Consider this a nostalgia trip of sorts. Back when I still was deeply invested in American Idol, blog entries such as this were an annual tradition. I also did weekly reviews whenever time permitted, but I rarely followed through.
So, for old times’ sake, here’s my quick initial ranking of the final season’s Top 10, two of whom will be eliminated in a few hours (Boy, are they in a rush to end things):
#10 – Gianna Isabella. It appears that the judges finally decided to downplay the fact that she’s Brenda K. Starr‘s daughter. While she does a mean version of her mother’s biggest hit (I Still Believe), Beyonce‘s Listen swallowed her whole. For that reason, she’ll likely be one of the first evictees.
#9- Lee Jean. He needs to stop using Ed Sheeran songs as training wheels if he wishes to go further. He did try singing Bon Iver last week. But with a double elimination looming, it might be a case of too little, too late.
#8 – Tristan McKintosh. She calls to mind a younger Alicia Keys but prefers to position herself as a country singer. I don’t buy it. So far, she’s falling flat in that department.
#7 – Sonika Vaid. The judges have been hyping her to high heavens but I don’t see the fuss just yet. She has a strong voice, but still lacks the emotional connection necessary to draw an audience. Bring Me to Life was a step towards the right direction, but she still has lots of loosening up to do.
#6 – Avalon Young. She has a quiet confidence about her and I’ll be bold in saying that she has the most commercially viable voice here. However, her laid-back demeanor is both boon and bane. I have a gnawing inkling that it will soon backfire.
#5 – Trent Harmon – An undisclosed illness made him the first Idol contestant in history to perform solo during the group round. That says a lot about his fighting spirit. His impressive vocal range earned him a free pass into the Top 10, though I feel his hammy theatrics can only bring him so far.
#4 – Olivia Rox – The daughter of jazz artist Warren Hill has come a long way since America’s Got Talent and her vocals are very seasoned for a 17-year-old. The judges really seem to be into her buoyant personality and talent, hence, the fast pass.
#3 – Mackenzie Bourg – He’s a charmer; Season 10’s Lauren Alaina practically flailed over him during the semifinals. Apart from his strong original material, he’ll also likely benefit from the supporters he’s amassed since competing in The Voice.
#2 – Dalton Rapattoni – He’s easily the most versatile and charismatic performer here, having tackled Billy Idol, Plain White Ts, and even Phantom of the Opera. He may be trying too hard to shake off his boy band roots, but he’s the likeliest to appeal to the show’s demographic.
#1 – La’Porsha Renae – Her vocal prowess alone puts her head, shoulders, and cauliflower afro above the rest. But in a contest dominated by males in 7 out of 8 previous seasons, this single mom needs to constantly outdo herself to sustain her lead. Let’s face it, though. Having a talent of her caliber in the mix makes the formality of weekly eliminations feel more tedious. Now that the show is closing its 15-year run, this season needs a memorable winner who will end an era with a bang – and not to mention, last in the industry. La’Porsha appears to have those qualifications.