'American Idol': Group 2 Takes the Stage for Solo Performances

American Idol XV - Group 2 Solo Round - H 2016
Courtesy of FOX

American Idol XV - Group 2 Solo Round - H 2016

The second half of season 15’s top 24 performed their solo showcases, singing in front of a live audience and judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. As with Group 1, the members of Group 2 also had the chance to share interesting facts about themselves to let viewers get to know a bit more about their personalities.

Shelbie Z has had a pretty bold personality from the beginning, but tonight, she divulged her fear of wet paper. She sang “Work Hard, Play Harder,” and she looked very comfortable onstage, but the judges weren’t crazy about her key choice. Urban pointed out that she lowered the song so that she could hit the big note at the end, but she ended up sacrificing the rest of the song by staying held down in that lower register.

Up next, Manny Torres sang “Adventure Of A Lifetime” by Coldplay. Like Shelbie, he showed a lot of confidence onstage, but it wasn’t the most fitting song choice for him. Lopez and Connick advised him to try to connect more with the audience when he’s singing.

Before his showcase performance, Kory Wheeler showed off his ability to play piano and drums while singing, all at once. He accompanied himself on the piano for his performance of  “Let It Go” by James Bay. Unfortunately, it was a very boring performance. Lopez pointed out that he looked comfortable, which was definitely true, but Wheeler lacks a special spark.

Next, Amelia Eisenhauer sang “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. She looked very uncomfortable onstage until she took the microphone out of the stage and came to life a bit more. The song choice didn’t really suit her, and Connick advised her to start picking “quirkier” songs.

Jenn Blosil sang a slow, stripped-down version of “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, accompanying herself on the piano. She struggled with pitch problems early on, but eventually found the tune. As Lopez pointed out, it was a risky arrangement. Blosil definitely has a beautiful voice and interesting artistry, but she just wasn’t on.

CJ Johnson followed with a performance of “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. The judges thought he connected to the emotions of the song. Still, it wasn’t a very exciting performance, and it’s very unclear exactly who Johnson is as an artist. Like Blosil, he struggled to sing in tune.

Next, Lee Jean sang “Runaway” by Ed Sheeran. Again, it wasn’t quite the right song choice for him (Sheeran songs, in general, are way overdone on this show). Still, Jean was one of the better performers in Group 2. He has the whole package, and he’ll hopefully impress enough in the duets to stay in the competition.

Trent Harmon followed with a performance of “What Are You Listening To” by Chris Stapleton, and Connick was underwhelmed by it, but Urban thought it was finally a strong choice. 

Finally picking up the energy for the night, Tristan McIntosh delivered one of the better performances of the night, singing “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood. She sounded and looked great. The judges didn’t think it was the right song, but at least McIntosh managed to excite, which can’t be said for most of the other performers.

Adam Lasher kept the energy up with his performance of “Black and Gold.” Connick critiqued his guitar playing a bit, and Urban told Lasher he still needs to find out what it is that he does better than anyone else in the competition. Again, they weren’t happy with the song choice — a recurring theme of tonight’s feedback.

Dalton Rapattoni, who always knows how to surprise with his song choices, sang “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol. It was an emotional and gorgeous performance — undoubtedly the best of the night. “It was a great interpretation of that song,” Connick said. Rapattoni stood out and made it clear that he has what it takes to win it all.

Olivia Rox closed out the night with a fun arrangement of “Confident” by Demi Lovato. She ended the night on a strong note, showcasing the power in her voice and her natural confidence onstage, reflected both in the lyrics and her performance of them. “To me, that’s the kind of music you should be doing,” Connick said. Rapattoni and Rox were the last to sing tonight, but they undoubtedly made the best song choices.

What did you think of tonight’s performances? Overall, Group 1 did much better with their solos last week. Tomorrow, Group 2 will perform duets with past Idols.