American Idol

American Idol 2016 Live Blog and Recap: Top 3 Revealed, Perform For Your Votes (VIDEO)

Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 2016, “Top 3 Revealed and Perform”! Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. continue the search for the final American Idol!

It’s the final week before the finale, and the remaining four contestants each headed to their respective hometowns for a visit! It’s an emotional homecoming for each of the finalists, but we still have to say goodbye to one of them for good, as one of either MacKenzie Bourg, La’Porsha Renae, Dalton Rapattoni or Trent Harmon will be eliminated!

But who do Rickey.org readers think will be eliminated?

According to our official prediction poll, it’ll be the end of the road for MacKenzie Bourg, whom 50.36% of our readers are predicting to be eliminated. Joining him in the Bottom 2 is Dalton Rapattoni, whom 28.13% of our readers are predicting. After a rough start on predictions for the season, our readers have been on a streak for a couple weeks now. Could they get it right once again? Is this really it for MacKenzie?

Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary and videos of the highlight performances as soon as they become available!

American Idol 2016 Live Blog and Recap Top 3 Revealed, Perform For Your Votes (VIDEO)

Credit: FOX

Let’s get this show on the road!

RECAP

-We’re live! I’m loving J-Lo’s hair tonight. I have no idea why I’m saying that, but I feel like it bears mentioning. Sure, she’s always pretty, but what am I going to do, talk about results? You know we aren’t getting those any time soon. As if Ryan is already in a rush, we kick off with the first of the hometown visits…

MACKENZIE BOURG opens the show!

-MacKenzie’s hometown visit is really endearing, as he visits the pediatric ICU where he was admitted for a heart condition in his youth. He even meets the physician who saved his life. He gives a speech to the kids in the pediatric unit, reminding them that their journey doesn’t have to end here. He then breaks down during his hometown parade, overwhelmed by all the love pouring out for him. He performs for his hometown crowd and even signs a basketball. His song tonight is a dedication to his hometown crowd…

-MacKenzie sings “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (albeit the Jeff Buckley version), and it’s exactly as pretty as you’d think it’d be. It’s his most heartfelt performance, and one of his most emotional vocals, complete with his mother breaking down in the audience (which, in this case, means the contestant couch, where each finalist has a member of their family sitting with them. So cute).

-Keith loved that song for MacKenzie, feeling it was the perfect fit. Jennifer calls it “classic MacKenzie,” and Harry praises MacKenzie’s growth throughout the competition. I don’t know that MacKenzie has grown that much, but he’s been one of the more consistent performers in the competition, and I appreciate that.

-We get a neat video package in which the Idols get to tour the FOX studio lot and get a sneak preview of the new Ice Age movie. They then get to record some voices in a fun studio session with Ray Romano. Surprisingly, Dalton is MADE for this, knocking it out of the ballpark with his voiceover. Back in the studio, Jennifer Lopez (who has a role in the movie) reveals that the winner of American Idol this year will record a song for the movie. That’s a pretty smart idea. I mean, if you can’t get a full album out right away, and the winner’s single isn’t particularly great, I don’t see the harm in getting a single out there that’s linked to a movie that will likely be fairly popular. If nothing else, it helped keep Adam Lambert in the public conscious when he recorded “Time For Miracles” for the movie 2012 just months after the Season 8 finale.

DALTON RAPATTONI is up next!

-Dalton is stoked to be going home to North Texas in a private jet, and his local FOX affiliate interviewer makes a good point: the first winner of Idol was from North Texas — could the last winner hail from North Texas too? In a cute moment, Dalton goes to his grandmother’s salon and gets his hair done, while fangirls of all ages go nuts for him. He then visits the School of Rock, where he works with kids. One of his students, Kylie, has a pretty great voice for her age, singing Adele’s “Someone Like You” with confidence. Much like MacKenzie, Dalton cries on his way home to visit his family. It’s just adorable, as Dalton’s dad lets him know how proud he is, and he and his mother enjoy some of her famous ketchup-and-grape jelly meatballs (“Don’t knock it til you try it!”). He struggles with his emotions again during his homecoming parade, declaring this “The best day of my life.” So emotional.

-Dalton sings “Calling You” by Blue October for his hometown dedication, and I feel he’s way more confident now than he was last week. It’s almost as if the old Dalton is back! I don’t know this song, but I’m glad he introduced it to me, because this is a perfect match for his sensibilities. It’s not his greatest vocal, but I love the purity and straightforward quality of his voice. No crazy runs or vocal gymnastics or falsetto, just good, straight-up pop/rock-style vocals. His moves on the stage could probably use work, but then again, it’s really charming to see him flail around up there, because you know he’s just feeling the music.

-Jennifer says it all sank in after watching his hometown visit, as she feels he now realizes he has a chance to make it to the end. “There was a little bit of a freedom here, like, ‘Okay, I belong here,'” she says. She’ll be interested to see where he goes the rest of the night. Harry thinks Dalton is great with lyrics, and feels he could have done anything with that arrangement. “You’re a smart guy. You think about the words, and you think about the whole performance,” he states. Keith feels that both Dalton and MacKenzie are really showing what they do as artists, going as far as to call that the best “Daltonization” of any song yet. After the performance, Dalton explains that he picked the song because he learned about Blue October from his hometown, since they’re somewhat local. He says that particular song helped him figure out who he is, and it has a lot of meaning to him for that reason. Ryan then asks him about the ketchup and grape jelly meatballs, and now I’m really curious.

-But there’s no time because we keep the show rolling right away…

TRENT HARMON is up next!

-Trent talks about how long it’s been since he’s been home, and it’s evident from how quickly his family breaks down after he arrives. It’s a really endearing moment, showing Trent back in his element. He serves in the restaurant where he worked, not realizing that half his hometown would be there just to see him. Even after the restaurant turnout, Trent is shocked at how many people arrive to see him at his old high school. “I didn’t know I had so many Facebook friends,” he says, in a funny little moment. Trent has a moment alone on his old high school theater stage, reminiscing about school plays and performances, and how it helped shape him as a performer. The mayor of Amory, Mississippi declares this day “Trent Harmon Day,” and we get several hometown fans declaring their love and support for Trent, and their belief that he’ll win Season 15. “Trent Harmon is the star of the decade,” declares the spokesman for Amory. Trent then finally gets to perform in front of a PACKED audience, noting that it’s been a dream of his to perform a free concert for his hometown crowd. His family is in tears in the audience, and so are some of the hometown fans. “I’m going to remember this for a long time,” Trent says.

-Trent sings “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton as his hometown dedication. It’s a lovely vocal, although I admit to a certain amount of confusion, since this has to be around the fourth or fifth different genre Trent has tackled in as many weeks. From his outfit to his vocal style up there, he just comes across as a country artist, which runs counter to the Trent he’s been presenting in recent weeks. I have absolutely no idea what kind of album Trent would put out, and that’s a bit worrying at this late stage of the competition. With that said, I thought this was a terrific vocal. Keith Urban even sings along in his seat! And that extended falsetto note from Trent is the stuff Idols are made of. So even while I’m a bit confused from a stylistic standpoint, I can’t front on how awesome that just was.

-Harry thinks one of the things Trent is best at is arcing his performances into something special. He talks about all the different versions of that song from countless country legends, and says that Trent is so special that he couldn’t help but love that performance. Keith thinks that performance was a bullseye, calling it fantastic. Jennifer thinks Trent is hitting his stride at the right time to make it to the end, since that’s on her mind a lot right now, wondering who will make the final two. She feels it could really happen for Trent, at this point. After the performance, Trent reiterates that he isn’t bringing his family here until the finale, if he makes it. Ryan then brings out a surprise: Trent’s family! His reaction is amazing, and hey, they even brought the dog too! Ryan makes it clear that they don’t know the results yet, which I guess is a way of dissuading people from thinking he brought out their family because Trent is going home tonight. In fact, he states that this was Trent’s family’s idea, as they really wanted to be here tonight. I guess we’ll see soon enough. Honestly, I don’t know if I can envision Trent going home after last week’s performances.

-Back from break with Gordon Ramsay in the audience! He plugs Hell’s Kitchen, and then opts not to comment on Dalton’s mother’s meatballs, saying you have to be careful what you say about a mother’s cooking. I suppose he learned from the time he dissed Stefano Langone’s mother’s cooking in Season 10. Anyway, we then get a video in which the Idols make portraits of each other with musician and Vine artist Rudy Mancuso.

LA’PORSHA RENAE is up next!

-La’Porsha returns home in Mississippi and is almost immediately overwhelmed by the turnout. In the crowd are some friends, including her mentor, who assures us that the La’Porsha we see on TV is the real thing. She then receives a concert from the Jubilee Children’s Choir, some of whom cry when meeting her. La’Porsha talks about how beautiful and innocent children are, embracing each one of them after the performance. She then visits the domestic abuse shelter, giving a speech about how her “No More Drama” performance was a dedication to them. One woman gives her a teary embrace, in a deeply emotional moment. As she returns to her home, La’Porsha’s family notes how proud they are. In a funny moment, La’Porsha says they can show her how much by feeding her. In the homecoming parade, La’Porsha rides in the car with her daughter before performing in front of a packed crowd. La’Porsha tells her daughter she’s going to try and win this for her, and normally the person who makes a promise to someone by saying, “I’m going to try and win this!” in their hometown video package usually does (it all started with Lee DeWyze, I think). But it’s not something someone says every year, so it’s kind of a pointless statistic anyway.

-La’Porsha sings “Glory” by Common and John Legend, the Oscar-winning track from the movie Selma. It’s a gorgeous performance, and one of her best in the entire competition, I think. Sure, her voice gets a bit caught up in the emotion of the song, but I think that’s what makes it so powerful. It helps that this is a brilliant song choice for her, bringing out the epic qualities of her voice.

-Keith loved it, saying he feels like he’s gone to a baptism. He notes that even doesn’t even feel like he’s critiquing anymore. Jennifer praises La’Porsha for how she takes people to a better place through her music, noting how inspirational she is. Harry says he’s put many of La’Porsha’s performances in the “critique-proof” category, and that was another one he’d put in that category. He notes, however, that the competition isn’t over yet, and that people should vote for their favorites. He closes by saying La’Porsha’s parents should be proud of her for the class, elegance and grace she’s shown throughout the competition. After the performance, La’Porsha talks about her hometown, and says she wishes her town would come together on racism and differences. Aaaaand my TV cuts out for an Amber Alert. Some crazy woman stole a baby from our local mall in Montgomery County, PA. You can read about it here. It’s absolutely awful.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: La’Porsha Renae Achieves Hometown Glory On American Idol 2016 (VIDEO)

RESULTS

-The Amber Alert continues to play over the results, but I can still make out what’s happening, as Ryan announces who’s safe first.

TRENT HARMON is safe!

DALTON RAPATTONI is safe!

MacKenzie is ready to go home, it seems. But La’Porsha insists that nothing is set in stone just yet. Ryan reads the final result…

LA’PORSHA RENAE is safe!

MACKENZIE BOURG is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL 2016!

-The big takeaway from MacKenzie’s farewell video is that I REALLY WANT a studio version of his original song, “Roses”. SUCH an amazing song. I love it. Back in the studio, MacKenzie talks about how crazy it was that he went from playing that song on his couch seven months ago to playing it in front of America and the judges. Ryan notes how much MacKenzie will be missed, adding “I love that guy.” Honestly, I’ll miss MacKenzie too.

-It’s time for round two, which is Scott Borchetta’s choice.

DALTON RAPATTONI is up next!

-Scott says that Dalton’s best performances have been those with a rock edge, so he’s picked a song by The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Dude, unless Dalton changes up the arrangement, “Dancing In the Dark” is a terrible song choice for him. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

-Thank GOD Dalton did something about the arrangement and didn’t do it straight like Taylor Hicks did at this same point in Season 5. It starts out slow and slightly haunting, before picking up the tempo with a pop-punk arrangement. The vocal sometimes got overwhelmed by the band, but I really enjoyed this as a performance. I just love what Dalton does up there.

-Jennifer didn’t know what to expect going in, but feels he did a great job with the song. Harry thinks the opening was awesome, comparing it to a British New Wave band. However, he adds that Dalton’s ability to interpret lyrics trumps any vocal shortcomings, noting that his connection with his songs is why he’s here. Keith largely agrees, praising Dalton’s artistry.

LA’PORSHA RENAE is up next!

-Scott says that La’Porsha wasn’t crazy about this song choice at first, but he really feels she’s going to get inside this song and have a standout moment with it. The song is called “Stay With Me Baby,” and he doesn’t say the artist, so I have no idea what song he’s talking about. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t have known even if he had said the artist. Damn my selective musical ignorance.

-La’Porsha sings “Stay With Me Baby” by Lorraine Ellison, and I have no idea why she didn’t think this song would work for her, because it’s absolutely perfect for her voice. It’s like this cross between gospel, country and R&B. I do feel like she oversings it in some parts, but if I could do even half the things that La’Porsha could do, I’d never stop doing them.

-Harry asks what La’Porsha didn’t like about the song when Scott suggested it. She says she didn’t like the message, since it’s about a woman begging a man to stay with her, which she would never do (“The only man I need to stay with me is God”). Harry picked up on that, calling it a great performance but noting she was clearly playing a character. Jennifer agrees, but she still thought it was a terrific performance, as did Keith. You know, that moment with La’Porsha is my favorite non-singing moment of hers so far, particularly knowing she came from an abusive relationship. Her resolve never to beg a man to stay with her, and her insistence that the songs she sings need to have a message she believes in is the kind of integrity you don’t always get from contestants on shows like this.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: La’Porsha Renae Keeps It Classy Stay With Me On American Idol 2016 (VIDEO)

TRENT HARMON is up next!

-Scott explains that, for the first time in American Idol history, Justin Timberlake has allowed Idol to use one of his songs. Why would you not want this show to use your music? It’s free advertising, dude! Anyway, Trent will be singing Justin’s one country release, “Drink You Away”. Should be a good one.

-This is a perfect fit for Trent, and it matches his Round 1 performance from a conceptual standpoint, in that we’re not getting two completely separate Trents with each performance like in some previous weeks. Dalton sings along with the song in the audience, in a cool little moment. I thought this was one of Trent’s best vocals in the entire competition, and quite possibly something that could get him into the finale, if not earn him the win. Jennifer gives him a standing ovation.

-Keith asks Trent what he had the guitar for, since he didn’t even need it. Jennifer says because it looks good, surprising Keith with her frankness. Jennifer says those are types of performances that win this show. Harry says you know you’ve killed it when even the backup singers are giving a standing ovation. On the one hand, I’m glad she has work; on the other hand, Allison Iraheta deserves better.

-Before the final round, we’re getting a performance from one of our own judges. Harry and Jennifer even get in on the introduction, in a sweet show of respect.

KEITH URBAN PERFORMS “WASTED TIME”!

-Keith has a sleeveless vest and a double guitar, because he wasn’t awesome enough already, I guess. I don’t particularly care for the song, since it sounds like a cross between an 80s New Wave act and something Coldplay would do right now. But Keith sings it well, so he’ll get no complaints from me.

-Back from break as we get round three going. The judges are picking the songs now, God help us all.

DALTON RAPATTONI is up next!

-For the judges’ choice, Dalton will be singing “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” by Tears For Fears, as it becomes fairly clear which contestant they’re trying to put on a bus right now. That much seemed clear when La’Porsha ended round one, Trent ended round two, and Dalton still went first on all three. That said, this strikes me as the type of song Dalton might have ended up choosing anyway.

-Dalton lowers the key on the song, to mixed results. I think he did a decent job with it, although it’s easily the weakest of his three performances tonight, which is why it’s a shame that this is the one he ends on.

-Jennifer asked why Dalton lowered the key, and he admits it’s because he didn’t feel comfortable in the higher key. Harry then gets pedantic by explaining what it means to “reharmonize” a song, as if we can’t infer its meaning. Anyway, he praises Dalton for his ability to rearrange a song, but notes that the good news is he had two strong performances before this. Keith agrees with the other two judges, feeling it wasn’t Dalton’s strongest performance.

LA’PORSHA RENAE is up next!

-The judges have La’Porsha’s baby with them, sitting on Harry’s lap. And they can barely even talk about their song choice for La’Porsha because they’re gushing so much over her baby, who really just might be one of the most adorable babies on the planet. Anyway, they’re giving her a challenge to see if she can do something different with a well-known song…

-La’Porsha sings “Hello” by Adele, and the arrangement is more or less exactly the same as the original. La’Porsha does what she can do deliver a dynamic vocal though, to change it up and not do all the same vocal inflections Adele does. To that end, I think she did a good enough job, although I really wouldn’t have picked that song for her at all. Literally every contestant who’s been given that song on a singing show has ended up disappointing. I didn’t think it was awful or anything, but it just wasn’t up to her usual standard.

-Harry apologizes to La’Porsha for giving her a song about wanting a guy back, since he didn’t know until earlier that she had an issue with those types of songs. But La’Porsha insists it’s okay since this song showed that the guy was in the wrong this time. Keith and Jennifer praise La’Porsha, but J-Lo quickly gets distracted by cooing at La’Porsha’s outrageously adorable baby (with super-cute oversized headphones to protect her little ears!).

WATCH AND DISCUSS: La’Porsha Renae Slays Hello With Her Adorable Baby From American Idol 2016 (VIDEO)

TRENT HARMON closes the show!

-Yeah, Trent is probably winning this, judging by this song choice, as Trent will be singing “Waiting Game” by Parson James, which is an AMAZING song for his voice.

-Trent tackles this song with such gorgeous subtlety, until the chorus, where he unleashes his impeccable falsetto. It’s just perfect, and likely to be the song that guarantees him a spot in the finale.

-Keith didn’t know the song before he looked it up, but he loves Parson James, and thought Trent did a great job with the song. Jennifer had goosies throughout the performance. Harry wonders if this is the last critique in American Idol history, somehow forgetting that we still have a finale next week. He thinks Trent delivered a beautiful performance, and then reminds America to vote for whichever of these four artists they want to advance. Jennifer then reminds him there’s only three people left, prompting Harry to correct himself and then joke that he’s ready for the Top 20 next week. As the show comes to a close, Ryan thanks everyone who’s ever worked on this show over the past fifteen years. Man, it’s really going to be over, isn’t it?

-Aaaaand that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments!

Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!

GOODNIGHT!

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