Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Final Final.

The Final. This is it. The last ever American Idol show. Either Trent or La'Porsha will be crowned the winner and neither will be heard of a great deal outside the States. We will, however, celebrate the stars that have emerged, often not the winners, over the years. I am not sure we'll hear much of any of this year's crop but, if anyone, it will be Dalton who stands the best chance of lasting fame.

The start is a terrible white suit affair and best forgotten! As should be the attempt by Trent and La'Porsha to make It Takes Two interesting.

What was quite entertaining, apart from a walk on part for the very first host, was the lengthy performance by lots of finalists from the past 15 years. I expect we were all looking out for our favourites. I wonder how many more we'll see throughout the evening.

I had to smile at Pants On The Ground or whatever the title was of the crazy track some guy who didn't get far at all but had a great appeal a few seasons ago! No real stand-outs amongst the oldies, though, to be honest, with many just trying a bit too hard to be noticed or remembered.

The producers really have got their mileage out of Kelly Clarkson, their first winner and one of the major successes of course. She recorded a sort of compilation of her big numbers which gets shown tonight.

A pile of rockers next and nearly all had finished far higher than the balladeers we saw earlier. Chris Daughtry, Caleb Johnson, Constantine, Bo Dice and Josh Durbin stood out,

Keith Urban gets the hot ticket in AI history with the lovely Carrie Underwood doing Stop Dragging My Heart Around.

Next we get the Country boys and girls. Scotty McCririck, of course, leading way there. Lauren Alaina was doing a fine job too, I was looking for the cutely amusing one who was in Season 5 and went on to become pretty famous, the delightful Kellie Pickler.

Katherine MacPhee is another spectacular singer who was runner-up in an early edition and has since done very well in an acting career. She gets a star spot as do several other talented finalists of old. Clay Aitken is looking old but still has a voice and fans. Ruben Stoddard, who beat Clay is teamed up with Amber who I think I remember from last year and expected to do far better than she did. Jessica Sanchez is very impressive and gets a good length solo spot which was well-deserved. I have to say that she was easily the most memorable of all in that segment.

Prior to the these, Harry Connick Jnr had taken the stage with a young girl. They sang Wonderful World but, oddly for Harry, it was not good. I don't know who the young girl was and wonder whether there was a particular reason for his performing with her that might excuse the very off key singing that she produced. He has always been the one seeking precision and that amazed me that he should even allow that to happen. presumably they had had a rehearsal or two so he'd have known what to expect. I shall assume that she was not someone expected to sing well and this was more a statement or sympathy thing than a singing performance.

I am quite relieved that we're not getting one song after another from the two finalists. I suppose we'll have to get something from them sooner or later as finals are usually inundated with the protagonists' efforts.

The girl was Marlie, by the way.

Jennnifer Lopez gets her spot now. She'll be good. She works very hard and runs two numbers energetically on stage in possibly the most professional performance of the evening. Full of her Latin American verve and she ends with a remarkable (but not very good) climax. The cameraman had to zoom out or focus elsewhere a few times with so many teens in America watching who aren't supposed to be aware of certain things.

The three divas, Jennifer Hudson, Latoya and Fantasia perform.

Then we get some Motown. Nice but I didn't catch any of the names. I'm wondering of one was Philip Phillips who I haven't seen so far elsewhere. Nor Kris Allen or David Cooke, other winners. No Crystal Bowersox yet, a runner-up, and where is Adam Lambert? I'm pretty sure he'll be along soon enough. I have also missed the very talented and delightful Didi Benami.

Fantasia gets a solo. Nice job. Latoya London gets Taylor Hicks, the weird winner. Joshua Ledet gets a good solo spot with A Man's World. Then it's big sing-a-long quite badly time with Candice Glover and Melinda Dolittle. God, that was awful. How did Candice win?

I have managed to avoid all social media that might give away the winner of this last Season. I have a feeling, though, that it will be Trent Harmon. I reckon he will have the broader appeal across the mass that is America. La'Porsha will feel hard done by if that happens but should still pick up a contract. She has been the one to beat throughout the Season, although coming in the Bottom Three at least once makes me wonder just how far her fans were, in fact, spread.

Before we find out it's a tribute to David Bowie. That's where Phillip Phillips comes in! With Lee Dewyze, David Cook, Kris Allena nd Nick Fradiani - all winners and the ones I had been missing as it happens. It's a bit average, though. One would have worked better.

Where's Hayley Reinhart?

Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson return to acknowledge Ryan Seacrest as being the one person who has lasted throughout the 15 Seasons. He gets a huge American Idol sign as a gift! As Randy and Paula remember old times, Simon Cowell appears and they are all genuinely surprised!

Carrie gets another slot. Performing Something In The Water, she is looking and sounding marvellous. She has a totally meaningless and quite annoying light show going on all around which we could definitely do without.

Time to make the announcement. Yes, I'd guessed right. It's Trent. He seems pretty shocked at first but actually holds himself together very well and puts on a good performance bearing in mind the circumstances. Ryan does the farewell and struggles with the words.

So that is it. Once and for all.

I have enjoyed the ride and will miss this chance to see talent across The Pond. In a week when X Factor USA's Fifth Harmony are in the Top 3 in the UK charts it will be interesting to see who makes it next.

That... was American Idol.

Monday, 11 April 2016

The penultimate show make it Boy v Girl for the Final.

Trent kicks off the first part of the Final with what would be his 'winner's single'. Falling does suit his voice almost perfectly and flows along OK. I can't get excited about it and it seems to me the sort of track that goes up the charts but drops out pretty soon afterwards. it is missing something. But it has an instant appeal that won't do Trent any harm at all.

Trent will get middle America's vote big time. Despite Dalton's pop talent and La'Porsha's much-expected win, I still see Trent with a strong chance on the public vote there.

Dalton's song is much more impressive, as is his perfprmance. he looks and sounds like someone who wants to win, to perform and entertain. Not sure of the title. May be Cross My Heart. An excellent start but, again, it isn't something I would rush to download. Far better than Trent's performance but Dalton really will need every single teen fan to keep voting to stay in this thing.

He strikes me as the one who will get the most chart success over the years to come and I am sure he'll get a contract from someone come what may. He could also make it here in the UK with the right marketing as we haven't really got anyone like him, with the energy and appeal and genuine ability to get the lyrics across.

Oops. 4Music, the channel showing the series here this year, ahve just shown a trailer for the final to be shown here tomorrow. Who will win American Idol? the voice asks, Trent or La'Porsha? And there is a picture of the two centre screen in the ad.

That obviously wasn't intended to give the game away but it looks like Dalton's run ends here. Shame.

La'Porsha does her single. Again, I can't give you a title but it was a good commercial number and suited her well. Not particularly memorable and her performance was very 'normal'.

In what seems a mad rush to the result now, Ryan announces that La'Porsha is through. Then he follows with the news we already now know that Trent is the other one. Poor Dalton is out. An incredible artist and performer says Ryan. That's true. He was my winner. I hope he moves further on now. There will, of course, be the Idol tour where he can continue to earn and impress record people.

So now it's just the two. Trent chooses the classic If You Don't Know Me By Now for his own song. He knows this one well, you can tell. It's a good performance although I could do without the wailing. He has his work cut out to match La'Porsha, whatever she chooses.

There is little doubt that La'Porsha is the 'natural' winner but I remember Kris Allen beating Adam Lambert and this has the same feel about it. He is quite like an amalgam of several winners in the past. A sort of Mr Average Idol. We really will not get to know much about him at all, I'm afraid, over here, or, for that matter, anywhere outside the States. La'Porsha, too, is unlikely to reach out of her home nation so, in that sense either will be an 'American' idol, period.

I have sort of lost interest in the competition now. The bits about previous contestants, judges and production team etc. are interesting, though. I'll watch the final, of course, and hope for something special but suspect that the best moments will be from the guests. I wonder if Simon will be back.

La'Porsha sings A House Is Not A Home. She is very well made-up and dressed by the makeover team. Good job. That dark blue shade is perfect and may well get her a bundle of votes on its own. Her performance is a bit rambling and not one of her best. That makes several recently that have been going down rather than reaching a climax. She will need something better tomorrow or Trent will steal this thing on song choice.

Round Three. Trent finishes his night with Sia's Chandelier. Something modern for a change. Tough song but he is note perfect and really does a tremendous job with that. He is certainly making a major effort to challenge La'Porsha. The crowd is very impressed too.

La'Porsha does Diamonds, the track Rihanna made famous. I am not so sure I didn't prefer her first effort at this. This one seems a bit overdone. It's odd but just as Trent is coming to the boil, this girl seems to be cooling off quite a lot. I disagree with the judges compliments on this one. It was OK. No more.

So we'll know tomorrow how this ends. You probably know already. I haven't published any videos this time because I just know that if I go looking I'll see the result! Sorry!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

It's anyone's guess now as the Top 3 are announced

I have had to avoid Twitter all week. That is the problem with following this show in the UK, trying to avoid the news! Normally I fail miserably and then have to try and write reviews as if it is all a surprise. This year, I can genuinely say that I do not know who makes the final three. I am assuming that there will one more week when the Final comes and we all know who wins so that is the week I have to go into hibernation big time.

My guess is that La'Porsha, Mackenzie and Trent are the ones that make it. My personal preference would be for Dalton to be there and win the thing. So let's see.

Three rounds. First a Home Town performance. Second their own choice. Third the Judges' choices.

Mackenzie may seem to be the weakest competitor remaining but remember Phillip Phillips? American Idol seems to favour the less obvious stars on many occasions. Adam Lambert lost out to little David, of whom little has been heard of since over here! Even here on X Factor we have had some odd winners, like Leon Jackson, never to be heard of again, and The Voice is almost famous for not making winners famous in this country! He is also very original, writes his own stuff and that I admire and respect. He could be a success with some marketing support and, judging by the early tracks we heard during auditions, he may have what it takes to move into what is currently a popular folk-rock genre. So I am saying that Mackenzie needs to be there.

His song is the classic Hallelujah. Nice choice. I am never sure about this song as a soft option, though. My preference is the original and most since have been a bit soft or commercial. This is good but I didn't really feel moved by the song as others have done before. Not at all bad, though, and it hasn't been that much done in American Idol so the public may like it and I am sure it won't harm his chances. 'Nice job', as Harry says.

Dalton, as I have said, is the one I feel should win. He has a natural talent, looks good on screen and I can imagine him capturing a huge bundle of fans and enjoying his fame, reaching across the Atlantic to UK too. he really should get the whole of the teen vote. I particularly like how he understands what is going on on stage and what he needs to do and show when performing. He is bright and I do hope he makes it, however tough that will be on one of the others. He is the star in many ways and would serve the brand well in future.

His song is Calling You. It's not one I recognise. But it is 2016, modern and coms across as a real performance that enlivens the audience. He can work with the camera too and that was great, Is it his last, though? The vote has already been taken so nothing he does now will make any difference. He was good. Jennifer says it'll be interesting to see where he goes during the night. What does she know? I am sure the judges do know and I am looking for a hint. I didn't see a sign that he's going. But it will be a close call.

Trent deserves his place here but I think he would be the one I would put in 4th place. He has been really good, he hasn't put a foot or note wrong all the way through but he hasn't been, how can I put it, very interesting. He has all the 'classic' American, all American Boy stuff going for him and that has to count for something and has launched many previous winners. So it really is anybody's game this year and he stands as good a chance as anyone of making it through.

His song I didn't recognise either but it was a classic sort of ballad that suited him well. I didn't think it suited a young audience that well but many will have appreciated his superb delivery and spot-on tuning throughout. the judges were very complimentary.

Now Trent has said that his family would only come to the show if he made the Final. Ryan surprises him big time by bringing them on stage! Quite what that means I don't know. If I were Trent I'd be assuming that theyw ere brought in to make at least this show as the numbers were looking close for him. However, this might just be a bluff by Idol producers to get us to assume he hasn't made it. And, to be honest, at this stage, if I were his dad I would have insisted on coming as it really is anyone who could be going home now.

La'Porsha seems to be a shoe-in to the Final and, in many people's books, the title too. I can see torms hat. She has been pretty amazing and is certainly one hell of a good singer and she can interpret lyrics very well with all the suffering she's had in the past. I do have a doubt, though, about where she'll fit in in the modern pop world. She'll sell well amongst the over 30s for sure but unless she can bring some new flavour of soul and Motown to the 21st Century and today's charts I just see her as an album seller who will do well but just never get that well known outside a limited area. I would still put money on her winning, though!

She performs Glory very well indeed. The judges didn't want to critique her any more as she is just so good.

Ryan announces who is through.

Trent is first to be announced. And yes! Dalton makes it!! La'Porsha too. So Mackemzie goes. He's done well, though, and should get a contract anyway. He'd better.

It seems that La'Porsha may not have won the public vote and the producers must be a bit worried about that. I think there would have been a revolt had she not made the Final. I also feel she will have to make the Top 2, come what may.

So now they can relax a bit and do the mentor's choice. Bruce Springstein's great Dancing In The Dark is ideal for Dalton. Nice choice. He starts well, slowly but then burst into a really fast and spiced up version that set the stage and audience alight. Jennifer was almost uncontrollable and we learn at the end that she was almost reasy to be dragged on stage to join Dalton. Now that would have been a moment but, of course, not quite as even-handed as the panel needs to be I suppose! That was good. Too short, ending a bit weakly, but good. It won't have lost him any of his fans and may even have brought in some new ones who were supporting Mackenzie. Now he can win this thing, especially bearing mind the vulnerability of La'Porsha's support in terms of actual votes.

La'Porsha gets Stay With Me Baby which she puts her heart and soul into. An excellent cover but I wouldn't rush to see that again. She probably won't either as we discover later that she really didn't like the lyrics of a woman begging a man to stay with her. Now there is something going on here that I am not so sure all of America will appreciate. The song is fair enough, lyrically, for a girl who does love someone that much. If La'Porsha doesn't like it never mind. The judges spot that she was 'acting'. Interesting.

Oh dear, what has the mentor guy given to Trent? It's a Justin Timberlake number I Can Drink You Away. Rubbish. Not at all a pleasant noise. He did his best but I didn't like that at all. He had a guitar but no-one actually knows why. To be fair he gets a lot of credit for how he sang and worked with the band. he is good at that.

Keith Urban ings his new single Wasted Time. He's had 20 No.1s over there apparently. Gosh!

That was pretty good, with a double guitar thing that was an electric banjo as well as a guitar.

Back to the competition. For Dalton the judges choose Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Why? That was average and, as Jennifer points out, the key was low and it didn't work. There was not the energy and Dalton had droped it because he wasn't sure about hitting the notes in a higher key. The ending was dreadful, though, and I think everyone knew that so he is very much relying upon his first two (thankfully impressive) performances. The panel really didn't do him any favours there. It's an old song, stuck in the 80s and no amount of Daltonization can drag it back here and now.

La'Porsha is next and I am sure the panel will have chosen better for her. Yes, they play very safe with Adele's Hello. No problem there at all. She does that very well and you know she'll be through. If it's at Dalton's expense then he should demand a contract anyway!

Trent gets a decent track too. it isn't one I know but suits him very well. A far better performance than the others. He ought to stand a good chance and I reckon the votes could be close all round between the three. Nice choice. Keith chose it and he is talented at putting people and tracks together.

So that's it. Voters will by now have chosen the two who get to perform in the Final itself, although there'll be two shows: the Top 3 going to 2 Show and the Final itself. I wouldn't want to call this one. I am tempted to say Trent may take this after all. I would like Dalton to win. La'Porsha is the one expected to win. You choose, America.

Now to avoid Twitter and any site that may bear the news of the shows now being shown over there.