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American Idol: Season 15, Wildcard Night, 2/24/16

February 25th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Keeping up with the format of the final season of American Idol is a challenge, since it’s unlike any season before. Wednesday night was the Wild Card Round, and some contestants had to sing for the public’s vote.

Last night started with the judges giving four singers a free pass to the finals:  Dalton Rapatoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon, and La Porsha Renae.

Of the remaining eight, six will be advanced on the basis of the public vote and the others will be cut. (This season features a final ten, not a final twelve or thirteen.)  Based on what I saw and heard, it’s going to be a weak final season:

1.  Manny Torres:  He can’t sing but J-Lo thinks he’s cute.

2.  Gianna Isabella:  She sings “I Put a Spell on You” and sings it fairly well, but she still amply demonstrates her inexperience and lack of range. J-Lo gushes about her sassiness and innocence but doesn’t say much about her singing.

3.  Thomas Stringfellow:  Like Season 8 winner Kris Allen, Stringfellow’s a student from Arkansas. Like Sam Woolfe, who got the judges’ save in Season 13, he’s young and green but shines with folksy coffeehouse appeal. He sings “Story of My Life,” but Harry gets critical. After observing how Stringfellow’s voice was cracking on many notes, he adds that only the Cranberries’s singer [Delores O’Riordan] can get away with that gimmick.

4.  Tristian McIntosh:  All of a sudden she’s going in two different marketing directions. First she’s talking about rep’ping country music as a woman of color.  Then, even though she’s singing a Rascal Flatts song, she sounds all alt and soulful and pop, not country in the least. Country judge Keith Urban, however, thinks it’s a beautiful song choice and shows a different side of her.

5.  Avalon Young:  She sounds more country than McIntosh, and she’s doing a gender-inappropriate Chris Brown song, something about the “hottest chick.” Is she striking a blow for sexual freedom or is she just not understanding how to make a proper song choice? J-Lo thinks she belongs in the top ten–but then J-Lo thinks Manny Torres belongs in the top ten, too.

6.  Jenn Blosil:  Earlier in the season, Blosil showed some success by copying Cyndi Lauper’s singing. This evening, however, her quirky character voice provides only a half-baked take on Lauper’s “True Colors.” Harry thinks she’s flawless, however.

7.  Lee Jean:  He can’t sing but J-Lo thinks he’s cute. Simon Crowell would say he was out of his league–and probably caution him about trying to be a song stylist when he’s so new and inexperienced.

8.  Sonika Vaid:  She shows the most range of the female vocalists competing for a Wild Card slot. She belts out a Celine Dion ballad and gives J-Lo goosies.

9.  Jeneve Rose Mitchell:  The teenage country amateur tries to do an Adam Lambert on “Ring of Fire.”  She’s no Adam Lambert. When he sang “Ring of Fire,” he copied a Miriam Makeba recording and transformed the song. She’s just pointlessly dragging the tune out as if she’s unsure of what it is. Harry tells her it’s not her best performance, something he probably should’ve told her back at her audition.

10.  MacKenzie Bourg:  Here’s a singer-songwriter who’s also a brilliant young song stylist. He does his Mayer-like, Matthews-like scatting on a song he composed himself–and the song’s lyrics sound commercial, too.  Is he this season’s Phillip Phillips?

Top Ten are revealed tonight and then they immediately compete to be voted into the final nine.

Scotty Borchetta, perhaps best known for making a star of Taylor Swift, is a guest mentor this year–and I think he may be calling some production shots as well. Host Ryan Seacrest asks him about fans’ votes.  Borchetta says fans of certain genres–such as country–should vote for that genre. How about voting for talent regardless of genre, Mr. Borchetta?

There are ways to vote both by phone and online. Unfortunately the voting information is hard to read for anyone who’s stuck with a small or analog screen. If you can’t go online to find the voting info (including the toll-free phone numbers assigned to each contestant), your vote may be impacted. Disclosure:  I voted for MacKenzie, Sonika, and Thomas Stringfellow.

Tags: American Idol