Tonight there were two rounds of music with songs picked by the fans. Ryan introduced the Top 6.
• The first who made it through and got to perform was Trent Harmon. He sang "Counting Stars" by One Republic, clapping a beat as he stood at a mike stand, wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and black pants. The song was a strange choice, not the best showcase for his voice. It felt very rushed. Keith Urban felt that Trent wasn't really engaged with the song, and the song didn't suit him. Jennifer Lopez thought he did everything he could with it to bring the audience in. Harry Connick Jr. said the clapping made it feel like a hoe-down. He agreed, though, that it was a tough song for him, but "you did the best you could with it."
• Next to perform was Dalton Rapattoni, who sang "Numb" by Linkin Park, accompanying himself on guitar, wearing a gray flannel shirt, white T-shirt and jeans. They were doing some interesting effects behind him, showing an image of him in green outline. Another regrettable song choice: almost tuneless and very emotionally flat. Jennifer said the song felt like he was just skating through it; it needed more excitement. Harry thought he poured his guts into the lyric. He told him to stay in the pocket with the guitar playing; he'd been ahead of the beat. Keith said he would have stripped it down even more.
• Then it was La'Porsha Renae's turn. She sang "Ready for Love" by India.Arie, wearing an outfit inspired by African garments, flowing in pastels. She was joined onstage by the band, with her soaring, controlled vocals -- combined with clouds of dry-ice smoke -- creating a heavenly effect. Harry found the song fleeting and mournful, perfectly suiting the song. Keith was captivated by the performance. Jennifer thought everything was perfect, from her outfit to the vocals.
• Taking a break from the competition, Jussie Smollett and Yaz, stars of the show "Empire," performed "Never Let It Die" with the Top 6, all clad in black leather.
• MacKenzie Bourg sang the Cat Stevens song "Wide World," starting in the audience wearing a red jacket with banded collar, a white and black printed button-down shirt, and dark jeans. His version of the song was bouncy, almost a little reggae-inspired, and it reminded me of the kind of song that would be perfect to listen to on a bright, sunny day. It didn't have any of the wistful sadness contained in the lyrics, though. Jennifer said she'd enjoyed every moment. Keith used another metaphor, comparing him to cake batter: "Even when you aren't fully cooked, you're still good." Harry felt the song was a good choice for him but would have stuck to the melody more.
• Then, competing for the last judge's save of the season were the bottom two. First was Tristan McIntosh, singing at the piano and accompanied onstage by a couple musicians. The song was just sort of one volume all the way through: loud. Jennifer advised her to try different things: "We're just seeing the same performance over and over." Harry thought only time would help her to improve her gift. "It was OK." Keith told her that the next level will be to play with the arrangement more, to either strip a song down or go even bigger.
• Finally, it was Sonika Vaid's turn, singing Demi Lovato's "Let It Go," in a black jacket over a silver skirt, aided by a wind machine and lights that looked like snowflakes falling. The vocals were a bit off tonight, with some pitch issues. However, she basically ripped out Tristan's heart and showed it to her. Harry thought it was a smart choice of song and felt it was very strong. He said she needs to practice singing with a strong underscoring of the band. Keith called the performance beautiful. Jennifer called her fierce and a fighter. She finds it exciting to watch her grow.
• Keith announced they would like Sonika to come back, which meant Tristan was cut.
• For the second round, Dalton sang "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garunkel, standing in front of a ring of fire, clad all in black. Very emo. Sort of a neo-punk version of the song, which made it very interesting, almost a brand-new song. Keith says it's an amazing song, and he did the lyrics justice. Jennifer thought it was very powerful. Harry called him a graffiti artist who makes of songs what he wants.
• Adam Lambert came back for a second appearance, performing his new single, "Welcome to the Show," featuring Laleh. Spellbinding.
• For his second song, MacKenzie sang "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, wearing a brown and black striped short-sleeved button-down and skinny dark jeans, accompanying himself on the car with no other accompaniment from the band. There was a little bit of dry ice smoke surrounding him. His acoustic version of the song got it exactly right: paying attention to the sentiment behind the lyrics. Jennifer said she was riveted the whole time. Harry said it was strong, and it was his wheelhouse. Keith said he's a big fan.
• Trent sang "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, standing at the microphone in a black and brown checked shirt, buttoned all the way up, dark jeans and a brown brimmed hat, backed by the band. His version of the song was slowed-down and a little gospel inflected, a much better showcase for his voice than the first song. Harry said there's an essence about him that's very Southern and "your essence comes out," which is very appealing. Keith said the song was lyrically perfect for him. Jennifer said that it's moments like this that are why she's going to miss "Idol," having a front-row seat to performances like this.
• For her second song, Sonika sang "Clarity" by Zedd featuring Foxes. She had a golden headband on and wore a black bustier and tight black pants. Again, she had multiple pitch issues. Keith felt it was a good song for her and advised her to keep letting it go: "Be raw, be real, be you." Jennifer didn't love the song for her. She needs to find balance in her performances, she said. Harry said she seems like a nice, wonderful person, and he liked that even better than the song. Hmm.
• La'Porsha finished out the night with "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige, in a black and purple shiny jacket, black pants, and a black shirt. The song matched perfectly with her video package, about how she'd escaped an abusive relationship. She was certainly feeling the lyrics, and she projected strength, catharsis and touches of both joy and sadness. Amazing. Jennifer gave her a standing ovation, and La'Porsha broke down in tears a little bit right after she sang. Jennifer told her, "It takes a lot to overcome." She called her an inspiration, making it powerful without overdoing it. Ryan cut the comments off, then, because they were out of time, but said Jennifer had said it all. Keith also chimed in, called it inspiring.
- Current Mood: content
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