Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Top 4

You know, this is as good as a Final in many ways. Five good contestants and I could imagine any one taking the title.

Favourite out there is probably La'Porsha who has put a foot wrong so far but I still wonder just how successful she would be as a long term record selling artist. She is superb as a singer but lacks something on stage and on camera that might hold her back and I am not so sure the Country lands would vote for her,

Next in my book and my own prediction to win is Dalton. He has something of Adam Lambert about him but, while he is not quite so perfect vocally, he has a great personality and a very individual and cool way to present material. He would also be popular across the planet with the right backing.

Then there's the remarkable Mackenzie. He writes very good songs and that should nean he deserves success in the future. He is popular and has a back story that many will appreciate. In the same way that Phillip Phillips sneaked in at the end so too might Mackenzie.

Sonika is the one who just made it to the last five. She is attractive and sings almost anything very well and I can see her going down well across the land. She lacks conviction - I don't think she's had much experience of life - and that shows sometimes in the interpretation of emotions in lyrics. I feel she is the least likely to make the Top 4 but she'll be pleased to make No.5 anyway.

The other candidate is good ol' Trent. I would not have put him in the last few based on early auditions but the guy has grown on me since and I have to admire his very good tuning and how he works with the songs. He has a great range, is more accurate than Dalton and has a lot of support out there. A good 'all American boy' too - he would be a popular choice for the last American Idol. Having said that, he just lacks that presence and magic that La'Porsha and Dalton possess and that's not something you can manufacture. I don't think he would export to places like UK or Europe either.

So, let's see how they do.

La'Porsha starts with a Bon Jovi number. I am not sure that suits her. She is most definitely not a cowboy and so the lyrics sounded odd, as did the tempo and general feel which was not what we're familiar with from this girl. I hope they have more than one track as that will not help her cause. Having said that, rumour has it that she is so far out there that it won't actually make any difference. Scott is already printing the CD covers. I didn't like that at all, though.

Mackenzie Bourg is next to make the Top 4. Cheap Trick's I Want You To Want Want Me is presented in his pleasant and easy-going style. I like the chap and this suits him. It didn't have a wow factor and may have been a bit over-produced with a lot going on in the background. I would have preferred him on his own or less heavily backed. A better job than La'Porsha and, as Harry said, it was 'all right'.

Keith says he hated the arrangement. After I'd written my bit! Nice to see I get some things right.

A past winner, David Cook, performs Heartbeat which I guess is a new single for him in the States. I liked him a lot in 2009 when he won but have heard almost nothing of him here in the UK since. He is jolly good and in this time of Mumfords and similar he could do well on this side of the Pond if his record people would bother trying. This particular track seems to be going nowhere until two-thirds the way through when it erupts and is quite impressive after all. It is one of those rare tracks that you want to play again almost before the first play ends. Nice. Come on SYCO or The Cook Record Company whoever you are, get him over here in 2016, OK.

Two places left. Who gets the first? I'm guessing Trent. Yes, although I don't agree with Ryan referring to Dalton and Sonika as the 'Bottom two'. I do hope that they weren't. Well, Sonika may have been but surely not Dalton? Anyway, Trent shows that he deserves his place in the Top 4 with a super version of ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man. I would never have expected that from him and he did really well, adding 'swampy' to the rock song. He 'muddied it up' and that worked well for him. Very smart, as Harry told him. A nice performance. The crowd loved it and that will do him proud. Unexpected and may see him through further than I might have thought. Good move. Best so far.

Dalton is the one that makes the last place. And he was in the Bottom Two with Sonika. Sad to see her go but it makes sense, looking at the talent she is competing with.

Dalton's song is God Only Knows, the great Beach Boys number. He 'Daltonizes' it, of course, slowing it right down and trying hard to pull in the audience. However, it was a bit weak. He should have attracted all his fans with that and he seemed genuinely emotional so maybe that will bring in a few much-needed votes for next week. His arrangement was good. He is a natural performer. He said he was 'a bit shook up' when Ryan questioned him afterwards and you can tell that he will be really disappointed not to make the Final. He has made the Final 4, though and that counts.

Very nice to see Katharine McPhee on stage singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. The microphone was catching some noise as she sang which spoilt it a bit. She has done very well since with a career in film and TV series which is probably earning her far more than even winning would have brought. She is gorgeous in Scorpion.
I seem to remember that Sia was to act as a mentor in a programme and we did see a glimpse of her with Sonika. Ah, as I write this she is appearing and we see that she is working with each of the four to do one of her own songs. Sia has a remarkable skill and has written so many tracks for top acts across the world. She is good. I dislike the wigs but that's just a thing.

La'Porsha sings Elastic Heart. She does it well - pretty much as Sia would have presented it, but that is no bad thing. Nice job and I imagine she'll sail through to the Top 3.
Mackenzie chooses Titanium. Not my favourite song as so many seem to do it and usually finish up wailing annoyingly. His version is one of the better ones. I still don't think it suits him and I'm not sure he didn't decide not to risk some notes along the way. Quite good but I do feel he could have done a lot better and he needs to beat Dalton and Trent.
Dalton really should do Sia well. I can imagine him interpreting her stuff exactly as both she and he would like and he ought to be more confident too.

Sia performs what I think was Cheap Thrills. Brilliant, brilliant dancers and set design. I am tired of her face-hiding stuff now. It seems more a gimmick than a statement. She is superbly talented and really needs to forget all that. I am sure the way she actually looks will not affect anything. I think she initially didn't want to be successful just because she was a pretty Australian blonde but judged on her music instead. Interestingly, though, she has used the device of an attractive and very sexy dancer in most videos I've seen which I am sure has increased the initial impact of the early tracks. I remember being enthralled by a couple of videos and may not have noticed her otherwise. I even though she was the girl dancing for a while!
OK, back to people with faces. Trent is singing Chandelier,  which Sia says is her favourite song. Trent does an amazingly good version of this and my guess is that he seals his own Top 3 place ther and then. He really does show Mackenzie just what was required. One of the Season's 'moments' I feel. Well done, Trent. Every single note was right and that was not an easy song by any stretch of the imagination. The timbre and timing were just, as Harry said, phenomenal. Very difficult but he gave it 100/100 and, from Harry, that's one hell of a complement.
Dalton is closing the show with Bird Set Free. Another damn difficult track and not as commercial as the others have been. They won't be as well remembered, perhaps. I was genuinely moved watching this. he really did mean thse lyrics - every word and he chose so well a less than famous track. He moved the audience too and may just have knocked some of the sparkle off Trent's performance. He will be remembered.


I do hope he makes it through. So many people say they 'need this'. He genuinely does. Keith tells us how he is up against some insane talent and yet he has that conviction and inspires us all. Keith would rather hear Dalton's inspiring efforts than someone else's perfection. He doesn't say whose perfection he was thinking about, of course!

This is one hell of a competition and a great way to end the series. There will be tears.