style. Please expand your horizons.

  6. SaraPo says:

    It’s like watching 2 different competitions, you have Lee, Tristan and Gianna in one class and EVERYONE else in the other…LaPorsha, Sonika, Dalton, Trent, Olivia, Makenzie and Avalon, in that order were my faves tonight. I really love Avalon, but like Kelly said, i never really care for the songs she picks, but i like HER versions of them, whereas Dalton and Trent have the best song choices for my own personal taste. It’s beginning to look like a competition. Also Kelly’s song, omg, was not prepared for that, just wow. Gut wrenching. Love her so much.

    • SaraPo says:

      *ALSO, was interesting seeing who their favorite idol contestants have been….I already liked Dalton a lot, but hearing him name Chris and David as his favorites just got him major brownie points with me. Especially since David is my favorite contestant ever and Always Be My Baby, my favorite idol performance ever. The boy has good taste.

    • Gailer says:

      I think Lee has a nice tone, Gianna, no

      • SaraPo says:

        I don’t mind his tone, i just think he is a little out of his league unfortunately. I wish he would’ve waited a few years and maybe tried out for the Voice :( He’s so young, he can only get better.

        • Scout says:

          That is a nice way to put it. I couldn’t think of the words… “out of his league” [right now] seems very accurate. He has something, but unfortunately, he is not ready this, um, jelly [pardon my French :)]

    • JM says:

      Agree. Lee, Tristan and Gianna were the three that got 0 votes from me.

      • Holly says:

        Same here! I hate the Fifteen-ness! And actually, I love Lee. In 10 years I can see him being a lot like one of my all time faves, Robert Cray. Lee has such a cool vibe and delivery, but it is going to take a lot more maturity for him to be able to deliver the goods. Why do they place these children in the top tier??

        • Shazza says:

          THIS!! Lee is the only one of the three who I’d be vaguely interested in seeing how they turn out 10 years down the track, especially if he writes his own songs & ups his guitar playing.

      • gale1001 says:

        I agree. Lee chooses songs that have an emotional complexity that he is just unable to convey, and his vocals don’t do the ones justice either. Tristan has chronic pitch issues and shouldn’t be there, and Gianna is not good enough.

    • HeartMN says:

      I think I would switchTrent and Olivia in your line up and then I would agree- the three youngsters really showed their age tonight. Kelly should have beena judge years ago and then maybe we would not be saying goodbye to Am Idol!

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        You gotta wonder why they never got a former American Idol on the panel. Clarkson would have been an obvious choice, and I imagine they probably tried at some point after Simon left, but I remember that she was a judge on some other singing show for a bit, so maybe there were complications?
        Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, and Keith Urban (to cover country and provide a non-Idol veteran perspective) would have made a great panel over these last few seasons.

    • Don says:

      I mostly agree. Lee, Tristan and Gianna were way below everyone else and I hope that the eliminations come from among them. I also think La’Porsha and Sonika were easily the best of the night by a considerable margin, but I would slot Olivia into a distant third, slightly ahead of the rest. Dalton may the most comfortable on stage, but that song highlighted the relative weakness of his voice, while Mackenzie uncharacteristically lost a bit of vocal control, which took away some of the emotional punch of that song (which is why I think Harry asked him about what the song meant to him). For her part, Avalon was done in a bit by song choice, though I do think the second half of her performance was pretty good. What is a good sign towards the rest of the season is that I think that there are 7 contestants capable of giving us a good performance on any given night.

      • JayNC says:

        Yes that is my problem with Dalton too. He has the look and creativity, just not the voice . MacKenzie has a better voice but he has a problem projecting it – I often cannot hear or understand what he is singing. And Lee has both problems, but he is just so likeable that I hope he gets through this week anyway. Of the 4 guys only Trent seems to have it all, if only he would get rid of those ridiculous outfits.

        • Scout says:

          This is a great point about Mackenzie. Honestly, I think I would like him more if I understood him. Enunciation AND projection would help. It just gets in the way of connecting with his songs. I actually have no idea what his song “Roses” is about. LOL.

        • N Bishop says:

          Dalton needs to try out for Nickelodeon tv show. I’m sure his look has all teens voting but hopefully America will listen to his voice which is not the best this season.

    • Art says:

      On point SaraPo, about everything.
      It’s also the first time I’ve thought that La’Porsha had a talent that might appeal to the masses. Vocal talent, always, but this night she showed entertainment.

  7. idolbethejudge says:

    First off LA’PORSHA. I mean c’mon. Let’s hope she didn’t have her best moment too early. That’s happened before, I hope it doesn’t happen to her. Second off, SONIKA. Jeez, if there were no La’Porsha then Sonika would be #1. To go from Celine Dion one night to Evanessecne the next was inspired. I think The Top 6 are La’Porsha, Sonika, Dalton, Avalon, MacKenzie and Trent. Those 6 are great and should they remain until the actual Top 6 week in a couple weeks that would be an amazing episode. Lee, Tristan, Gianna, and unfortunately Olivia were just not good. I like Olivia but she hasn’t been that great recently. Kelly Clarkson was charming as a judge, and powerful as a performer. She really is the best.

    • Trent says:

      Sonika actually reminds me of Angie from season 12, from the delivery to the fashion and the song choices (Angie did those songs in her run).

    • Andrew says:

      I disagree on Olivia, I think she was very good. Better than Dalton and Avalon at least. I heard some things I haven’t from her. I personally like her better than Trent and Mackenzie, but I can see arguments for both of them. Still far from LaPorsha and Sonika though.

      • Holly says:

        I like Olivia, but there is something about her tone that is unpleasant to my ear. I think Slezak nailed it in his update when he called her enunciation “jaw clenching.” It almost sounds like she is chewing her words at times. Other than that, she has potential.

    • Night Owl says:

      I would add Olivia and say if they are the top 7, then it will actually be a competition. Of course, every season there is someone that sticks around for way longer than they should. I’m hoping this season will be different.

    • fanfan says:

      I don’t really like celine dion’s songs, but I remember loving Kelly clarkson singing ” I survive” in her season. Sonika version of” I survive ” was ok but she nailed “bring me to life ” it had emotion that has been lacking in her. La Porsha was the best tonight but she was on the edge of “overcomplicating” diamonds. Perhaps with longer version she could have had more simple verses. Other than that Olivia Rox and Dalton were my favorites. Olivia wins many fans with her smile I think.

    • Justin says:

      Olivia was great, she was really sick this past week and still pulled it off.

  8. Gailer says:

    Kelly clarkson please for the win! Only Olivia I think can do her justice at this point.

  9. Trent says:

    No way in hell was Dalton’s, or frankly even Avalon’s, performance better than Trent’s. Trent should be at a B, with Avalon at a B- and Dalton at a C+

    • Scout says:

      Agreed. Can’t wait to hear Michael’s rationale for that one.

      • Anni says:

        Agree!!! Trent’s voice moved me. Dalton is just so…trite. His song choices, his delivery, his style. No thanks. Avalon has a nice voice but there’s no way it can stand against a La’Porsha, Sonika, even Olivia.

        • Susan Espanol says:

          Dalton is so been there done that. Sonika and LaPorsha – WOW!!! Just WOW.

          • Yup says:

            Dalton SO overrated. check out the youtube comments on his video lol. Just fangirls being angry/the rest of the population explaining that it just wasn’t good contrary to what the judges want us to think

          • Trent says:

            He was in some YouTube boy band, and I think he’s bringing some fans from there

          • MamaLis says:

            See, that’s the cool thing about music. So subjective. I agree on Porsha. But while Sonika has a lovely voice, so far she’s talent show caliber. And Dalton I love! Every time he’s on I want to hear/see him do more. In fact early season I caught him on you tube and he’s as big of a writer as Mackenzie. So… really depends what hits you.

          • Lizzie says:

            Dalton is charming, captivating, mesmerizing, and the girls love him. He will st be here after Sonika goes home. This round, Tristan and Gianna go, although Avalon is also at risk.

          • N Bishop says:

            Agree totally on Dalton, same ole same Enough already!

          • N Bishop says:

            Google Dalton. Quit two bands already. Plus using comments that performers have used in the past. He’s not that great of a singer. Cute guy, but not the last American Idol.

        • Lking says:

          Dalton is entertaining and fun to watch. Trent is down right difficult to watch. Cannot imagine sitting through an entire concert with Trent.

          • bradybunch4u says:

            Exactly, Trent may have more power range and vocal gymnastics than Dalton, but Dalton has a nice voice, centered, good control. Best performer of the bunch, interesting, charismatic, and the most creative with spinning a song or Daltonizing it.

            Dalton = Potential Star
            Trent =lounge singer or Cruise Ship singer

    • JM says:

      So true. I was really disappointed in Avalon and Dalton tonight.

    • Lisa G says:

      Dalton is one of my three favorites, but he wasn’t in my top three tonight. Trent was. The grades have seemed off to me two nights in a row.

      • Night Owl says:

        I never let the grades bother me, because those are an expression of Michael’s opinion based on what pleases his ears. They may or may not match mine.

    • katillac says:

      Very much agree! My top 3 were La’Porsha, Sonika, and TRENT! Wasn’t crazy about Dalton or Avalon tonight.

    • Guy says:

      Dalton often sounds far too much like the singer in a whiny emo band. It’s not very pleasant to listen to.

      • MC says:

        Exactly. Very unpleasant. He has a weak voice and I don’t like the spiky hair. It doesn’t matter to me if he wins because I don’t put much stock in talent shows.

    • bradybunch4u says:

      To my ears Dalton deserved a A-, Avalon a C- Trent a B

  10. La’Porsha’s got this,and Sonika’s #2. Can a girl finally win? Bookmark Carrie with La’Porsha. Yesssss.

  11. Andres says:

    Boo Gianna moved on

    Favorites were laporsha and Sonika
    I didn’t expect sonika to pick that song which I love.

  12. Kyle Paxson says:

    Great show tonight! Are there going to be iTunes recordings this year?

  13. Scout says:

    Kelly Clarkson. I love you.

    • Anni says:

      Indeed! I was almost going to give up on the show after last night. So glad I didn’t. The second half of tonight was amazing.

    • Smokey says:

      I would be happy to see Kelly and Keith run the panel and get rid of the other 2.

    • Ben says:

      OH MY.. Kelly Clarkson made the night for me!. Soo charming, adorable, funny, talented… and that performance! (i didn’t cry… but damn!). That’s what every IDOL need to be a true STAR, the talent for sure, but mostly the connection, that interpretation quality!, AAAAmaaazing!.

      The night was KELLY and La’Porsha….MacKenzie and Sonika did fine… the rest of the idols lack of connection, experience, and the skill to use their voices, they were all flat.

      • Cheryl says:

        That’s what happens when you have so-o-o many very young kids. They lack the life experiences to put into their singing.

        • MC says:

          I thought that, apart from Kelly (who obviously is no longer competing), there were only three or four performances that were better than average. I must be one of the few who did not think it was an “amazing” night.

  14. Trent says:

    Can we all have a second to recognize how amazing Kelly was. Her critiques. And that performance of Piece By Piece. Wow. She will forever be the American Idol

  15. Gailer says:

    I’m sorry but a popular guy was not good at all. I wish he was a better singer

  16. Anni says:

    La’Porsha, Mackenzie, and Trent had me feelin’ it. And Kelly. :)

  17. John Penton says:

    That Reception Laporsha received was a little too much i mean she was good but i didnt think she was great. Sonika was better than hers. Dalton had a strong night as well as Trent. My opinion is that Gianna and one of either Avalon, Tristan,or Lee will be going home.

    • Scout says:

      I am fine with any of the 4 you mentioned going home. Spot on assessment. Avalon is capable of much more. She needs to learn how to be cool AND sing well – at the same time. And a little more conviction wouldn’t hurt either.

    • Anni says:

      You’re wrong. She was great.

    • Laura says:

      Finally a comment that makes sense! I think Laporsha is OK, but she is overrated. I hope we don’t have to go through a big production (with the tears and standing ovations) each week when she performs. Furthermore, if she wins (which she probably will), is she really going to get a lot of radio airplay or sell millions of records? Doubtful. I think Sonika was the best tonight.

      • Emily says:

        My thoughts exactly! I like her as a person and she’s a great singer, and although she sang a current-ish song, I don’t see her being played on the radio or selling near the number of records as Kelly. I much preferred Sonika’s performance.

      • Marianne says:

        I agree with your points on La’Porsha, but I don’t think Sonika would be that marketable, either. She is too stiff and pageant-y. She tried some movement tonight but it didn’t seem natural. Though Avalon wasn’t at her best tonight, I think she and, maybe, Olivia would be the most marketable

      • MC says:

        It may be politically incorrect, but I agree Sonika was the best tonight. I thought Olivia was not ready to be the first singer tonight. It was still good, but not her best effort.

        • Night Owl says:

          It must be really nerve-wracking to be the first singer of the night. So, I’m sure Olivia was feeling it. I was nervous when I saw that Sonika was singing Bring Me To Life, but she pulled it off quite well.

          • MC says:

            The good news is Olivia will probably kill it next week. Don’t count her out yet. Sonika was excellent, but I have my doubts that she can be consistent.

      • Mary says:

        This is the first week I actually like how she delivered her song. Don’t care for the song at all and to make me enjoy a performance of it is not small feat. Was it standing ovation worthy, not for me but you never know what moves people to their feet. Avalon and Olivia were off tonight but still received my votes. Dalton song showed everything that is wrong with his voice and no changes would make that song tolerable for me. As frustrated as this show can be, Kelly showed us tonight why we have been addicted to it for the last 15 years. I admit I cried ugly tears on that song.

      • Scout says:

        LOL, Laura. I agree. I LOVE La’P, but they can’t give her a 2 minute ovation every time she sings. The viewers will quickly tire of that sort of manipulation. I kinda wish they would ban ovations, but I guess it’s too late for all that.

        • Lizzie says:

          The crowd wouldn’t stop cheering for her. They wouldn’t stop even when the judges tried to talk. That moment wasn’t producer-controlled.

    • A.R. Vega says:

      I agree, LaLoofa is definitely over-rated. Dalton as well, I thought he was mediocre at best with his song and his eyes creep me out. Sonika was great, Tristan the biggest disappointment.

    • I agree, the standing ovation from the judges for La Porsha was a bit much. Or at least Sonika deserved one too!

      • Lizzie says:

        A standing ovation isn’t like getting a trophy at T-ball, there isn’t one for everybody. I find Sonika to be near the bottom of the pack, just above Gianna. Not only were the standing ovations for LaPorsha suited, but so was Kelly’s dance for her.

  18. Angela Pennie says:

    Every time La Porsha sing I get chills she is so amazingly gifted I could listen to her singing over and over she is Phenomenal

  19. Deelady says:

    La’porsha give me life…

  20. vchugo says:

    LaPorsha won the night. Sonika got the silver. MacKenzie takes home the bronze. Olivia, Dalton and Avalon should move on … beyond that? Trent underperformed, so pick ’em,

    But, too bad Kelly is too pregnant to stay on for the rest of this season!!

  21. John says:

    I would have put a + on that A for LaPorsha…that was one for the Idol highlight reel of 15 years. Best surprise was Sonika, and biggest disappointment was Avalon. Top five was LaPorsha, Sonika, Trent, Dalton and Mackenzie.

    • David Cedar says:

      I don’t know why everyone is going for this fake-voiced, squibbly sounding La’Porsha! She doesn’t sing to make a nice, pleasant sounding song, she sings to show off.

      I do, however, COMPLETELY agree with your other placements. For me, seeing the comfort and relative ease in which Sonika performed, she definitely should win it. Like Kelly said, she is not shrilly at all. UNLIKE, I hardly need point out, the over-rated La’Porsha.

  22. Angela Pennie says:

    Totally love Kelly amazing performance we know why she won

  23. NJIdoloonie says:

    a couple of things – 1) I like LaPorsha (and her baby) but I thought she was trying to copy Rihanna’s accent so that took away from the performance.
    and 2) I would like to see the actual voting numbers for Gianna – I don’t think she really earned her spot. I think Brenda K Starr (as opposed to Brenda Starr the great comic strip reporter) must have something on JLo.

  24. jcp says:

    a C+ for Trent? Y’all trippin’.

  25. Tim says:

    This franchise owes Kelly Clarkson everything — and she proved why tonight. In fact, I sometimes wonder if Fox would have even ordered a second season had she not won. Even if you disagree, I know I certainly would not have bothered with Seasons 2 through 15 if we were saddled with Justin Guarini or, ugh, Nikki McKibbin. After tonight, I love Kelly more than I already did, and that’s really saying something.

  26. MyFavoriteSong says:

    This is why having past AI contestants as judges would have been so much better than the three high profile celebs that have been there for three years – they are plastic, robotic, boring.

    Btw – Don’t agree with the grading. Maybe she is a ‘good’ singer but I have zero connection with Sonika. None. That connection is crucial in any ‘relationship.’ Would not listen to her music if it were free. Just saying….

    • Gailer says:

      They made a huge mistake by sticking with these 3, surely the original judges could have been convinced to put through who the prioducers wanted ? No, I don’t think Simon would have gone for that.

    • vchugo says:

      You would be the exception … that said, she needs to still work on her performance skills.

    • Nutt says:

      I agree about Sonika being pageanty. I thought she shouted most of that song tonight and looked nervous. So far, she doesn’t move me at all.

      • Timmah says:

        I like Sonika. I think she has a gorgeous tone. However, I thought this was a bit shouty as well and took her away from her strengths.

    • Smokey says:

      IMO the show had “sold-out” to the staggering high contract salaries of celeb’s over the past several years, and those who milked the show as it became a success for big money,,, their agents and celeb names, etc. If they spent half the money they spent on celeb names over the past few years…. on creating a better talent show, they wouldn’t be in the final season. Kelly was refreshing on the panel.

  27. Miscellaneopolan says:

    Okay, I know this lineup isn’t the best in the show’s history, but La’Porsha by her freaking self justifies this season, shortened as it is. And if a few of the others rise to the occasion–and a few of them look like they might–then that’s just a bonus.

  28. Tim says:

    I think Gianna and Lee are doomed for first elimination. Tristan would be an easy third. The stage swallowed them, and their youth and inexperience really shone through.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      That would be the fair thing to happen, but I’m a little afraid that one of them will take Avalon down with them. She outsang all of them, but she wasn’t as good as she’s been in the past, and you never know. I don’t think voters should ignore Olivia, either. She was good, but she came at the beginning and she wasn’t knock-you-on-the-floor amazing. I hope she’s not forgotten.
      Good Christ was La’Porsha great.

      • JayNC says:

        And hopefully Olivia wasn’t forgotten with such a strong finish. I like her but worry she may have been overlooked by voters

  29. Yadon says:

    I feel like Jennifer is trying to drag Gianna’s time on Idol as long as she can.

  30. Dalton is so “been there, done that” with mediocre vocal at best. LaPorsha is just in another league with Sonika right behind her. Olivia has been better but I did like her tonight as well. I really want to like Avalon and want her to choose a real SONG.

  31. Rose H says:

    LaPorsha was brilliant and her humility is what makes me like her even more. Such a sweetheart. I also like Trent a lot cause he is so different…just wish he would stop making faces.

  32. Miscellaneopolan says:

    I was prepared for this season to be a whimper of an ending to Idol, and the start of the episode seemed to confirm it. Yes, Olivia was good, but she wasn’t crazy amazing, and one good singer in the midst of a bunch of mediocre ones didn’t really do much to excite me.
    But man, did they turn it around in the final third or what? La’Porsha is reason enough to watch, but Sonika was terrific–I mean, who knew she had that in her? She brought the drama in a way I never expected her to. And Trent was way better than Slezak seems to think–cool song, neat voice, fun listening.
    And now that I’m assured that the season won’t be a waste, I can admit to enjoying Dalton and MacKenzie, too. Avalon had a bit of an off-night. I hope Tristan or Gianna don’t drag her down with them, because they’re the ones who deserve the boot most. They seem nice and everything, but they’re clearly not ready. Like them, Lee was bland, but at least he was on pitch most of the time.


    La’Porsha Renae sang “Diamonds” better than Rihanna. She captivated everyone with that song. Her range and tone was fantastic and she killed that song. There is no other as good as her. She is the next Idol 2016. She has my entire Vote. Superb.

  34. RK says:

    So if you refer to American Idol as the house that Clarkson built, then tonight Mama came home and gave ye old house a much needed polish and shine. Wow. I love me some Underwood, and fell for Cookie with his first Hello but Kelly is EVERYTHING. Funny, humble, sweet, down to earth, insightful goddess divine. Best thing that happened to the Judges Panel…ummm…ever. Perhaps they can get her to skype in to the show while she is at home percolating. Was it just me or did you see her pass her crown to LaPorsha? 6 weeks or not tonight Miss. Kelly (thanks for that Trent) elected her bookend. And that performance? No words, just tears for the awesome sauce of heart wrenching magic.

    As far as your grading Mr. Slezak – way off tonight. I like Avalon but tonight she was not better than Dalton and the C+ for Trent. Sorry mate but it looks like you are grading on a personal favorites curve.I’d upgrade Trent to a B, drop Avalon to a B-/C+ and give LaPorsha to an A+ . She is hair and caped shoulders above the rest.

  35. RK says:

    So if you refer to American Idol as the house that Clarkson built, then tonight Mama came home and gave ye old house a much needed polish and shine. Wow. I love me some Underwood, and fell for Cookie with his first Hello but Kelly is EVERYTHING. Funny, humble, sweet, down to earth, insightful goddess divine. Best thing that happened to the Judges Panel…ummm…ever. Perhaps they can get her to skype in to the show while she is at home percolating. Was it just me or did you see her pass her crown to LaPorsha? 6 weeks or not tonight Miss. Kelly (thanks for that Trent) elected her bookend. And that performance? No words, just tears for the awesome sauce of heart wrenching magic.

    As far as your grading Mr. Slezak – way off tonight. I like Avalon but tonight she was not better than Dalton and the C+ for Trent. Sorry mate but it looks like you are grading on a personal favorites curve.I’d upgrade Trent to a B, drop Avalon to a B-/C+ and move LaPorsha to an A+ . She is hair and caped shoulders above the rest.

  36. Avalon is one of my favs and I love makeup. But they just took away her “natural trademark’ of being natural and wearing a hoodie. That’s what I loved about her and of course her voice. I think she didn’t feel like herself, therefore it affected her singing and performance. They should just let her wear what she wants.

    • Tim says:

      I don’t think Avalon will go far. She’s safe this week (probably), but the voting populous typically goes for someone who really *wants* it, and Avalon’s easygoing nature could backfire and be construed as not being “in it to win it.” (Ugh, I hate that saying, but it applies here.) Plus, like you said, it seems that the show has imposed a bit of “unnaturalness” on her, which seemed to affect her comfort level.

      • Tim says:

        I know the response to the “easygoing” comment is “What about Phillip Phillips?”… but we’re in the last season now. Easygoing is not going to take the crown, especially if the swagger feels diminished.

        • Judy says:

          Except Philip is a guy. Our society has this double standard in which if a girl appears laid-back, she’s deemed rude, or worse, ungrateful. Whereas if it’s a guy, he’s considered cool and chill.

          I’d love Avalon to win because it’s time a show a non-conformist give a middle finger to a show so rooted in archaic middle american values

  37. C+ for Trent? Melinda is gonna set you straight on that one, Michael. :P

    • Zoo says:

      Trent was the best tonight. Michael has been sick and obviously hasn’t yet recovered.

      • Shazza says:

        Agreed. This year he’s the closest thing we have to a “big” male voice. Dalton will probably outlast him cos he’s so much prettier, but I prefer Trent.

    • N Bishop says:

      Trent deserves an A. He did great. Always enjoy his performances. Original and genuine in his performance. And he doesn’t need to wear eyeliner!

      • Susan Curry says:

        Trent is very talented. Unfortunately, looks do count somewhat: he should lose the hats and grow out the shaved sides. In order to look good with those, you have to be a professional athlete (even some of them don’t) or very good looking, a la Nick. I didn’t even think it was flattering on Nick. Trent looks much better with hair.

        Secondly, he needs to stop pulling the faces. It distracts from his performance. This is probably better advice than what creepster Borchetta has given him, which prob amounts to none.

  38. Akira says:

    Seriously, they were very stupid… If you were going to introduce Wildcards this season, it would have made much more sense to make it the other way around… Have the top 14 perform… America got to choose 6… FROM THEN the judges got to pick 4 to complete the Top 10.

    Although all the 4 chosen were indeed very competent, none of them were really ever in danger of not getting in the Top 10 to begin with(and even if they were, they could have been saved anyway). That made America’s vote even more erratic than usual.

    And because of that we lost both quirky/alternative girls Jenn and Jeneve, this is like season 9 all over again with Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly…


    • JayNC says:

      Thank goodness we do not have to go through another season with a “quirky” person in the mix. It gets so tiresome waiting for them to get voted off. Jenn and Jeneve would have fit that mold perfectly so I breathed a sigh of relief when they were both cut.

  39. MJ says:

    I’m so mad that Jenn Blosil didn’t make it to top 10. Seriously?! I’m sure whoever wins Idol this year would be another “meh.” Jenn writes her own songs, check them out–they’re incredible. She’s unique, different, and she knows who she is, she’s a true artist. Even if she didn’t do so well in Idol, she will do great on the real world. Which is the real business.

  40. Zoo says:

    Got rid of hiccup boy and mountaingirl. Loved Trent tonight. He was the BEST, besides for Kelly. :)

    • Shazza says:

      Aw, come on now – Mountain girl ain’t all that bad! I find her infinitely more interesting than Tristan or Gianna. Agree with you though about Trent, LOVE that guy’s voice!

  41. MJ says:

    What’s with Avalon? Why do people like her so much?

    • Zoo says:

      Have no clue why anyone likes her. I don’t.

      • MJ says:

        Yes. She doesn’t bring anything new to the table. And her voice is mediocre! I’m so disappointed with Idol right now. Jenn Blosil should’ve go through instead of her.

      • Smokey says:

        Avalon caught the younger rap fan vote that put her through to top 10 against the other 4 who lost. But she picked a bad song and was off her game tonight. was formerly care-free and loose, but tonight seemed concerned and nervous — she can’t make it on vocal strengths against some others — so if she survives this week, it’s because 3 or 4 others also had under-par night.

  42. Ben says:

    Wow. Well, I’d have taken Manny Jeneve and Jenn and left out Tristan, Lee and Gianna. In any event, I feel really sidelined by the entire way the season is set up anyway. The thing that made Idol great was its format. Too much deviation ruins it.

  43. Lauren says:

    Of America’s pretty iffy voting over the years and tonight (particularly Jenn and Jeneve not making it over Tristan or Gianna), my mom said “THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE VOTING FOR DONALD TRUMP”..

  44. Bonnie says:

    After watching La’Porsha perform tonight, I finally understand what Jennifer means by goosies. I had chills watching her. Shame on you Michael for only giving her an A. That was a A+++ performance.

  45. JMay says:

    Aside from Ms. Kelly Clarkson, there were 3 performances that really impressed me tonight. La Porcha just friggin killed it. She was 1000 times better than anybody else that it really wasn’t fair. Almost. The other two were Sonika and Trent. Sonika showed a side of her that I hadn’t seen before. Trent seemed a bit nervous tonight and his attempts at the falsettos seemed to not quite get there, but his tone was still great. He was better than a C+ though, Michael, c’mon.

  46. Once Lee, Gianna, Tristan and Avalon go, this will be a dogfight to the finish. This is the first year that I’ve legitimately cheered for more than 2 contestants and that’s a very very good sign. Also, how Jenn didn’t get into the top 10 is beyond me.

  47. Christopher says:

    Let’s be real here, guys, the best performance of the night was Kelly’s Piece By Piece.

  48. Mark says:

    For me LaPorsha just gave us an historic performance. Like Adam singing “Mad World”…and it’s only day one of the top 10. So let the games begin! Thank you LaPorsha.

  49. danin says:

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch on TV tonight. Fortunately I was at a very fun& good Bowie tribute dancing my butt off. And somewhat fortunately, I just listened on my phone. Trent’s my boy but I thought he sounded chipmunky. His passion though comes right the TV for me,and he connects. LaPo..yes she has gifted control and yes I very much lot me her tone& liked what she was succeeding w/in Diamonds,but I also heard&saw some unsuccessful moments..She needs critiquing too. How else will she grow. Avalon’s is the only other performance I watched all the way through and I liked it. She’s my girl
    and she lost the nasiliness.

  50. Ears wide open says:

    Not getting the Dalton love. At all. He can’t sing. He knows his limitations, of course, and is very confident on the stage. But he takes zero risks, has a flat, mediocre voice and doesn’t belong in the competition. He must have a dossier on the judges.

    Like so many others, loved La-Porche tonight. It was easily her best, but I also think she’s still holding something back. There’s more to her than she’s showing, and she’s already brilliant. Pulling for Sonika a lot, but she still hasn’t put it all together. Thinking too much still, but getting closer.

    It won’t happen, but Dalton should go first, then Gianni. She’s kinda of the opposite of La’Porche. She tries waaay too hard, and probably has her mother in her head. In a few years, she might be something special, but she needs to get out of that house first.

    • Corey says:

      Why is everyone going so easy on Gianna? C- is pretty generous. Easily the worst performance of the night; she missed like half the notes. I can’t think of one thing that was good about that performance. I’ll be mystified if she makes it through

    • Shazza says:

      Agree 100% with your comment!