Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Top 8 are chosen

This week the Top 10 perform and two will go at the end of the show. Gosh, how quickly will this be down to just two people in a Final!

Dalton is announced as first through 'based on your votes' as Ryan says. So that's good to start with.

He sings Radioactive and this might be one of his least interesting performances so far. He tried and did nothing wrong but I just didn't think that suited hi at all. Moderate screams and stuff from the crowd but not explosive as so often they've been. Bearing in mind two have to go home it may be just as well that he was the person receiving the most votes last week.

Keith says more or less the same thing. Nice. The other two agree, complimenting him a lot but also unsure about what he should do. Harry said this was the first time he thought 'what is this guy thinking about today?'

Next, but with Ryan adding 'in no particular order' is Lee Jean. This is another I can see winning. After Dalton's not so great showing Lee has a chance to close the gap. He does Someone Like You, a great track for him that I wouldn't have expected. Very, very good. That worked well and he even put on a bit of a performance for the audience.

Keith wasn't sure about the song choice but Jennifer and Harry were impressed and he really should sail through.

Next up we get three girls and Demi Lovato. That was a bit odd. They all did Complicated, well, a bit of it. Sonika, Olivia and La'Porsha with a line or two each as well. La'Porsha excelled as ever. Demi then went on alone to do Stone Cold which is a dramatic wail of a song that gets applause for her runs when really I didn't think they worked anything like as well as her emotionally held notes. I like Demi and am always impressed by how she pushes boundaries and is really wanting to do 'new' music.

Sonika next. Since you've been gone is supposed to show us her 'bad girl' side. Unfortunately, to get that song right you need to have had a girl / boy friend and to have some clue about what a 'bad girl' might do or want to do. Sonika hasn't had a boyfriend and is a good girl. So that didn't work. She can sing and I like the idea of putting a character in her head which worked brilliantly last week but she'll need to work on that a lot. Not a good performance and it showed a huge problem for her attempt to win this. I would say she will be lucky to survive unscathed this week.

McKenzie has done well so far, with great interpretations of other people's music and very impressive writing of his own. So this week he takes on the Whitney number I Want To Dance With Somebody. Great song. I like his version but that is such an exciting, powerful and almost desperate song in Whitney's hands that it hardly suits the more cheerful message McKenzie's tone brings. So, it was OK and quite clever but not something I'll be wanting to play again.

Keith liked it. That'll help his votes. Jennifer was impressed too. Harry said what I said. I reckon he'll survive and I can see him winning too if he returns to his best style which is without too much backing and being a bit different.

La'Porsha looks about five but is actually one of the few contestants that have lived. A very smart stage set has her standing in front of a wings graphic and that is well done. She is dressed sensibly for her figure too in a very well-designed long dress. Halo is the song and she reinterprets that brilliantly. I can't see anyone beating this lass unless she makes a real error in song choice. Jennifer says she is a hard act to follow for anyone over there waiting to perform. Harry says that 'as always' she knows how to present a song and also play the competition.

Harry Connick Jnr gets a chance to show what he can do and performs his new jazz-influenced number which I think is his new single over in the States at the time of airing. He plays well and the notes, naturally, are in the right place and in key as it is Harry, after all. Having said that, I reckoned he was a bit uninspiring and a bit behind the beat which was odd. Anyway, an OK job but I put his expertise from the chair above his singing ability this evening.

So there will be two more safe and then it's the 'bottom three'. I presume they will all get to perform as how else would the panel judge? I suppose they could work on past performances but it seems cruel that they all had to rehearse and worry for this big Live Show only to discover that they're out. So I am hoping we hear them all.

Trent stays safe too. When A Man Loves A Woman is one classic song and he is note perfect and impressive in places but, overall, that was a bit boring. He tried hard and did seem to put quite a lot of serious emotion into that. He has a new clean look which suits him. Jennifer said she saw Trent and La'Porsha at the end in the Final! I am not so sure she should have said that, which must have hit the others pretty hard. They liked him.

Now, just one more guaranteed safe act. Tristan, Gianna, Avalon or Olivia? I guess Tristan. It is. I was right. The camera loves her. She is so photogenic. She also looks completely different tonight with gently waving long hair and much paler skin even. Go Rest On The High Mountain is one smart song. Scott Barchetta is the guy running the record label that the winner will sing under. He upset Tristan who had chosen something else and that did show her youth and comparative sensitivity but he may have been right as this was superb combination of Country with a bit of religion which she delivered to perfection. Lovely.

Avalon, Olivia and Gianna are the bottom three, one of whom will be saved.

Avalon sings a number by The Weekend that is very 'Harry-like' with a clear jazz feel to it. She is truly excellent but how deep that'll go in Idol terms I am not sure. Actually, the audience give her a lot of support.

Olivia has the look and the style. She choose Trouble by Pink. Last week she was ill so that might have been partially responsible for dropping her down. She really outs on one of the best shows we've seen tonight, definitely, looking and sounding like a pop star. That was good. Lots of vocal ability and clear talent. Harry says the lack of emotion in that performance could make it difficult for them to choose. I got the impression that they will go for Avalon over Olivia but I think Olivia would be the better bet for the record company. Avalon should join Harry and make records as a duo, that would actually work very well and solve a bit of a problem for both of them.

None of this bodes well, though, for Gianna, waiting her turn there. She would need to blow both acts out of the water. Some People is a big song and she starts well. So good to hear someone starting a song well. Unfortunately the next bit starts very low and that is not easy for anyone. She tries and almost succeeds but it is way out of her comfortable range. It is almost a relief when she gets into the mid and higher sections where she is excellent. Before starting she did say how she should 'put on the make-up and jewellery and put on the act so that people will believe her'. That is very telling. She is so young and has simply no experience and cannot honestly put the right emotion into the lyrics.

Deciding has to be difficult but I would say that Gianna simply didn't make it, despite a good performance and mostly accurate notes. Olivia would be my choice as I believe she is real and can do more that the public would love and I can see her competing with the others that are through already. Avalon is possibly the most naturally musical in a way. But is she commercial enough?

Difficult choice. They choose Avalon. That's fair. I wonder what she'll do next? She is, for sure, though, someone who can deliver lyrics and in that sense I am happy to see her back. Tough for Olivia.

Ryan says that there are just five weeks left. If another two go next week it'll be down to the Top 6. Then I would hope it's just Top 5, Top 4, Finale with 3 and Final with 2. It does rather look like La'Porsha has this in the bag from most viewpoints but the American voters are not as predictable as you might think.