By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
This is it, ladies and gentlemen!
Tonight, the American Idol judges (Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban) introduced fans to the final contestants who will hopefully join Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Haley Reinhart, Jessica Sanchez, Candice Glover and Clark Beckham in the Idol elite. But before they received the crucial news, the contestants had to perform one final test: performing in-front of a live audience.
Welcome to the Idol Showcase! This test will push contestants to their limits as they must bring their artistry to the next level.
Who rose to the occasion and earned a place in the Top 24? Which artists had their dreams crushed and had to prepare to audition for America’s Got Talent and The Voice? Read on to find out…
Stephany Negrete was the first artist to face the judges. During her Idol Showcase performance, she performed a fiery cover of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” that pleased the crowd at the Dolby Theatre. Jennifer revealed that not only Stephany made it to the Top 24, but she was one of Jennifer’s favorite performers from the Idol Showcase.
Former Team Blake member Shelbie Z revealed to the judges that her favorite moment from her Idol journey was her cover of Heart’s “Alone” during the last Solo Rounds. For her final solo, Shelbie Z once again dug into the Heart songbook and delivered an outstanding take on “Barracuda.” Keith revealed that she received the second spot in the Top 24.
I was very surprised with the people that the judges cut! I hope that each eliminated artist remember that while this is not only a stop on their journey, but also that Simon Cowell, Mel B, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams will always any Idol alums to America’s Got Talent and The Voice respectfully. Speaking of NBC singing competition, former Team CeeLo member: MacKenzie Bourg’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” had audience members singing along with him when he covered the Elvis classic. Because of that performance and his solo from the other night, Jennifer welcomed MacKenzie into the Top 24.
If there was one person that can put the word “Survivor” into their Idol journey, it would be Trent Harmon. He proved that he could sing through mono and showcase his talent throughout Hollywood Week and the Idol Showcase. He gave me chills with his cover of “Tiny Dancer” and because of his body of work, he received a spot in the Top 24! Also joining him were James VIII, Adam Lasher, Kory Wheeler and Jenna Renae.
One of the most impressive contestants that I have seen this season is 15-year-old Jeneve Mitchell. This off-the-grid little lady has surprised me with her superb song choices and stage presence. Not only did Jeneve received a standing ovation from Keith for her cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” but she received a spot in the Top 24!
Another one of my favorites that I was rooting for was CJ Johnson. He showcased his powerful cover of “Parachute” that proved that he could rock the Idol stage during the showcase and received a ticket from Harry to go straight into the Top 24. Meanwhile, Amelia Eisenhower, brought out her violin to cover Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and that decision brought her to one step closer to the Top 24. She was not the only youngster to move on as Lee Jean joined her.
As the singers began to receive “No,” Dalton Rapattoni was even more uncertain with his fate. In his final performance, Dalton gave people the chills with his cover of *NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” (which I thought he should get a pass to the Top 12) and received a spot in the Top 24. While Dalton celebrated, Manny Torres was the latest person to face the judges. Keith praised his optimism and hoped that he will bring it into the Top 24.
While Thomas Stringfellow suffered heartbreak after his girlfriend broke up with him before the Final Judgment, he received good news from the judges that he would be able to make it to the Top 24. As Mr. Stringfellow celebrated his son’s victory by lifting up Ryan Seacrest, both Olivia Rox and Sonika Vaid found out that she would be joining Thomas in the Top 24.
One contestant that had a disagreement with Rickey Minor was Gianna Isabella. He was mad that Gianna’s superstar mom, Brenda K. Starr, was still influencing her daughter and asked him to listen to him when it came to performing on the Idol stage. After listening to Rickey’s advice, Gianna shined while singing her mom’s signature song, “I Still Believe.” I loved watching Brenda’s reaction while Gianna performed her song and I think that Gianna is going to rock the Top 24.
Then, there were four! Jordan Sasser and Kacye Haynes were up first to face the judges. While it seemed like Kacye sounded superior, the judges put Jordan through. I hope that Kacye brings his talent to either AGT or The Voice. So, that left Lindita and La’Porsha Renae. In my humble opinion, both women deserved to go through…however, La’Porhsa’s rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun” gave me chills and edged Lindita out for a position in the Top 24.
Then, there were four! Jordan Sasser and Kacye Haynes were up first to face the judges. While it seemed like Kacye sounded superior, the judges put Jordan through. I hope that Kacye brings his talent to either AGT or The Voice. So, that left Lindita and La’Porsha Renae. In my humble opinion, both women deserved to go through…however, La’Porsha’s rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun” gave me chills and edged Lindita out for a position in the Top 24.
Next week, the first group of Top 12 artists will face off and be mentored by fan-favorite “Idol” alums.