American Idol’s Farewell Season

I planned on doing a post about all the artists I’ve discovered through Idol that sitting in my album collection or my iTunes library or I’m waiting for them to put out music…

That hasn’t changed.

But considering how yesterday’s [well, yesterday as of this post] finale became nothing but a nostalgia trip to the point where crowning a winner was a footnote…
I couldn’t go on with that until I acknowledge what was a pretty great final season of the show.
One of my favorite top 10’s this show has ever had because the talent was deep. Not to mention everyone went home at their just time. There’ve been years where one of the weaker voices [it’s almost always a guy] sticks around way too long because of fangirl votes.
This year, the weakest members of the top 10 were Gianna and Lee Jean. Once they were gone, we really had a game where I would have been fine with just about anyone winning.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Even back to the auditions, I remembered a lot of names and looked forward to seeing each of them as they progressed.
Jessica Cabral, I remembered calling as her a winner at her audition… then she didn’t even make the top 24. The blogosphere won’t be forgetting that anytime soon.
Sonika Vaid and Tristan McKintosh were two that had me thinking the same thing. Particularly Sonika. She was so pure and flawless. I couldn’t believe how unassuming and unconfident she was- she didn’t realize just how good she is. Tristan, of course, had that tearjerker storyline where her army vet mom surprised her at her audition. Idol likes to do this a lot, but I didn’t freaking care. She was amazing.
Olivia Rox was one of several girls I liked- most of their names escape me now, but they played at the piano and did really well.
Jenn Blosil, I didn’t know if she’d be good or bad until she sang. Then she surprised everyone by having just the right amount of quirk. Potentially this season’s Joey Cook, but she also made me think of Emma Stone for some weird reason.
Emily Brooke I think I remembered from last season, but she had improved a lot in that one year.
Amelia Eisenhauer was one of two redheads I liked from the auditions- the other didn’t make past the green mile.
Then of course La’Porsha freaking killed it from her first audition- knew she was going to be one to watch/another winner. I’d never heard “Creep” the way she did it.

Clearly I thought this was another girl’s year. Jennifer made a comment that roughly translated to “we need a girl this year. screw the guys”…
In the end, we only had maybe four guys get into the top 10… so I thought it was a deadlock for La’Porsha or Sonika to win the entire thing.
Yet another guy won this year…

During Hollywood week, there’s always some kind of drama.
One girl was left by a group and was later adopted by another one. I think she was left by a group that had Sonika and this guy Andrew who was originally from Moscow [I thought I’d be all broken up when he got eliminated, but I don’t think he even made it to the green mile- so no huge loss] and she got adopted by a group that included Dalton. I’m not entirely positive.
[I just checked Lyndsey Parker’s blog- I had it right]

Then of course we had our first ever group number with one person. I honestly didn’t remember Trent’s audition. But I’ll always remember him as that dude from Hollywood that had mono and didn’t let it slow him down. In fact, when he performed, he freaking killed it and I couldn’t tell he was even sick. [But hey, if Plushenko can land a quad and triple axels while dealing with the flu, anything’s possible if you’re good at what you do].
Of course, knowing now that Trent Harmon has been declared the winner of season 15 aka “the bookend to Kelly Clarkson,” there’s more to remember him for than that.

One of the best group numbers was La’Porsha with two other divas doing “Stayin’ Alive” and damn, loved the way she used her walk to give this song a much needed attitude adjustment to keep it from being forgotten.

This show, as always, can be unpredictable, but there’s no guarantees of how far someone is going to get. That’s why I made sure to vote for all the people liked every week. Certainly wasn’t going to let La’Porsha got home prematurely the way Tamyra Gray and Jennifer Hudson did.
My dad joked that now the phone bill will go back to normal. I didn’t realize how all those 10 second phone calls would add up, lol.

I thought for sure, especially after top 10 night where La’Porsha and Sonika had a one-two punch that they would be the final two.

Anyway- the top 24 had cuts nearly all the right places.
Lots of the guys I wasn’t too crazy about were eliminated very quickly. Thomas Stringellow, who I liked at the auditions, I wanted gone so bad after his “Creep” cover didn’t pan out for me. Harry should have told him sooner about his tendancy to affect the ends of his notes- which annoys me.
My thought process was “he better not get further than Mackenzie Bourg.”

This season was also particularly interesting because we had at least four contestants that tried out for The Voice or made it on the show.
Shelbie Z. and Mackenzie I remembered really well- particularly since I liked them both and wanted them to go further. I feel like Shelbie got thrown under the bus in the top 24 with the duet round– there were rumors in the blogosphere that the judges had their critiques already written before she even performed “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Constantine. A voice as good as hers, she needs to have a record deal. I don’t know how it hasn’t happened- other than the fact the producers cast her in a villain or bitchy role where she acted like she was better than the others.
Technically yes, she was. Should have at least gotten Gianna’s spot in the top 10. But then she and La’Porsha might have split the votes [divas with bad-ass pipes]
Yet it was okay for have Mackenzie, Thomas and Lee Jean… for some reason… but also, explain how WGWG’s won five years in a row…

Anyway, top 24 had some great performances that set some people apart.
Avalon Young, a favorite of the bloggers I follow, had a great moment with a Justin Beiber song- one I don’t particularly care for.
Jenn Blosil tackled the one Beiber song I did like and the judges didn’t send her through… which kinda sucks, that and the fact it didn’t sound as good as I hoped it would.
Emily and Amelia met their end here, which also sucked a bit. Each of them, I pegged to go further. Too bad, also, that Emily went home on a Cassadee Pope song. Especially since it’s aptly named “Invincible”.
And with people like Dalton and Mackenzie, it reaffirmed why I like them that much.
Mackenzie, I loved on The Voice and I always thought he was cut too soon… another irony that he sang “Titanium” in the top 4 and clearly he was not since he went home the following week.

So come top 10… I had my core of favorites that I was spending all my votes on.
And funny enough, they were all consecutive with their numbers. Dalton was 5 and Sonika was 9 with Tristan, Mackenzie and La’Porsha in between.
Kind of an expanded version of what I had in season 13 when I had my trifecta of Caleb, Alex and Jessica.

In an interesting sort of way, this season for me was like season 11, which I compared to season 5. In that I had one person I picked to win- they were eliminated prematurely and the winner was literally the last person I wanted.
By the end of season 13, I had developed a closeness with Jessica Meuse and Alex Preston and it hurt particularly when neither of them made the finale. And I’d also become disenchanted with Caleb after a comment he made an interview [pretty much calling his fans idiots for insisting he do certain songs] and how there was overwhelming favoritism of him and the attitude towards Jessica in particular was mean-spirited.
I still believe Jennifer felt threatened by her talent, so that was her only option.

I have a couple reasons to be upset with Jennifer Lopez right now… and the fact she’s the reason Colton Dixon even came back to the show after being eliminated before the green mile in season 10 isn’t going to make things better anymore.
Her performance at yesterday’s finale was overlong and self-absorbed.
The other two judges’ performances were great. I’m just saying it would have been a good opportunity for the season 15 finalists to perform on the show.
That’s pretty much the reason I’m doing this blog post right now.

The other reason I’m upset with her… I’m going to blame the judge’s song choice for Dalton squarely on her. Maybe if they assigned him something more emotionally charged, he could have made the final 2.
But I think that if Dalton came in 2nd to Trent, that would have been even more devastating than the fact a guy won the final season of this show against one of the greatest divas it’s ever had. Certainly better than Fantasia.

When the judges revealed their picks, I wasn’t surprised about La’Porsha and they’d loved Trent since forever. Dalton, I was extremely surprised and happy about. It took the pressure off me waiting an entire night to see if he’d perform.
Olivia Rox was their final pick. In some ways I agree, but some not so much. Vocally, she’s a weird one for me. Some notes are great and others feel off to me. Meanwhile, I can’t figure if she reminds me of Kirsten Dunst in “Bring It On” or Keira Knightley in “Love Actually”- there’s something familiar about her face.

Amazing, America got most of their votes right. Every year, there’s always been one finalist that overstays their welcome. That didn’t happen so much this year- not for me, anyway. I’m sure there were plenty of Dalton haters out there.
And my mom is probably among hundreds of Trent haters. She spent nearly this whole season saying “anyone but him” and “who keeps voting for this guy?”

Most of America, apparently…
This is a greater mystery to me than Jax finishing third last year when she had more Twitter followers than anyone.
Dalton has nearly 150K followers on Twitter, yet he finished in third?
But then Mackenzie finished 4th with the same amount.
Meanwhile, Trent and La’Porsha roughly had 45K apiece.

All I can hope for is for Dalton to get the One Direction storybook ending… but with music more likely to be taken seriously than most of theirs was (“Story of my life” was the turning point for a lot of people- me, I’d always been kind of a fan of their songs on the radio… but Dalton has much more to offer than boyband stuff).

On the plus side, though, Trent has a lot more talent and personality than Phillip Phillips did… plus, I have enjoyed him on occasion.
I thought for sure, though, that his cover of Sam Smith’s “Like I Can” would be a fast track ticket home because vocally it rubbed me the wrong way. Kinda like #HesSoDull Phillips covering Geneis and Phil Collins.

Guess all that’s left to do is go through the top 10 and their highlights and also got into the series finale…

Olivia Rox was sent home too early- but she had the misfortunate of going first. That’s usually a bad sign. But her save me performance wasn’t as good. Especially when you compare her to Avalon.

Gianna was there mostly because her mom had a one hit wonder in the 80’s… I’m well-versed in 80’s music, but I never heard of Brenda K. Starr. although I may have recognized her one hit.
She was good, but she wasn’t amazing. She needed another couple years to hone her craft.

Avalon was cool and had lots of swag. Definitely one of the more unique and talented Idols we’ve ever had. She did “Love Yourself” and this one Chris Brown song really well. But then she did “Stitches” and things came apart for her. Only got saved one week.
But it was well used save. I was ready to be very critical of her take on “Earned It” by The Weeknd… yet she freaking nailed it where I got chills at the end.

Lee Jean I liked a lot at first, but he didn’t deserve to stay over the other guys still there. I did like his Ed Sheeran covers [I said I liked his “Runaway” cover on Twitter and he liked it]- even if it was getting repetitive, lol.
Kelly Clarkson pointed that out when she was a guest judge [amazing guest judge by the way- plus her performance was a great tear-jerker].

After that, we had some ill-fated duets.
Honestly, I didn’t really like any of them. I tuned out La’Porsha and Trent doing “See You Again” (the Charlie Puth/Wiz Khalifa song, not the Carrie Underwood song I love) because I don’t like that song. It was hard to connect with it.
Then I was afraid Dalton and Mackenzie were getting the brush-off when they were assigned “I want it that way”… why didn’t that get Daltonized? It could have been so much better than it was. Luckily they survived it.

Sonika had one of the greatest Save Me performances EVER with “I Have Nothing”… sure, it’s overdone, but when you nail it, who cares?
As much as I like Tristan, she couldn’t not go home after that. She started good, but never fully realized her potential on this show. But then she’s only 15.

Sonika had her issues as well. After “Bring me to life,” she never had another really kick-ass amazing performance. And I’m sad about that because she has such a great pure voice. Don’t know why she didn’t get picked for “The Voice” with that kind of talent.

Conceivably when this season started, I never imagined Mackenzie and Dalton would get as far as they did. Especially with strong voices as their competition. But both have that unique special something that kept them in it.

I’m glad Dalton stuck around for as long as he did and Mackenzie respectfully eliminated in 4th.

Mackenzie was a pleasant surprise most weeks. One I remember was him doing “You Are so Beautiful”- a song I hate because it’s overdone and there isn’t much to it lyrically. But he sang it to the camera in such a way that I just melted. Also liked his Whitney Houston cover.

Dalton, I’d just spent an entire post writing about all the reasons why he was my favorite to win. Or rather, he BECAME my favorite to win.
Like Colton Dixon, he kinda snuck up on me. Slowly fell in love with him as a person after the looks and artistry drew me in initially.

But I knew that his elimination- whenever it came- wasn’t going to be easy for me. Even a hint of the possibility he might go home [one week he was the last one saved and he nailed “Eleanor Rigby”; and another he was in the bottom two with Sonika, who I was sure at this point was over] had every inch of my body flipping out. I’d be shaking or just be unable to move until the coast was clear.
I know it sounds freaking insane, but I’m not kidding. I’m usually on the edge of my seat with potential eliminations, but it was never like this.

If he was eliminated earlier than he was, I think I would have spent the rest of this season practically comatose. After Colton’s elimination, I hung in there for Skylar and Hollie, but I was practically drained of life or just caring about the show anymore.

All the pieces worked as they were meant to. I mean, if La’Porsha wasn’t through to the final, a lot of people would be flipping out. And she deserved to be there for sure, without question.
But that little sliver of hope that it’d be her and Dalton in the finale, only for Trent to get there instead…

I thought the finale with Jax going home in 3rd place last year was brutal.
Dalton actually got to perform his single (“Strike A Match” I felt was perfect for him)… but after Trent doing his single and his facial expressions and excessive runs ruining any chance of me connecting to it, I REALLY did not want to see two more performances from him.
La’Porsha had a perfect single for her as well and it was easily the best performance of the three (as in “get her in the studio STAT- she’s ready”).

I had no life in me for the rest of the night…
with last year’s finale, I was not emotionally present until Nick’s 2nd song- and that was the 4th performance.
I don’t think I ever fully recovered this time around.

I confess that, again, Trent doing “Chandelier” is amazing and untouchable as far as Idol performances go… the first time he did it, I literally had no words. Even now, I have trouble even describing what I felt. The only other time I was this speechless was maybe when Elise Testone did “whole lotta love” on season 11- freaking insane performance.

Not sure who said that hope is a dangerous thing… but I felt like that was the thing that ultimately killed me last night. I kept hoping for Dalton to perform one more time. He tweeted he would, so I assumed he’d get a solo or duet with somebody.
But the season 15’s top 10 were ignored almost completely. They were present at a bunch of random moment throughout the night, but except for the very beginning, they didn’t even sing.

Seriously, I wondered why we even bothered with a final season and finding a final winner if they weren’t even going to give them this one final moment where they could shine… I don’t regret having a final season at all. I’m just saying that it was very disrespectful- like they didn’t even care.
I guess I thought one final performance from Dalton would help me make peace with the fact I probably wouldn’t see him again for a long time. I just loved getting to know him so much and dammit, I already miss him.
I follow him on Twitter, but it isn’t quite the same.

Anyway… the finale last night… after this point in writing, it’s two nights ago…

lots of great moments.
stand-out for me was Kara DioGuardi aka the most underappreciated Idol judge ever… I knew she co-wrote for many artists like Pink and Ryan Cabrera and Ashlee Simpson and of course Kelly Clarkson… but for some reason, I never imagined she could sing THAT amazingly.
I think I might have blocked out her performing in the finale with bikini girl years ago… I still think that was unjustified- the guys sending bikini girl through when Kara knew that she wasn’t vocally strong enough.
Anyway, her “Sober” performance- KILLER!

Great seeing so many old Idols back… weird seeing how some of them changed their hair and were unrecognizable. Tamyra looked more like Rihanna with that red hair and like she had plastic surgery or something.
Diana DeGarmo is no longer blonde.
And the craziest transformation- Bo Bice with next to no hair on his head. Had ZERO idea it was him until they had the placard under him.

Clay Aiken came back and showed, again, why he SHOULD have won this show.
It just added insult to that injury that Ruben was on the same stage as him…. in that medley with a bunch of musicians from around the world… he was the only winner. Everyone else finished 2nd or finished earlier than they should have.
I want to believe that if Clay actually won American Idol, he wouldn’t have become the cynic politically-charged Tweeter that he is now… but even without winning, he still got some albums out.
I’m very close to muting him, actually… at least until this election season is over.
Although if Trump ends up in the White House, that mute might be permanent… I don’t have the heart to unfollow one of the most amazing voices this show has had.

Colton Dixon coming back was awesome- especially since he got to perform one of his own songs.
The one thing keeping me from enjoying it fully… he needs to fire himself as his stylist because I’m not digging the shape of his hair or that beard right now.
I don’t care if he’s married now or he isn’t all about the sex appeal in his music- it’s hard for his smolder to come through the camera lens when his hair is distracting me.
Kinda like how Prince’s afro has been killing his sex appeal these past couple years- the fact he isn’t on that market either [for different reasons, though] is beyond the point.

But yeah, having Colton back did make up for the fact he didn’t get an Idol finale duet all those years ago when other 7th place finishers since him have.

The rock guys were all great. Having the three divas was cool [could have done without Fantasia, but that’s just me, not her biggest fan]. Honorable mentions of William Hung and Mr. “Pants on the Ground” was a lot of fun.

First big highlight for me- the return of Brian Dunkleman. I have missed him since he left at the end of the first season… and it was great for him and Ryan to have those moments of joshing and sentimentality.
Great seeing Simon back- although we all kinda saw it coming. Not sure why they were so shocked, lol

Keith and Carrie killed it with the Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Quit Dragging my heart around”.
Kelly’s medley of her hits was very manic and rushed and I wanted more than just an echo of “Behind my hazel eyes”… but her “Moment like this” moment was… wow… the only thing missing was video behind her of her singing it at the first ever finale.

Huge nostalgia rush there.

Also thought it was kinda funny when they had this Bowie tribute that they had five WGWG’s on stage together all with their guitars… and they actually sounded good.
My one nit-pick, Scotty McCreery wasn’t in that group despite him being one of those sequential WGWG’s. They had Nick Fradani I guess just to have him there… Scotty was in the country medley earlier.

They finally acknowledged Candice, who won season 12… yet her number with Melinda Doolittle (another kinda forgotten about finalist) was very short.

The only thing Trent and La’Porsha did all night was introduce an act or two, get cars and perform “It takes two”- the duet Justin and Kelly did on season one.

What would have been great for the top 10… if they’re all about nostalgia, they should have done “California Dreamin'”… all these years later, I still remember that moment when the original top 10 did it.

I was pretty much destroyed by the end of the show- that the top 10 didn’t REALLY get to sing or perform, that the last person I picked to win won the show, this that and whatever…
I was practically inconsolable. Thinking about it now, it threatens to bring me to tears.

Last thing left to do before I do my follow-up blog on Idol music… watch the final “The Day After” with my favorite blogger Lyndsey Parker, Brandon Rodgers (top 13 of season 6- also showed up for a really cool Motown number with the soul brothers of Idol including Elliot Yamin, Danny Gokey and Clarke Beckham) and Blake Lewis (hellz yeah! great pick for the surprise guest).

But that’ll wait until tomorrow… it’s late enough as it is.

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