“American Idol” Top Four head home for a Hero’s welcome

Rayvon, Nick, Clark and Jax returned home to a Heroes' Welcome, but only one artist missed the finale! (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment)

Rayvon, Nick, Clark and Jax returned home to a Heroes’ Welcome, but only three of them headed to the finale! (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Over the past couple of years, the American Idol hometown visits are a cornerstone to the show and a right of passage for every Idol semifinalist.

Who doesn’t remember seeing Elliott Yamin’s emotional return to Richmond? How about seeing a sea of people filling up Kansas City Live at the Power and Light District just to see David Cook? Let’s not forget how Haley Reinhart’s dedicated fans fought the rain just to see her perform!

Last week, Clark Beckham, Nick Fradiani, Jax and Rayvon Owen each got a superstar home visit! But tonight, the dream of performing at the American Idol finale was extinguished for one contestant.

Whose dreams were crushed? Which artists are in the Final Three? Read on to find out…

Rayvon Owen kicked off round one with “Want to Want Me” by Jason DeRulo. Idol in-house mentor Scott Borchetta picked this song (and the latter three that followed). The first part of the Jason DeRulo hit was too airy for me, but he recovered nicely during the latter half of the track. Keith liked hearing Rayvon’s falsetto and Harry thought it was his best performance of an up-tempo track. While it was a great start, the former verses really hit his Achilles’ heel. B-

Scott wanted to challenge Clark Beckham by taking out of his comfort zone. That track that he tackled was U2’s Grammy-winning epic “Beautiful Day.” Before tonight, the only contestant that has successfully tackled U2 on the show was Adam Lambert with “One.” I thought that Clark connected extremely well with the lyrics and he soared. Nice job, Clark! A-

The oldest competitor left tackled the Boss in one epic performance! Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night” made its Idol debut courtesy of Scott Borchetta. Nick delivered a fiery cover of the Patti Smith-penned tune and put so much heart and soul into this performance. I hope that Scott sends the Boss a video of Nick’s performance, because he would be beaming with pride! A

Jax closed out the Scott Borchetta round with a classic rock track. The Big Machine Label Group head chose the Who’s “My Generation” for Jax to perform. Last time, I head someone from “My Generation” perform this track was when Joss Stone slayed the track at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony honoring Roger and Pete. I could not connect with Jax on this classic rock track and she had a bum performance at the middle of the most crucial night of the competition. D+

Nick took to the stage after his trip home to Guilford, Connecticut. After performing with his band (Beach Avenue) and his father, Nick tackled Andy Grammer’s “Back Home.” While I was very unfamiliar with the tune, Nick owned this tune and I think this song might be the ticket into the finale. A

Clark Beckham returned to his busking spot in Nashville, Tennessee where he found an entire crowd and the Mayor waiting for him. After being surprised by his old choir and hundreds of fans, Clark delivered an impeccable cover of Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On The Dockin’ Bay” and he gave me chills! This was not only his best performance on the show, but I think this was his comeback performance! A+

Comeback kid Rayvon Owen headed home to Richmond, Virginia for an epic visit! From visiting the local FOX show and radio station, he returned his childhood home and a pep rally at his old high school. He also got a surprise from fellow Richmond native and Idol finalist Elliott Yamin, who recalled his hometown visit. He dedicated Stevie Wonder’s classic “As” to his hometown. Rayvon definitely improved vocally and his showmanship was unbelievable. B+

The judges decided to give him the late Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” While Rayvon delivered an adequate performance of the tune, it was leagues below Donna Allen’s epic rendition of the track back on The Voice: Season Five! C-

Nick Fradiani closed the night with Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.” I was so glad that the judges picked the Diane Warren-penned tune for Nick to perform, because he delivered a superb cover that featured splendid vocal fireworks. I hope that this track is on his debut album! This also marked the first time that Keith gave a standing ovation this season during the live shows! A

After all of the performances, it was time for the results! For Nick Fradiani, Clark Beckham and Jax…it was time to prepare for an epic showdown! As for Rayvon Owen, it was time for the comeback kid to call it a day!

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar