American Idol 2016 Live Blog and Recap: Top 6 Revealed, Perform For Your Votes (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 2016, “Top 6 Revealed and Perform”! Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. continue the search for the final American Idol!
Last week, the Top 8 were revealed as we suffered our first shock elimination of the season with Olivia Rox surprisingly joining Gianna Isabella as one of the two singers sent home by the judges, after America put them in the Bottom 3 with Avalon Young. Tonight, no one is safe, as the Idols sing the classics from the American Idol songbook…because apparently the themes are somehow even LESS inspired in this final season! Also, last year’s winner, Nick Fradiani, is back to perform his new single, “Get You Home,” since eight performances really aren’t going to get us to two hours. It’ll be good to see Nick though.
But what do Rickey.org readers think about the eliminations tonight??
According to our official prediction poll, our readers feel it’s DEFINITELY the end of the road for Lee Jean, whom 35.72% are predicting to be eliminated. The second person predicted to join him in elimination is Avalon Young, whom 18.95% are predicting to be eliminated. However, country singer Tristan McIntosh is expected to join them in the Bottom 3, scoring 17.86% of the vote. Then again, she was the third person predicted to be in the Bottom 3 last week, and that didn’t happen. So who’s to say she’s even vulnerable right now?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary and videos of the highlight performances as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with a video describing each contestant using three terms each, even though some of the terms aren’t adequate responses to “I Am,” like Avalon’s “I am R&B Jamz” or Lee’s “I am Babyface.” Unless he’s comparing himself to Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Anyway, Ryan introduces the judges, and then notes that we’re getting DUETS tonight! I was kind of glad when they ditched it last year, so I’m not exactly thrilled to see it back, since it’s little more than thriller from which no real Idol moments are born. That said, I don’t know if we’re going to get any great moments from this anemic theme choice this week, so might as well. We open with the most obvious duet pairing possible outside of Dalton and MacKenzie…
LA’PORSHA RENAE and TRENT HARMON open the show!
-La’Porsha talks about how Trent is a guy, but he has a higher voice than she does. Trent praises La’Porsha as well, as they talk about how the plan to surprise people with their duet, as Trent will be doing parts you’d think La’Porsha would do, and vice-versa.
-They sing “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, and while it’s definitely a good vocal, I didn’t really love this, honestly. I think their vocal affectations caused them to lose their place in the music at points. There really is no need to put a run on every single note. These two are great singers with terrific tone, and I’d love to hear it more, with less of the vocal gymnastics. That said, their harmonies were lovely.
-Keith liked it because he felt it played to both of their strengths. Jennifer called it “magical,” and thought it was a great way to start the show. Harry loved that they both sang Wiz’s parts, and praised how well their voices blended together. They chat with Ryan after the performance, and it appears La’Porsha didn’t know this song beforehand, since she was surprised to learn she’d be singing Wiz Khalifa. But she was far calmer about the song choice once she learned she’d be singing with Trent. Hell, I would be too.
-We keep the duets rolling!
AVALON YOUNG and SONIKA VAID are up next!
-Avalon and Sonika are basically best friends in the competition. It’s an adorable friendship, although I’m kind of iffy on the pairing. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be great, I’m sure. But what’s the point of doing duets if you’re going to do the most obvious pairings? Experiment and at least give us the chance of seeing something unique and unexpected.
-Avalon and Sonika sing “Rise Up” by Audra Day, and it’s exactly as good as you’d think it would be. I thought their individual segments were on-point, and their harmonies were crisp and clear. There were also far less instances of crazy vocal gymnastics, so the vocals came through far more clearly here. I liked this more than Trent and La’Porsha’s duet, and their hug at the end was just so sweet.
-Jennifer thinks both girls push each other to be better, although she then goes on to say that none of the remaining singers have any weaknesses in their voice, which is yet another statement for J-Lo’s Wall of Ridiculous Declarations 2016. Harry gave the advantage to Avalon on that song due to the drum-heavy nature of the song, but he praises Sonika for having a “breathtaking voice.” Keith sees where Harry is coming from, saying Avalon is such a natural singer that the track favored her, although he thinks both girls got a chance to show their strengths. After the performance, the girls talk about being roommates, and Harry jokes that he and Keith are roommates and they don’t get along half as well as the girls do.
-Back from break with Scott Borchetta talking about why the duet round is so important, since they have to learn to be collaborative in a competitive environment. He then talks about how Dalton and MacKenzie are singing together — because of course they are — and that they’ll be doing “I Want It That Way” — because of course they are. He also reveals that Lee is sick, as we continue the revolving door of illness. Who will be sick next week? Tune in to find out!
MACKENZIE BOURG and DALTON RAPATTONI are up next!
-MacKenzie says he isn’t really the boy band type (“I mean, look at me!”) whereas Dalton thinks this is a great song choice. They talk about their differences, with Trent saying he’s going to try and bring out the soft side of their song choice while Dalton will do his Dalton thing. Well, considering Dalton used to be in a boy band, this song choice suits him far better.
-This version of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys doesn’t exactly shake the world in terms of arrangement, but I actually like this most of any of the duets so far. The vocals aren’t necessarily as strong as I’d like, but I love the chilled out vibe of this performance, and I think Dalton and MacKenzie are a far better duo than even they realize. And, of course, the girls go crazy for it.
-Harry didn’t like the song choice for these two at all, and asks if either of them know what they were singing about. Neither guy has an answer. Harry doesn’t blame them, because he thinks the lyrics make no sense whatsoever. He said if he’d been a contestant, he would have fought against that song choice. The crowd boos him, but he’s kind of right. I mean, I liked it, but there’s no way there weren’t better songs out there for these two. Keith agrees with Harry, saying the song prevented them from doing their singer-songwriter rearrangement. Jennifer wanted to see what they’d do with this song, but was disappointed that it was just a straight-up cover. She says the guys should have recognized it was the wrong song once they started singing it in rehearsals, but then how much choice do these guys really have? After the performance, Dalton agrees with Harry and says that there wasn’t much to connect with, but he just tried his best to connect with the audience.
TRISTAN MCINTOSH and LEE JEAN are up next!
-Tristan was thrilled to learn she’d be singing with Lee, saying he has a deep, crooner voice. Lee loves Tristan’s high notes and versatility. However, they’ll be singing “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing,” which will be difficult since Lee will be singing a love song to a tall girl. It drives him crazy that she’s taller than he is, and he even jokingly offers to wear heels for the performance. Every time they show a bit of Lee’s personality, I like him more. It’s a shame I just haven’t been feeling him as much as a contestant.
-This was an absolute mess. I like Lee and Tristan, and I think they both have talent, but this version of “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” was all over the place, not just vocally but in terms of the arrangement, as the band just seemed off (either the band or the sound engineering, because thinks went wonky in places. I don’t know how else to describe it).
-Keith didn’t think it was the right song for both their voices, although Jennifer thinks Tristan shone on that song, and that Lee did his best. Harry says this is one of those Diane Warren melodies that allow you to dig into the song, but he wouldn’t have picked that song. However, he blames the arrangement for how bland it was, saying they should have been facing each other and singing the song to one another, with Lee playing the guitar in a stripped-back arrangement. Harry is 100% right. After the performance, Ryan wonders what Steven Tyler would have said if he were here. In the process, he completely leaves Lee hanging when he goes for a handshake. Poor Lee.
-Back from break, and it’s finally time to start the solo round, as the singers tackle tracks from Idol history…
LA’PORSHA RENAE is safe!
-La’Porsha is from a military family, and talks about her family’s rich background in service to their country. Her family’s support has meant everything, although her one regret is that her mentor isn’t here to see her. Sure enough, while chilling outside the Idol studio, La’Porsha gets surprised by her mentor in one of the sweetest moments in weeks. That said, I wish the video package would have talked about the song choice and its place in Idol history. I mean, if you’re going to do this theme, at least try to make it seem like something other than a clear ploy to rehash songs to avoid paying to clear any new ones.
-La’Porsha sings “Come Together” by The Beatles, and this is probably her best when it comes to stage performance. She totally worked that stage, and even had Harry blushing when she came over to the table and started flirting with him. That walk to the back at the end was absolutely BADASS. With that said, while I liked this vocal WAY more than the duet, it wasn’t my favorite from La’Porsha, as the song sort of got away from her at the end. But I still think she’s one of the top contenders in this competition.
-Jennifer thinks La’Porsha is a total diva, and feels she killed that. Harry never understood the lyrics, but through La’Porsha, he felt he actually knew what she was talking about. He says she’s been incredible since the first time they saw her, and this was no different. After sending a shoutout to the late, great Sir George Martin, he tells La’Porsha that every song choice is great for her. After the performance, La’Porsha explains the song choice, saying she didn’t want to keep doing ballads while standing at the mic. “Keith talked about me moving, and I wanted to show him I could move!” she says. Harry also reveals that his wife called over the commercial break to ask why he’s sharing a room with Keith, in reference to his earlier “Me and Keith are roommates” comment.
-We keep results coming…
MACKENZIE BOURG is safe!
-Mackenzie’s parents talk about how he was a sports enthusiast as a kid. Basically, if a game involved a ball, MacKenzie was on his school’s team for it. It wasn’t until he played music publicly for his basketball team that he considered giving music a shot. From there, he was part of his school musicals, and eventually became the singer/songwriter we see today. Man, those baby pictures don’t look like MacKenzie at all! I guess it goes to show how much people change over the years.
-MacKenzie sings “You Are So Beautiful,” and I think this was one of his best vocals in the competition. His falsetto was beautiful, and unwavering. It was just a really strong performance from top to bottom, and among the few in which he didn’t play guitar. Perhaps that allowed him to focus more on the vocal? Don’t get me wrong, I think MacKenzie always sounds good. But this was far better than just good.
-Harry tells MacKenzie he couldn’t have picked a better, more appropriate song. He thinks we’re all lucky that Billy Preston wrote that song, because it didn’t matter to whom MacKenzie was singing, since it was heartfelt either way. Keith asked if MacKenzie picked that song himself, and MacKenzie affirmed he 100% did. Keith thinks this speaks volumes of MacKenzie’s instincts. Jennifer agrees, saying his biggest strength is how he connects with the songs and makes them feel like he’s singing to them. After the performance, MacKenzie says he felt the song choice allowed him to show who he is. Ryan then throws to a video package about all the times “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” has been performed on the show, which is less about celebrating history than it is about showing how few songs they’ve cleared over the course of 15 seasons.
-Back from break with a familiar face…
NICK FRADIANI sings his new single, “GET YOU HOME”!
-Holy s***, this song is AWESOME. I was expecting some bland, “Beautiful Life”-style power ballad. Instead, we get a groovy, funky track that’s like a mix between George Clinton and Maroon 5. Where was THIS Nick last season? I mean, it’s not like he needed to be this Nick in order to win, but perhaps his career would have had a stronger start if this had been his debut single. Then again, it technically is, since this is his first post-Winner’s Single track, if I’m not mistaken (and I very well might be). I couldn’t have possibly been more impressed by this. I’m buying this on iTunes as soon as the show is over. And you can too by clicking right here!
After the performance, Nick talks about how great it is to come home to Idol, and then tells the contestants to enjoy this despite their nerves, since they’ll never experience anything like this again. A lovely sentiment. Go Nick!
-Back from break with more results…
TRENT HARMON is safe!
-Trent talks about being homesick, missing both his family, his farm and his horses. He skypes with his family, and explains in a confessional that he doesn’t want his family here because he treats this like a job. His family agrees, saying they don’t want to distract him, and that they want him to focus. However, they want to know when they CAN come to California. He says if he makes it to the finale, he’ll make sure they’re there, and they “shake” on it through the video screen. Man, I’m surprising myself with how much Trent is growing on me. I had initially found him a bit on the old-fashioned side, but he’s quickly becoming a top contender.
-Trent sings “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, and that a cappella opening is downright lovely. This was about as good as last week, although I worry if he only chooses old-fashioned soul songs, his performances will start to blend together. Then again, the one time he did a current song on the live shows, it was a mess. So if this is what Trent has to do to stick around, I’m not really going to blame him for it.
-Keith talks about the immense change in Trent from the first time they saw him, praising him for his growth. Jennifer loved the performance, but kind of misses the old Trent, who was kind of this singer/songwriter type of performer. She asks him which is the real Trent, and Trent says his current iteration is sort of “Trent 2.0.” Harry liked Trent’s performance a lot, but warns him about staying on rhythm, as J-Lo cuts in to talk about him giving her “goosies.” After the performance, Ryan makes the comment you just knew he was going to after seeing that VT, telling Trent that his family might have to start packing after that performance.
-As we head to break, we see a video celebrating the Idol history behind “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Ah, Kris Allen. I miss the hell out of Season 8. Ah, Aaron Kelly. Yeah, you can keep Season 9, thanks.
-Back from break with Ryan shouting out Jencarlos Canela and Prince Royce in the audience, while plugging Fox’s The Passion later this month. Ryan then reveals the next result…
TRISTAN MCINTOSH is up next!
-Tristan talks about how much last week meant to her, since she’d dedicated it to her grandfather, whose lung disease has gotten much worse lately. We get some cute home videos of Tristan as a little girl, as her mother talks about how her love of country music partially comes from her grandpa. If he were here, Tristan would tell him that this next song is for him, but she’s happy to know he’s smiling from home. In an emotional clip, we see Tristan’s grandfather letting her know she’s one of the best, and wishing her luck on her next performance. Now you’re gonna get ME emotional!
-Tristan sings “A Broken Wing” by Martina McBride, and it’s a perfectly serviceable vocal and nothing more, in my opinion. I mean, it’s clear she feels this deeply, but the vocal was sort of all over the map. I will say that she finished REALLY strong, outside of a stray voice crack.
-Jennifer thought she did a really good job with the song, and even though she cracked on that note at the end, J-Lo applauds her for going for it. Harry asks Tristan what happens to the girl in the story in the second verse of the song, and Tristan has always wondered that herself. Harry thought it was a performance with a lot of emotion, and gives Tristan kudos. Keith talks about how emotional he was watching Tristan’s video, since he recently lost his grandfather. He plugs Martina McBride’s new album, and also praises her for a great performance. After the performance, Tristan talks about how much the song meant to her.
-As we head to break, we look at the Idol history of “I Surrender” by Celine Dion. I wonder what Lil Rounds is up to these days.
-Back with the results…DALTON RAPATTONI is safe! AVALON YOUNG, LEE JEAN and SONIKA VAID are the BOTTOM THREE!
DALTAON RAPATTONI is safe!
-Dalton talks about the evolution of his style, talking about how his experimentation with eyeliner and a failed attempt at leather pants. Thank God that’s not a thing in his wardrobe anymore (I’m sure some ladies and men would disagree, but it’s something hard to pull off. And no, that’s not a pun).
-Dalton sings “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles, and I thought this was an interesting performance. There were some good moments where his voice came through beautifully, and others where I thought it was a total mess, with Dalton struggling to hit the low notes. With that said, Dalton finished REALLY strong. Seriously, that closing note was SO awesome. Dalton is my favorite contestant in the competition by far, so I hope he doesn’t find himself in danger next week, because he Dalton offers something none of the other contestants are, between his energetic performance style to the risks he takes on the songs. He’s not necessarily the strongest singer in the competition, but I think he’s got the most star quality, if I’m being honest.
-Harry thought this was the perfect song in the perfect key, while Keith declared that there’s a darkness and theatricality to Dalton’s performance style. Jennifer, meanwhile, praised Dalton for hitting that high note. After the performance, Dalton decided to stick to his guns following last week’s critiques, and choose a song with meaning to him.
-Back with the bottom three, as we get the first performer singing for survival…
AVALON YOUNG is up first!
-In the video, Avalon’s mother talks about her daughter’s struggle with OCD, which started small but grew into a severe facial tic. Avalon has persevered through music, and through strength of character. This makes me just want to root for her more. With that said, with the song choice, this is the wrong week to be singing for your life. Still, I have my fingers crossed for her.
-Avalon sings “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson, which was performed in the first season by her self-professed Idol crush, Justin Guarini. And I would argue she did at least as good a job as he did. This was slick, smooth, and cool in a way that’s totally ineffable. I like Avalon’s voice here too, even though there were some iffy spots. I know the judges might be reluctant to save her again, but of the Bottom 3, I think she’s the most interesting performer by far.
-Keith is confused by the lack of connection between Avalon and the audience, since he thinks she’s got the goods. He hopes she can make an emotional connection with the audience if she makes it through to next week. Jennifer recommends Avalon go out of her comfort zone if she lasts to next week. Harry, meanwhile, would love to hear Avalon sing a ballad. He agrees with Keith, saying Avalon has the cool factor, and would put her voice in the “incredible” category. His only suggestion is to get more of a rhythmic feel to her movements. Jennifer agrees, saying Avalon needs more urgency in her movement. “That’s what I was trying to say!” Harry declares. We’ll have to see how the other two do, but I would save Avalon again, personally, even if they’re only giving her one more week. Because I honestly feel that whoever they save is only getting one more week anyway. Might as well be someone who’s a blast to watch like Avalon.
LEE JEAN is up next!
-Lee talks about how hard it was growing up as a military kid, since his family moved around a lot. He struggled to make friends and overcome his shyness, until one day, a girl overheard him singing to himself. She dragged him over to a crowded lunch table and forced him to sing in front of everyone. From that moment on, nerves stopped being a problem — and so did making friends, as he found himself invited to every birthday and slumber party. Lee credits that girl with convincing him to sing. What a lovely story. Seriously. I found that really moving, especially when Lee’s brother talks about how proud he is.
-Lee sings “Let It Be” by The Beatles, and while I like Lee’s voice on this, it’s not my favorite vocal from him. He’s got a solid voice, but it lacks polish. I’m just not sure this is enough to save him. Then again, he does have potential, so who’s to say the judges won’t save him anyway?
-Jennifer already sounds like she’s writing Lee off, saying that while she liked this song for Lee, she felt it was a tiny bit shaky, stressing that she wanted more composure. Harry jokes that Lee Jean should do a dijon mustard commercial (“It’s Lee Jean for dijon!”). He then says that pitch was a big issue for this performance, saying Lee was sharp, even though he did connect emotionally. Keith empathizes with Lee’s nerves, saying that he himself sang on a singing competition like this back in Australia, and he suffered from the same sorts of problems. He offers words of encouragement, and…yeah, it’s the end of the road for Lee, unfortunately.
SONIKA VAID closes the show!
-Sonika’s mother gushes about the day of her birth, saying that the name Sonika just came out of her mouth, not realizing that it was even a real name that existed. Sonika says her mother taught her everything she knows about singing, noting she’s an amazing vocalist who used to perform in Bollywood, even though her mother doesn’t like her telling people that. Sonika’s mother recalls asking her one day what she’d like to do in life if she could only do one thing, and Sonika’s response was that she’d really like to give singing a good shot. And now, here she is. Man, these last three video packages were super endearing.
-Sonika sings “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, and I see absolutely no way she isn’t saved after this. I think this was Sonika’s best performance in the competition, and certainly far more effective at conveying her vocal prowess than the rocker vibe she’s been giving off the past two weeks. This performance left her mother in tears, and I don’t blame her.
-Harry notes that this song has been performed six times since American Idol started (seriously? Only six times?). He notes that Whitney’s version is so iconic….and yet, he loved it. Keith agrees, and says if she’s here next week, he wants her to continue to let go. This is Jennifer’s favorite Whitney song, and says she did a good job with it, noting that it is hard to judge with a song that difficult.
-The judges take a few moments to discuss their result while Ryan interviews each of the finalists. Avalon says she’s going to keep fighting whether she’s in the Bottom 3 or the Top 6, while Sonika says being in the Bottom 3 caused her to channel all her power into the song. Lee, lastly, says it was simply a blessing to even be here. He says his song tonight was dedicated to his late brother, and he picked the track after having a dream about him. He didn’t care about sharpness or anything like that, he just wanted to feel the song. Lee says if he even inspired one person, then his job has been done. What a mature, classy statement from Lee.
-The judges reveal who’s going through…
SONIKA VAID is safe!
LEE JEAN and AVALON YOUNG have been eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL 2016!
I’ll miss both Lee and Avalon, but after those performances, this was the right call. That said, I wonder how many people are going to start picking songs on the premise that it could also be their Save Me song? It’s the one thing I dislike most about the combined performance/results shows, since singers are stuck with a song that might not be the best Save Me song if they find themselves in the Bottom 3, so they end up having to be strategic with what they pick, resulting in boring song choices. I guess we’ll see how this plays out in the coming weeks though, since we’re now down to eliminating one singer at a time. Not sure if the judges will retain their power when they’re just picking between two singers, or if we’ll get the Twitter save (or even maybe the Judges Save) back. Should be an interesting endgame, by any measure. Three guys and three girls! It’s anyone’s competition (well, in theory)!
-And that’s a wrap! Ryan notes that Adam Lambert will join us next week. Ooooo, that oughta be great!
But what did you think of tonight’s show? Who were the best? Who fell short? What did you think of the results? Did the right singers go home? Sound off in the comments!
Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!