American Idol

American Idol 2016 Live Blog and Recap: Top 10 Revealed, Perform For Your Votes (VIDEO)

Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 2016, “Top 10 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 night, four singers were immediately put through to the Top 10 thanks to the Judges’ “Fast Pass”. That left the ten remaining singers from the Top 14 to compete for a spot in the Top 10. Tonight, we find out which six singers will join Olivia Rox, Dalton Rapattoni, La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon in the Top 10. Also, the Top 10 will perform for YOUR votes, as the Top 10 will become the Top 8 next Thursday! American Idol is finally LIVE, baby!

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 10 Revealed, Perform For Your Votes (VIDEO)

Credit: Twitter (@AmericanIdol)

Let’s get this show on the road!


-We open with a look back to the first season in 2002, with flash backs to subsequent seasons along with other world events, from presidential elections to the launch of YouTube. It’s a pretty cool opening package, with moments including Kelly Clarkson winning a Grammy, Jennifer Hudson winning an Oscar, and even a flashback to Larry “Pants On the Ground” Platt! Great memories. No, I’m not being sarcastic. This was a total nostalgia trip, and I loved every moment of it.

-Ryan Seacrest introduces the judges, and I have no idea what in the loving hell J-Lo is wearing. It’s a pretty normal dress, but the skirt is completely see-through. Don’t get me wrong, she looks great in it. But it’s one of those things that takes a while to get used to seeing. Anyway, there’s an empty fourth chair at the desk for Kelly Clarkson! Harry recalls being there on the night Kelly won in 2002, and we see a picture of Harry with terribly tacky Leonardo DiCaprio hair. I’m loving all these blasts from the past.

-Anyway, onto the results, as the contestants are out onstage…


-Ryan reads the results in no particular order.

The first person through to the Top 10 is…TRISTAN MACINTOSH!

The second person through to the Top 10 is…SONIKA VAID!

The third person through to the Top 10 is…GIANNA ISABELLA!

The fourth person through to the Top 10 is…MACKENZIE BOURG!

The fifth person through to the Top 10 is…AVALON YOUNG!

The sixth and final person to join the Top 10 is…LEE JEAN!


That means your Top 10 for Season 15 is…

Olivia Rox
Dalton Rapattoni
La’Porsha Renae
Trent Harmon
Tristan McIntosh
Sonika Vaid
Gianna Isabella
MacKenzie Bourg
Avalon Young
Lee Jean

We then throw to an awesome video package in which Kelly Clarkson talks about how Idol has changed her life, saying she gets her work ethic from her time on Idol. She tries not to cry when talking about the show coming to an end. “I’m pregnant and ya’ll are gonna make me cry!” I love Kelly Clarkson so freaking much. How the hell has it taken fourteen seasons to get her on this judging panel? In a cute moment, Kelly jokes about feeling old watching back videos of her from Season 1, prompting J-Lo to joke, “If you’re old, what am I?” Awesome.

OLIVIA ROX opens the show!

-Olivia talks about watching Idol growing up, calling it a “family tradition”. She says her first memory was watching Katharine McPhee on the show, noting that Katharine sang her favorite song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She notes it was such a huge part of growing up for her, adding that she’s sang it her entire life (complete with adorable home videos!). Olivia is so adorable. I really hope she goes far.

-Olivia sings “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry, and while I wish she’d chosen something less pageant-ready for her first live show song, this is one of her best vocals of the competition so far. Seriously, when the tempo kicks in, and the band helps give this more of a pop-rock vibe, Olivia just comes to life. I hope that she starts to show different facets of her artistry as the competition rolls on, because I think she has potential as a rocker.

-Keith thinks it’s beautiful seeing Olivia on an “artist trajectory,” although he advises her to keep loosening up more onstage. Jennifer thought the piano opening was gorgeous, adding that Olivia has to really nail the big parts. But she really liked it overall. Kelly talks about how much air it takes to do the kind of runs Olivia did. She thinks Olivia is good already, and she’s still young, so she’s excited to see Olivia grow. Harry jokes with Kelly about her qualifications to judge pop music, and then tells Olivia how pretty her “head voice” is. After the performance, Olivia talks about how she freaked out upon learning she made it to the Top 10. “I thought, ‘There must be another Olivia Rox here’.” This might have been the cutest post-performance interview ever.

-Before break, Kelly talks about one of her favorite Idol moments. She talks about singing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, and what a big risk it was to sing that high note. But she felt it was a risk she had to take in order to stand out in the competition. I agree, and I thought it was one of her best performances. And, if I remember correctly, it resulted in a male fan rushing the stage to give her a flower. So I guess it really got people into her. I find that most of Kelly’s great moments in Season 1 had to do with Aretha, considering how she nailed “Respect”. That said, I’ve always been partial to “Stuff Like That There”. How about you guys?


-Gianna has watched American Idol for as long as she could remember. She says they didn’t always watch in their living room, since they were occasionally on tour with her mother, Brenda K. Starr. However, if the satellite in the bus went on the fritz, her dad would find a place to park where it would come through clear, meaning a lot of nights spent in the woods just to watch American Idol. She then spends the rest of the package talking about her crush on Scotty McCreery in what might be the most adorable thing ever. Seriously, she was IN LOVE with the kid.

-Gianna sings “Listen” by Beyonce, and I’m kind of torn on it. On the one hand, I don’t think her voice was big enough for this song. On the other hand, she connected with the emotion of this song so beautifully that I was still kind of impressed by this. That said, she needs to never do a song this big again. She’s only fifteen, for crying out loud. This kind of felt like the kind of song a pageant mom would pick for her daughter. I like Gianna, and I like the emotion she poured into the performance, and she even had some nice runs here and there. But this was one of her weaker vocals overall.

-Jennifer didn’t think it was Gianna’s best. While there were parts that sounded great, she thought it sounded shaky. She thinks Gianna needs to pick songs she can command all the way through. Kelly thought Gianna hit the notes, but feels people need to remember that Gianna is only fifteen, and that it was really bold to tackle a Beyonce song. She compares Gianna to herself at this stage of the competition, and advises her to just let go, and not be so far inside her own head. Harry calls it an honor to be sitting next to one of the great pop singers ever, and thinks it’s great for the contestants to be getting that kind of advice from someone of Kelly’s caliber. Harry didn’t love the performance, but he didn’t hate it either. Keith is pretty much in the same boat, saying she needs to learn and grow more.

LEE JEAN is up next!

-Lee says he’s been watching Idol since he was a baby, since he and Idol are basically the same age. His favorite memory is watching Chris Medina sing “Breakeven” for his audition. He talks about how touched he was by his story, saying it reminded him of his own struggles after his brother’s passing. Lee says he wants to win, but if he doesn’t, he hopes he could at least affect someone the way Chris’s story affected him.

-Lee sings “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, keeping in the trend of either singing Ed Sheeran tracks or singing songs Ed has famously covered in concert. Not necessarily a problem, but I have no real idea who Lee is as an artist right now. That said, I kind of loved this, honestly. It was a cool acoustic arrangement, and he sang it really well.

-Kelly confirms that Lee sings a lot of Ed Sheeran, but says she can’t really judge since she sang a lot of Aretha. But she notes that there are people on the couch who will pick bigger songs. That said, she feels people would love to see Lee’s show, and suggests that maybe he doesn’t have to change what he’s doing if it works. Harry feels Lee and MacKenzie are similar, which is something he’ll have to concern himself with. He liked the performance, but feels Lee needs to focus on pitch. Keith advises vulnerability, saying Lee should show more emotion. Jennifer offers the best comment of the panel, saying Lee needs to make people feel the way Chris Medina made him fee.. “It’s about your performances being more impactful every single time, with what you do.” This reminds me of the J-Lo we had in early season 10. After the performance, Ryan surprises Lee by pointing out an unrecognizable Chris Medina in the audience. They ask how he’s doing, but Chris doesn’t have a mic, so he’s barely audible. But he did say that the performance was amazing.

-In a flashback, Kelly talks about singing “Don’t Play That Song,” and you know what? I kind of hope they bring back other Idol all-stars and have them give retrospectives of their journey on the show, because this is interesting stuff. I mean, it’s basically a 30-second version of that syndicated American Idol Rewind show. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like it’s taking up huge amounts of showtime.

-Ryan interviews Scott Borchetta, and asks him if there’s anyone he’s looking forward to working with. He evades the question by saying he sees 10 people up there he’d like to work with, before shifting the conversation to how proud he is that the final American Idol will be on Big Machine Records.

AVALON YOUNG is up next!

-Avalon talks about her favorite Idol memories, noting she had a pretty huge crush on Justin Guarini. “He’ll be my Idol forever,” she says. I’m glad he got a shoutout here tonight, because “Get Here” was one of my favorite moments from Season 1.

-Avalon sings “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes, and I really liked this. I thought it was a cool arrangement, with the tempo slowed down slightly to more of a chill, laid-back jam. Granted, I think the song made Avalon’s voice strain in places. But I think she’s a total star, and I’m hoping she gets the chance to grow in this competition.

-Harry thinks Avalon is cool, but wouldn’t have gone with the half-time groove for the arrangement, saying he preferred last night’s performance because it felt like she was telling a story. He thought it was fine overall, but didn’t think it was the best song overall. Keith loves seeing these contestants in a live setting because he can feel how the audience responds, and how they respond to an audience. He advises Avalon to be loose all the way through the way she was at the end of the song. Jennifer felt this wasn’t as natural as Avalon’s other performances, and I kind of agree. Kelly prepares to be booed by the other judges, and then delivers her verdict: she thinks Avalon is captivating, and says that while she doesn’t always like the songs Avalon sings, she loves the songs when Avalon sings them. After the performance, Harry jokes about how you can’t really argue with Kelly Clarkson, with Avalon agreeing, since Kelly won her season. Kelly then apologizes for beating Justin Guarini. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.


-Dalton talks about the family tradition of betting on a contestant to win American Idol every season. In Season 5, his family had it all bet on Chris Daughtry. However, when Chris went home, it was “like a bomb had been dropped. That was a bad night in the Rapattoni household.” Dalton then notes David Cook’s influence in how he approaches his own performances. I love Dalton, and this video package kind of illustrated why. He’s not just a rocker, he’s a student of the game.

-Dalton sings an punk-style, uptempo version of “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White Ts. While it’s not Dalton’s best vocal, it’s a really cool performance. He looks like a star, carries himself like one, and delivers the artistry and signature style of a star. He just woke this crowd up in a big way. Loved this.

-Keith loves what Dalton does with his songs, and praises him for coming out with confidence, comparing it to “electric barnyard,” whatever that is (forgive me, those who get the reference!). Jennifer talks about how the girls freak out about Dalton, praising him for actually singing to the girls in the audience and making them feel it. Kelly loves how Dalton is different in virtually every performance he delivers, whether it’s in genre or in song choice. She feels this shows artistry, and she hopes he keeps doing what he’s doing. Harry loved it, saying that Dalton is batting a thousand. After the performance, Dalton jokes about his eyeliner, saying he puts it on the night before, and then sleeps in it so it smudges just right. Hey, the kid has a sense of humor about himself! Awesome.

-Back from break as we chat with Kelly, and Harry spends some time complimenting her. She jokes that her husband is here, even though he’s not. She then talks about the song she’ll be singing tonight, noting that it’s something she wrote after an emotional conversation with her sister. So she warns that she might not be able to make it through the song without crying. Can we have Kelly on the panel every week?


-Tristan has been watching Idol all her life, and Jessica Sanchez was the favorite contestant in her house. In particular, Tristan’s favorite performance was Jessica’s take on “I Will Always Love You”. She says Jessica was a huge inspiration, noting how she’d watch Jessica’s videos after school and act them out in the mirror. She always wanted to try out for the show, but she was never old enough. But here she is now. Tristan is supernaturally cute. I can’t help but root for her a little bit.

-Tristan sings “Nothin’ Like You” by Dan + Shay. It’s not my favorite Tristan performance, honestly. I think most of it comes down to song choice. She was overpowered by the band in places, and strained to be heard over it all. I like Tristan, but this was just the wrong song. Maybe if she’d slowed it down and went with a piano arrangement or something, maybe bring out a cello. But as is, this did nothing for me.

-Jennifer notes what a young Top 10 we have, and says that the contestants are still figuring themselves out. She knows Tristan is a country singer, but feels she needs to find songs that are more in her wheelhouse, since that wasn’t the best performance she’s given. Kelly wants to see more of the Tristan who emotionally connected back in Hollywood. She suggests singing Trisha Yearwood, just as a fan of the show and a fan of Tristan’s. She gets a little tongue-tied, but ultimately feels Tristan has a lot of potential if she delivers more emotion, saying she could be heartbreaking to watch. Harry thinks if Tristan is going to pick country songs, she needs to pick more crossover songs that everyone knows. He also feels that if she’s going to play to the crowd, she can’t let it affect her vocal. Keith doesn’t agree with Harry, saying the obscurity of the song doesn’t matter if you can nail it. That said, he thinks she needs to pay attention to the pitch more. I can’t help but agree with Keith here.

-We get another Kelly moment, as she talks about “Walk On By”. She was originally going to sing “Anyone Who Had a Heart” for Burt Bacharach Week, but changed it at the last minute. Everyone questioned what the hell she was thinking, but I think history illustrated she made the right call (although I’m sure she would have slayed “Anyone Who Had a Heart”. Either way, she just swapped out one Dionne Warwick song for another, so I’d say it would have worked out no matter what she did).


-MacKenzie talks about his favorite Idol memory. Surprisingly, it’s William Hung singing “She Bangs”. He notes that while William wasn’t the best singer, he was super memorable. And that’s what MacKenzie wants to accomplish. Here’s hoping he’s remembered for something less disastrous.

-MacKenzie sings “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, which continues to show just how far ol’ Ed’s sphere of influence stretches this season. That said, I thought this was one of the best performances of the night. MacKenzie has such a pure voice, and such a confident manner of performing. I hate his poofed-up hairstyle tonight, but that’s literally the only problem I had with this.

-Kelly notes that her baby hasn’t moved the whole show, but he started kicking like crazy when MacKenzie performed, meaning her little man liked it. She loves that MacKenzie already knows what kind of artist he wants to be, and she can’t wait to see what he’ll do next. Harry asks MacKenzie what the lyrics meant to him, and he responds by saying that he felt fired up to be here. Kelly notes how sexy that response was. Keith comes in and says that he loves how MacKenzie plays guitar, noting that it really pulled the audience in. Jennifer knows MacKenzie is ready, and she’s excited to see it. During MacKenzie’s performance, Ryan looked up William Hung on his phone, and displays a picture of a happy William with his lovely wife. No lie, my heart was sufficiently warmed by this.

LA’PORSHA RENAE is up next!

-La’Porsha says watching Kelly win was a pivotal moment for her, since that’s when she started believing she could do this. Now Kelly is watching her, so all she has to do now is win. “To be the winner would make me feel like I’m on top of my life. I’m on top of my struggles. I came out on top,” she says, wiping away tears. This is notable for possibly being the only other time we’ve ever heard Kelly’s alternate winner’s single, “Before Your Love”, since the Season 1 finale. Oh, and for La’Porsha being emotional and likable and all that. Go La’Porsha!

-La’Porsha sings “Diamonds” by Rihanna. I really, really like La’Porsha, and I liked the arrangement here. But this was so soaked in runs that hardly anything else came through. I can’t deny how crazy talented La’Porsha is, and I still think she could go seriously far in this competition. But this wasn’t for me. Then again, it doesn’t really matter, since Keith, Kelly and Jennifer give her a standing ovation at the end while her fellow contestants, particularly Lee and Avalon, flip out on the couch. It’s a great moment, as La’Porsha fights back tears, with the crowd going positively nuclear for her. Even her family is struggling not to cry. I wish I loved the performance more.

-Harry says the crowd response is her critique. Kelly says she loves everyone here, but states that if La’Porsha doesn’t win, she just doesn’t know. Jennifer praises La’Porsha’s incredible control as Kelly continues to freak out, prompting the crowd to go crazy again. Keith says there’s an old quote that goes, “I judge myself not by what I have, but what I’m willing to give.” He says La’Porsha just gave pure humanity. La’Porsha thanks the judges and the crowd for everything. As Ryan prepares to throw to break, he asks if Kelly is crying. And she just reiterates that she loves La’Porsha. Could La’Porsha have just jumped to frontrunner status? I mean, I’m sure some would argue she was always there, so maybe not much has changed.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: La’Porsha Renae Stuns With ‘Diamonds’ on American Idol 2016 (VIDEO)

SONIKA VAID is up next!

-Sonika admits her mom watched American Idol more than she ever did, saying that her nose was always in a book. But Idol taught her to be confident onstage, particularly citing Kelly’s performance of “I Surrender” — a song she delivered despite being sick at the time. She’s hoping she can be as good as Kelly was in her season.

-Sonika sings “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence. The vocal is really, really good, but she’s seriously overdoing it trying to sell this rocker chick persona. Nothing she’s done so far this season suggests that this is the kind of artist she would be. So while I thought this was one of the absolute best vocals of the night (seriously, this was flawless), I just didn’t like the actual performance itself. Far too theatrical. Also, can we please stop cutting to J-Lo for ten full seconds at a time just to see her head bopping? For crying out loud, I thought we were done with that after Season 13.

-Keith thought it was an absolutely killer song choice, and had tons of drama. Jennifer thinks Sonika is dangerous, saying that if she wakes up in this competition and starts believing in herself, we’ll have a real competition on our hands. Kelly says Sonika is NEVER pitchy, which is an amazing accomplishment in itself. She also loves that she came out after La’Porsha and really delivered. Harry thought it was great, and loved the juxtaposition Sonika delivered with her song choice. Man, we’ve got more contenders this season than I can remember any recent season having. I could seriously see six different people winning this show. Granted, I still think it’ll be Dalton, but there’s easily a case to be made for MacKenzie, Sonika, La’Porsha, Olivia and Trent. Should be an interesting season. Too bad it’s such an accelerated one.

TRENT HARMON is up next!

-Trent recalls how there was a tornado warning in his town, and he demanded the tornado go away so he could watch the American Idol Season 1 finale. And it did! He notes that American Idol made him want to be a singer, adding that David Archuleta’s performance of “Imagine” was particularly inspiring for him. He feels it’s come full circle for him, now that Kelly is here on the panel. I feel I must reiterate that we need Kelly around more than just once this season.

-Trent sings “Like I Can” by Sam Smith. It’s an…interesting vocal. I have no idea what to make of this. He has a really cool tone to his voice, but his performance style is just so weird. The faces he makes, the way he moves, the falsetto he dips into that isn’t entirely there. I just didn’t get this. And I say that as someone who absolutely adores Trent.

-Jennifer thinks Trent is one of the reasons this season is so phenomenal. She thinks he does such exciting things with his voice, and says that even though it wasn’t all perfect, she really loves him. Kelly thinks it’s impressive to have such a unique voice that stands out. She would love to hear him sing soft in his falsetto more, just to show a juxtaposition with the power of his voice. (In a funny moment, Harry sings a little falsetto just to annoy Kelly) Harry compares how going for the runs like Trent does is a lot like an ice skating match, and how you hold your breath when someone goes for a big move, and then applaud when they hit it. But he warns against doing too many runs in the future, while also noting that La’Porsha is the best run singer in the competition. That said, he thought Trent didn’t overdo it at all, and congratulates him on his performance. Keith simply adds that he wishes La’Porsha had opened the show, since everyone is rising to the occasion. Hopefully, they don’t screw it up for La’Porsha by pimping her too hard.

-Back from break with a recap with phone numbers. Man alive, I missed these so much. Feels like classic Idol. Also, after watching this back, I’d be absolutely STUNNED if the bottom three is anyone other than Gianna, Lee and Tristan. However, I could very easily see Avalon landing in there, possibly in place of Tristan, depending on if the country fans come out in force for Tristan.

KELLY CLARKSON closes the show!

-Kelly sings her new song, “Piece by Piece”. This is absolutely GORGEOUS! My God, I can’t stress this enough. This is a beautiful song, and it gave me goosebumps all over. Just stunning. But let me just take a break to say how surreal it is to see Ryan Seacrest sitting at the judges panel. But I guess someone should probably keep Kelly’s seat warm for her. But back to the performance. She clearly struggles to get through the song in certain places, particularly after the “worthless” lyric and on the final chorus. This is what Harry talks about when he talks about connecting with the lyric. Granted, the contestants don’t always have the luxury of performing their own songs (MacKenzie Bourg excepted). Jennifer appears to be an absolute emotional mess, and Keith is OPENLY WEEPING. This is amazing. The judges give her a standing ovation as the crowd chants her name. Can we please vote for Kelly to win this show again?

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Kelly Clarkson Brings Keith Urban to Tears On American Idol 2016 (VIDEO)

And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments! Until next week (with the premiere of The Voice! Or Sunday for our Oscars live blog!), thanks for reading and hanging out!


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