'American Idol': Artists Fight for Six Remaining Spots in Top 10

American Idol XV - Top 14 - H 2016
Courtesy of FOX

American Idol XV - Top 14 - H 2016

After last week’s showcase solos and duets, judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. narrowed the contestant pool of American Idol’s farewell season to 14 remaining artists. Tonight, America finally gets to take control. But first, the judges announced the four artists that they decided to put on the fast-track to the Top 10. Tonight’s votes will determine who will fill the remaining six spots in the farewell season’s Top 10.

At the top of the show, Ryan Seacrest brought the contestants out and had the judges announced which four lucky singers got to advance without having to sing tonight. After deliberations throughout the past week, the judges unanimously voted to send Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon and La’Porsha Renae. The 10 remaining artists were left to sing for those last six spots. For their performances, they re-sang songs from their personal favorite moments of the season so far.

First up was Manny Torres, singing “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder. He showcased his natural abilities to perform, and it was a fun way to start the night. But while the energy was good, it just wasn’t the right song choice (again). Torres hasn’t yet shown what makes him different or special.

Gianna Isabella once again sang “I Put A Spell On You.” Her first performance of the song was definitely her best moment of the competition so far, but she beat her personal best tonight, bringing even more energy and emotion to the song and definitely casting her spell on the audience and cameras.

She was followed by Thomas Stringfellow singing “Story Of My Life,” which he picked the first time around because of the emotions brought on by his breakup that happened early in the season. The song showcases a lot of Stringfellow’s strengths, but Connick cautioned him against cracking his voice at the end of every note. It might be his thing, but if he overdoes it, it just sounds like bad technique. Only Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, can get away with that, according to Connick.

“In country music, there aren’t a lot of women of color,” Tristan McIntosh said before taking the stage for the next performance. She hopes to change the landscape of the genre, and she shows a very strong point of view as an artist. She sang “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts, and in addition to having beautiful vocals, she brought a strong emotional connection to the performance.

Next, Avalon Young performed “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” and she showed that she has only become more and more confident on stage over time. Lopez described the performance as “smooth like butter.” Young is different, but different is exactly what the farewell season needs. Young consistently delivers strong and interesting performances and deserves a spot in the Top 10.

Jenn Blosil followed, singing “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, and it was her best performance to date. She dazzled with her vocals and her stage presence. “That was a flawless lyric delivery,” Connick said. 

Lee Jean sang “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran, accompanying himself on the guitar. Sheeran songs always end up being a good fit for Jean, who despite his young age seems to have a very strong idea of who he is as an artist. In tonight’s performance, it looked like he was really feeling what he was singing, and that’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Sonika Vaid sang for America’s vote next, choosing “I Surrender” by Celine Dion. She had so much power behind her vocals, and she didn’t miss a single note, nailing her runs. “The way your voice sits in the music is so out of this world,” Lopez said. Vaid has one of the best voices in the competition.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell sang “Ring Of Fire” again, and she again brought her interesting personal sound to it. Connick noted that her talent is different than anyone else in the competition, but he also expressed concerns that not everyone might “get it.” It wasn’t her best performance, but it still showcased what makes Mitchell the artist she is.

MacKenzie Bourg closed out the night, singing his own original song that he sang earlier this season. It’s a fantastic song and really shows off his abilities as a singer-songwriter. Bourg’s impressive artistry makes him a valuable contestant this season, and it’s hard to imagine the Top 10 without him.

Tomorrow night, the results of tonight’s voting will be revealed, and four contestants will be sent home. Then the final Top 10 will perform. Who secured your vote tonight?