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American Idol Season 15 - The Final Season


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  1. 1. We have our Top 14. Now, before they go live, who do you think is going to win?

    • Mackenzie Bourg
    • Jeneve Rose Mitchel
    • Sonika Vaid
    • Gianna Isabella
    • Avalon Young
    • Thomas Stringfellow
    • La'Porsha Renae
    • Manny Tores
    • Jenn Blosil
    • Lee Jean
    • Trent Harmon
    • Tristan McIntosh
    • Dalton Rapattoni
    • Olivia Rox

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Your Top 14:


Dallas, TX
Jackson, NJ
Crawford, CO
Brooklyn, NY
McComb, MS


Bluffton, SC
Lafayette, LA
Flushing, MI
Agoura Hills, CA
Martha's Vineyard, MA
Bentonville, AR
Amory, MS
Nashville, TN
San Diego, CA
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From 14 down to 10.  Who will make the cut? This is American Idol!


Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest! Welcome to our farewell season of American Idol, where tonight the power is back in your hands. Like we've said since Season One, you vote, you decide.  


Up until now, these 3 have been calling the shots and they've done a pretty good job.  Say hello to Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez!  Right now there are 10 shares over in the Contestant Lounge reserved for your Top 10.  We'll start to fill them up in just a moment.

Since narrowing down the talent this season to 14, your judges have been holding intense discussions on who should get a Fast Pass straight into the Top 10. So how many did you agree on?  Jennifer says we decided unanimously on 4 people who have to be in the Top 10.


So four will get coveted spots in the Top 10 from the judges, the others will be decided by you at home. Six spots, but 10 want the spots. The idols don't know who has the Fast Pass, they've all rehearsed to take the stage tonight.


Let's bring them out.  Ladies & Gentlemen, Your Season 15 Lineup!  Dalton Rapattoni! La'Porsha Renae! Olivia Rox! Trent Harmon! Avalon Young!  Gianna Isabella!  Jeneve Mitchell! Jenn Blosil!  Lee Jean!  MacKenzie Bourg! Manny Torres!  Sonika Vaid!  Thomas Stringfellow!  And Tristan McIntosh!  


We're going to get to the judges picks right now.  Dim the lights and here we go.  Harry, who is the first person you decided to be in the Top 10?

One of the people we decided for sure had to go through is...   Dalton Rapattoni!


Three more spots from the judges.  Keith, who else gets a Fast Pass?  As much as we disagree on a lot of things, we totally agreed on... Olivia Rox!


Two more spots, Ms. Lopez, who else gets to go in? We couldn't imagine this Top 10 without...   Trent Harmon!


After hours of deliberation, Harry, the final idol to make it into the Top 10 is?  Out of all the people on the stage, the last person we felt unanimous about is...


La'Porsha Renae!  You are in the Top 10! Dalton, La'Porsha, Olivia and Trent can relax tonight but they'll be back tomorrow night to battle it out with the rest of the Top 10.  


The question now is who will they be competing against? There are six spots remaining and 10 idols hungry to take them.


The first person to fight for your votes is Manny Torres! Singing Master Blaster (Stevie Wonder), He looks comfortable on the bigger stage, moving easily and belting out a smooth versin of the song, but he doesn't quite have the reggae feel, giving the song more of pop feel.  Solid but not extrordinary vocal. I wasn't terribly impressed.


Keith says I don't know if that was the right song for you, but I like you have this fighter spirit, a raz energy and you delivered that tonight.  


BTW, the songs they are singing are their favorite moments from the season so far, so if you thought it was good enough for the Top 10, speak up. 


You can vote on AmericanIdol.com or the Fox app at the end of the show, toll free and text voting closes 2 hours after the end of the show.  Super Vote and Google Search Vote closes 9am tomorrow morning.  


Next to fight for a spot in the Top 10 is Gianna Isabella, singing I Put A Spell On You (Annie Lennox).  I think she was going for mysterious but her performance was too busy with vocal acrobatics instead of being passionate and infused with emotion.  And her power vocal didn't work for me.  I'm not having a good night so far.


Jennifer says I love to watch your sassiness there, you're coming into your own and it's great, you're still 15 and we see that innocense there, but we also see the beginnings of an amazing artist and performer and singer. For me, you were my #5 in the Top 10 and you have the most potential for growth.


Next competing for the Top 10 is Thomas Stringfellow, singing Story Of My Life (One Direction).  Wearing a youthful baseball cap and striped sweater, he opens with an up tempo but mellow vocal, solid yet simple, building anticipation for the chorus and that's when he begins roaming the tage and glad handing the front row fans.  It looked like he hasn't quite learned how to find the camera for those sensitive closeups but I liked what he was trying to do.  Things are improving.


Harry says I loved the song for you, but there's a big difference between an idiosyncrasy  that makes you unique and a bad habit. Cracking almost every note at the end, you have to stop. It's too much.  You have to think about that because it gets annoying.


Will Triston McIntosh make it into the Top 10? Singing What Hurts The Most (Rascal Flatts), her voice is pure butter melting out of my Bose speakers. She isn't trying to do too much with the song, letting it flow naturally, great range and dynamics. I felt there was structure and direction in this performance, and oh is her voice sweet. Now I'm feeling it.


Keith says that was a beautiful song choice for your voice and the way you did it, it was a side of you we haven't seen yet. Great job.


The eyes of the nation now focus on Avalon Young, singing Yo (Excuse Me Miss) (Chris Brown).  She opens casually talking to the audience then opens into a faced paced narrative smooth jazz pop, dancing around on the stage with a solid but not powerful vocal, making sure she stays on top of the background music.  It was a nice, gentle performance.


Jennifer says you are getting so much more comfortable up there, that was smooth like butter, old time.  Someone I think deserves to be in the Top 10.  That was a great performance, amazing.


Is there a spot for Jenn Blosil?  She's singing True Colors (Cyndi Lauper).  She nails the soft and cloudy style of the song's originator, maybe depending a little too much on the squeaks and quirks on the edges of the lyrics. My bigger problem was that the performance was lacking in energy that a song this beautiful deserved.  It was good - it could have been better.


Harry says I knew you had it in you. That was a flawless lyric delivery.


Next up trying to earn your vote tonight is Lee Jean, singing Make It Rain (Ed Sheeran).  Playing his guitar (the first to play an instrument tonight), his vocal is soft and sensitive, the audience slowly clapping along.  I wish his voice was a little louder and more solid but he's a young man and that will catch up with his deep soul.


Keith says you have your own style, so unique, chill, like walking on a shelly easter beach.  You had a lot of nerves tonight, but even so, I like what you're doing.


Maybe there's a Top 10 spot for Sonika Vaid, singing I Surrender (Celine Dion).  Getting right down to business, she delivers a solid, dramatic vocal.  She has great timing and turns on a dynamic, clear power vocal.  She was in total control of this performance, bringing Jennifer to her feet.

People came to sing tonight, Jennifer says, you're voice gave me goosies on my face. That's an allergic reaction, Harry jokes. The way your voice sits in the music is so out of this world, Jennifer says, it's so beautiful.


That brings us to Jeneve Mitchell, singing Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash).  Her opening vocal is low, slow and saturated with emotion, eschewing the mountain music vibe and delivering a strong Grand O'l Oprey style performance that showed off a level of maturity I hadn't seen in her so far.  And I liked it.


I have to apologize, my DVR cut off and I missed the final performance from MacKenzie Bourg, who took a risk and sang his original song, Roses.  I will try to make sure this does not happen again.


We'll be back Thursday night for your results and the Top 10 Reveal.

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September 4th, 2002, George W Bush was President. Tiger Woods won the 2002 Masters. Kelly Clarkson won American Idol.  In 2003, 38 million watched Rueben Studdard win American Idol.  The Space SHuttle Columbia launched. The DaVinci Code was published.


In 2004, the world learned the name Jennifer Hudson. Facebook launched. President Bush was reelected. Fantasia Burino became your American Idol.  YouTube launched on February 14th, 2005.  Carrie Underwood began her American Idol journey.


Kelly Clarkson won a Grammy in 2006 and was congratulated for the first time on Twitter.  In 2007, Idol gave back and Jordan Sparks won it all.  Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for Dream Girls. In 2008, Michael Phelps won 8 Gold Medals.


In 2009, Adam Lambert raised the bar on what it takes to win American Idol.  Michael Jackson passed away.  In 2010, Instragam launched and we learned to sing Pants On The Ground.  In 2012, Kelly Clarkson sang at President Obama's inauguration.


In 2016, the winner of American Idol Season 15 is...   This is American Idol!


Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!  Tonight your Top 10 will be officially announced and these three get a front row seat: Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr and Jennifer Lopez!


There's an empty chair at the desk because tonight we're welcoming a very special person to the panel to guest judge. It was Season 1 and she actually won that season. Harry was actually in the audience that night.


Last night, Jen, Keith and Harry selected 4 who they wanted to see in the Top 10, so a big congratulations to LaPors Renae!  Trent Harmon!  Dalton Rapattoni!  And Olivia Rox!  They will take the stage for your votes tonight.  


Joining them will be six more based on your votes.  You had 10 to choose from and they're back tonight for your results.  Please welcome Manny Torres! Gianna Isabella! Thomas Stringfellow!  Tristan McIntosh!  Avalon Young!  Jenn Blosil!  Lee Jean!  Sonika Vaid!  Jeneveve Rose Mitchell!  And MacKenzie Bourg!


If you're ready, ladies and gentlemen, America, let's get to it.  Dim the lights, here we go.


In no particular order, the first person America has picked to join the Top 10 is...   Tristan McIntosh!  Congratulations!


Also making Idol history after the nationwide vote is...   Sonika Vaid!


And up next to make the Top 10 for Season 15 is...   Gianna Isabella!


America also wants more from someone else, and that person is...   MacKenzie Bourg!  You're in the Top 10!


And joining the gang over on the stools will be the pride of...  San Diego.  Avalon Young, you are through!  


So we've got one more spot and five idols wanting it.  Manny Torres.  Thomas Stringfellow.  Jenn Blosil.  Lee Jean.  And Jeneve Rose.  


After the nationwide vote, the final person in to the Top 10 for Season 15 is...   Lee Jean!  Congratulations!


That means we say good bye to Manny, Thomas, Jenn and Jeneve.  You guys have a lot to look forward to.  


Make some noise, one of these 10 will be your next American Idol.  MacKenzie Bourg!  Trent Harmon!  Gianna Isabella!  Lea Jean!  Tristan McIntosh!  Dalkton Rapattoni!  LaPorsha Renae!  Olivia Rox!  Sonika Vaid!  And Aalon Young!


It seems like yesterday we named the Season 1 Top 10. So many faces that look familiar including this young lady.  Kelly Clarkson looks back on her time on American Idol.


Ladies and gentlemen, your original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson!


Kelly is visibly pregnant.  It looks imminent, Ryan jokes.  It's OK, she says.  It's a 2 hour show, he reminds her.  She has a little over 7 weeks remaining and this trip was one of the last flights she's allowed to take. If my water breaks, she jokes, you're welcome!  


Tonight we celebrates all the great songs that have been released since Idol has been on, and kicking off the party tonight is Olivia Rox. Watching Idol was a family tradition for her growing up, starting with Season 5 and Katherine McPhee, singing Over The Rainbow.  AI was part of her live and now is her life.


Singing Unconditionally (Katy Perry), her voice is a bit breathy, quiet and staccato, her vocal a bit dreamy through the first verse before she opened up with a power middle that tossed in passionate emotions.  She doesn't know how to use the stage much yet, but it was a solid performance.


Keith says you're on a real, honest, artist trajectory now, perfect song choice, just keep loosening and relaxing. Jennifer says I really loved the arrangement at the beginning, the song was so beautiful that way, it suited your voice, you had so much control, you just have to hit hard those things you want to do.


Kelly says I loved the big parts but the beginning was tasteful, it takes far more air to wiff that light. You're super good and young.  Harry asks Kelly what does she know about singing pop songs? You were so pretty in the beginning, he says to Olivia, great job.


Remember, voting opens tonight after the show for 2 hours; Super Vote and Google Search Vote until 9am tomorrow morning.  


The finale is still six weeks away but that just fires up the competition. Next up is Gianna Isabella, who watched AI growing up on a TV in the family RV. They would drive around until they found good satellite reception.  She had a crush on Scotty McCreary, everything about him was so glorious.


Singing Listen (Beyonce), her voice is soft and sensitive, looking directly into the camera, swaying slightly at the microphone, she builds up to the first chorus.  Her delivery turns harder and more dramatic as she throws in a but of gutteral vocal acrobatics.  I can't tell if she lost her pitch or if that was intentional.


Jennifer says that was not your best performance, there were parts that sounded really great, but it was shaky. You need to pick songs you can command and will show all of your strengths. You have to feel 100% comfortable. Kelly says that was a bold song choice and you hit the notes, but you're 15 and I would be pitchy too when I got nervous.  You'll grow out of that.  Just quit thinking, I see you in me. What?  Pregnant brain. I see me in you.  Don't focus on hitting every note technically perfect, just let go and let your natural gift come out.


Harry says it's so fun sitting next to you (Kelly) to get that kind of advice. To Gianna, it felt very arranged, the song is about dreams but it felt rehearsed.  Keith says with your voice, all you have to do is believe in yourself, the gift is there.


Here's a little more on Lee Jean, who was born when American Idol was.  One of his favorite memories is Season 10's Chris Medina auditioning with Falling To Pieces. His story touched him, he could relate.  He wants to be able to touch somebody in the same way.


Singing Skinny Love (Bon Iver) and playing the guitar, his voice is in his upper register but dynamically dips into a midrange as he performs ballad style with a decent but not exceptional vocal, his falsetto cracking just a bit.  


Kelly says she loves he sticks with what he's good at but the other vocalists are going to blow it if they get the chance.  It's easy and chill, you don't have to be woah all the time.  I like it.  Harry says I like it too, this is your lane. But it's MacKenzie's too, and you'll have to concern yourself with that, but I can't see you doing EDM, this is what you do. Just concentrate on pitch.


Keith says you tell a story really well, your voice is believable, so pick vulnerable songs and you'll be different. It's about achieving what Chris Medina made you feel, Jennifer says, the songs have to mean something to you so people watching will feel the same way, it's not about beating the other voices but your performance being more impactful.

Oh, and Chris was in the audience and gives Lee a thumbs up (we couldn't hear what he actually said).


Next, it's show time for Avalon Young.  She couldn't wait for American Idol to come on - it was a family popcorn event. Her favorite memory was Justin Guarini singing Get Here (Oleta Adams).  She played it over and over, the tone in his voice. She never thought it would be here and now it is her.


Singing Stitches (Shawn Mendes), her voice is tender and vulnerable, her vocal total pop, expressive and bouncy at the chorus.  She had a tendency to fall off the lyric at the end of a line, giving the impression she was out of breath, but her performance was strong.


Harry says you have this cool vibe, but maybe not that half-time groove at the beginning. Last night you were really telling a story but this one fell flat in terms of the lyrics. Keith says I get to watch when and how the audience response to moments and at the beginning the audience sensed your nervousness but they were all there with you after you loosened up.


Jennifer says it wasn't really the right song for you, we sensed it wasn't easy and natural for you but you found a way to make it happen and from that point it was great. Make sure you feel good with the song and tell your story.  Kelly says you're so captivating, something so special about you, I don't love the songs you sing but I love it when you sing them. You make me love whatever you sing.  It's hard to hear your self when you start out so low with everyone clapping, so cut her some slack on that.


We keep it moving on with Dalton Rapattoni, who recalls his family betting on Chris Daughtry on Season 5, and when he was kicked off it was like a bomb fell on the Rapattoni house.  He says David Cook inspired how he approaches his songs, he would change the arrangement and make it cool.


Singing Hey There Delilah (Plain White T's), he's up tempo from the start, working the stage and the audience, comfortable performing and being on stage, delivering a fun and honest vocal, unique and style, confident and dynamic, multi-dimensional.  The arrangement is dramatic and so was his presence.  Kind of makes me think of The Monkeys.


Keith says I love it when you take songs somewhere different and you did it again, so much confidence, the audience responded straight away, you beefed up a folksy thing, it was like electric barnyard.  Jennifer says you're the really cool cute guy but you also have a lot of heart and that comes through when you sing, that's why the girls scream. I get it.  You're really speaking to them.


Kelly says you're so comfortable on stage, it's like home for you, and I love every time you sing, it's always a different genre of music, a different type of artist, which is important for longevity. Harry asks how he likes it when the girls scream for him.  Some guys were screaming for him too, Kelly says. Keith remembers what that used to feel like, Harry jokes.  Every time you've sung, you've flipped the concept for the arrangement and so far you're batting 1000.


We turn country with Tristan McIntosh, who would crawl into her parents bed with her brother to watch American Idol religiously. She remembers when Jessica Sanchez was a contestant on Season 11 sang Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You.  She always wanted to try out for AI but wasn't old enough until now.


Singing Nothin' Like You (Dan + Shay).  Her vocal is tender with an underlying confidence and she quickly walks the stage and recognizes the front row fans, getting the whole audience clapping along with a country-pop performance, a vibrant change of tempo and energy, long, sustained power vocals and a strong climax.


Jennifer says we have a lot of 15 and 16yr olds, a very young Top 10 and you guys are still figuring things out and finding yourselves. It's about finding comfortable songs and that wasn't everything it could be, not the strongest performance you could have given. You don't look 15. I didn't look like that at 15, Kelly says, or 20 or 30.  Jennifer continues, don't stretch yourself out of 15, just be who you are in the moment.


Kelly says whatever your message is, you are best when you're lost in the moment, that's a young thing, just sing Trisha Yearwood, you would really nail it.  As a watcher, what? A viewer, I want to hear you sing a song you really feel, you could be heartbreaking.  Harry says it's a very lyricy song and I'd choose songs with more crossover appeal that everyone knows, not just the country world. And if you going to work the audience, you can't let it affect your singing.


Keith says I don't totally agree, if you find a song that plays to your strengths and you can kill it, it doesn't matter what the song is. That's a tricky song to sing. some big intervals, and I think you did really well, but you have to watch the pitch.


The season finale is just over a month away and the competition is heading up, which means we'll all be out of work.  BTW, we're on LinkedIn.  Everyone wants to make history, including MacKenzie Bourg who was an athlete growing up but started bonding with his mom over American Idol. His favorite memory was William Hung singing She Bangs. We were all talking about it at recess.  Idol is a platform that can give memorable people moments.


Singing I See Fire (Ed Sheeran), MacKenzie has a folksy touch, showing off his vocal acrobatics with a sensitive touch, playing his mini-acoustic, his performance feels intense and passionate.  His voice is soft and touchable, with an approachable tone of sincerity.


Kelly says my little man (her baby) hasn't moved the whole show until that performance when he started doing flips.  So he likes you. I didn't know where I wanted to go when I was on this show but you know exactly where you want to go and you're already there, super talented, you write and connect, you're vessel for songs as well, I'm excited to hear what you do in the future.


Harry says you've very compelling when you sing. Mac says it makes me feel fired up to be here.  That's sexy, Kelly says. Keith says he likes when he plays guitar, it gives him a comfort and you could tell your vocal was so chill and in the zone. That's what you do, agrees Jennifer, it'll be interesting to see what songs you choose to make an impact as you have to respond to the other artists.

Will the baby be impressed with La'Porsha Renae? Let's find out.  She's watched the show since Season 1 and started believing it could be her when she saw Kelly Clarkson win.  Now she just has to win too.  It would mean she came out on top of her life.


Singing Diamonds (Rihanna), her voice is elegant and full of vibrato, a throbbing beat of expectation and pent up energy. Her arrangement plays with some vocal reverb adding extra production values to her already larger than life voice, dripping with passion and soul. She never fully lets loose with the power but she didn't have to because her very presence owned that stage.


The audience and Kelley were on their feet. Harry says, or tries to as La'Porsha tears up at the reception, that's your critique.  It is not my turn to speak, Kelly says, but I don't care because you, if I were you, which Gd bless, I wish I were, I would every time be like, whenever I opened my mouth to sing, be like, you're welcome.  Because that's such a talent, you're gonna win. I love everyone here but you're so, so blessed.


Jennifer says it's your control, we're all out of turn, it's so controlled.  Kelly is up and dancing again.  Your control gets us out of control.  It's crazy. Keith says there's a beautiful quote that says I judge myself not by what I have but by what I'm willing to give and what you just gave was pure humanity, it was beautiful.


All your Top 10 need your votes. Maybe your favorite is Sonika Vaid, whose mom watched AI more than she did; her nose was always in a book.  Her mom wanted her to see people confident on stage because she was so shy.  She saw Kelly Clarkson singing I Surrender, not surrendering to a soar throat.  She wants to be confident like Kelly.


Singing Bring Me To Life (Evanescence), wearing an absolutely gorgeous black gown, her voice is equally regal, the arrangement with a bit of a Cirque du Soleil feel (I'm seeing Kurios in a week), but she soon kicks it into overdrive with more rockish beat and turning on the power vocal so quickly and effortlessly I almost didn't realize it.  She also uses background vocals to accent her huge voice and performance, closing out with a big, intense note for a dramatic finish.


Oh yeah, shouts Keith, absolutely killer song choice, so good, all the right drama, everything that played to your strengths. So good. Jennifer says you're dangerous, you have such an amazing voice, if you wake up in this competition, we'll have a real competition on our hands. If you start believing in yourself the way you just let go and lived in the moment, you're dangerous.


Kelly says you're never pitchy and that's an amazing accomplishment and I love you told La'Porsha to wait a moment, that gave you more balls.  Harry says every performer has gone up against someone with crazy applause, it takes a real performer to do that. You showed us a different kind of angst and passion we haven't seen yet, and the way you're looking, it was an incredible juxtaposition, very smart.


Next up to take the mic is Trent Harmon, who told a tornado to chill out so he could get home to watch the finale of American Idol.  Idol made him want to become a singer, when David Archuleta sang Imagine (John Lennon).  He sang it to the cows and wanted to sing it to real people if he ever got the opportunity.


Singing Like I Can (Sam Smith), he's going for the quirky look with the polka dot shirt and trademark hat, his off-kilter voice ringing out creating a unique, heart-pounding, foot stomping sound.  His voice reminds me of a much younger Billy Joel.  The lyrics were a bit repetitive but he was fun to watch and listen to.


Jennifer says your voice is so unique, so different and you do such exciting things with it, not perfect every single moment but you're an artist with the way you sing and express emotion, just amazing. An impressive thing to have a voice that stands out, Kelly says, I love when a man sings soft and would love to hear more of that from you, juxtaposed to your power.


Harry says it was fantastic, it's like watching a world-class ice skater, when they land a triple axel and everyone claps. When you're going to go for a run, it really feels like an ice skating match and that's fine if you can do it like La'Porsha, and you can too. Tremendous job. Jennifer says they should have a run battle. Harry says it's a tough thing with runs because you can mess up the song if you overdo it but you didn't at all, right on the money.  Keith says everyone's rising the occasion.


Now, you've seen her candor at the table, now here's the original American Idol, a woman who has never faced elimination, singing Piece By Piece, a song written for her T-7 week old baby boy, Kelly Clarkson!  


OK, gang, we had a couple really great performances, mostly solid performances, and a few forgettable performances.  You're voting tonight for your Top 8, as 2 will be eliminated next week.


Who do you think deserves to move on? Come check out the performance recap and tell us what you think on the Morty's TV Fan Forums! http://www.tvfanforums.net/index.php?/topic/105093-american-idol-season-15-the-final-season/

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American Idol Season 15 - The Top 10


We open with a Ford commercial previewing the Ford Fusion that will be given to the winner and runner up of American Idol.    Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!  This is American Idol!

Please welcome your judges, Keith Urban!  Harry Connick Jr, and Jennifer Lopez!  We have a ton of action tonight.  Last week's emotional performance by Kelly Clarkson has reached over 144m people in the last week.

Keith says as a dad with little girls, it was so emotionally raw, you never see that.  It made me love her husband so much, Ryan says.  Idol is also on the cover of a special edition of People Magazine.

The finale is just 5 weeks away and tonight we're looking at a double dramatic elimination.  Based on your votes, the bottom 3 will be revealed at the end of the show and each one will sing for safety.  Based on those performances, the judges will decide the one person they want to rescue; the other two will be going home.

The judges decision will be a majority although Jennifer wants it to be unanimous.  Everyone in the group wants to write the last chapter in Idol history. Ladies and gentlemen, your Top 10!

Please welcome Olivia Rox!  Gianna Isabella!  Lee Jean!  Avalon Young!  Dalton Rapattoni!  Tristan McIntosh!  MacKenzie Bourg!  La'Porsha Renae!  Sonika Vaid!  And Trent Harmon!  

Tonight's theme is the Grammy's.  And the first person through based on your votes is...   Dalton!

Dalton's life is usually pretty structured but he's had to learn how to go with the flow as an Idol.  Singing Radioactive (Imagine Dragons), the stage has a lime green fog and a gothic background as Dalton rocks the house to open the show.  While he doesn't get lost, I think he's somewhat overshadowed by the music until he gets that solo closeup with the smoldering eyes.  This is a heartthrob performance, with the hair and the dramatics and a pretty decent vocal job too.

Keith says you're talented, ready, hungry and passionate but that wasn't the greatest song for you, it's better when you can tweak a song and make it yours but I think we'll see you next week.  Jennifer says you understand the art of the show, this is a competition and it's not, it's not about topping anyone else but topping yourself, it's you.  What you do we want to see.  Harry wonders if that fog is radioactive. You have an incredible sincerity, remind me of Billy Joe Armstrong in that there's an intensity in addition to talent and musicianship. But you weren't as present as you have been, a certain electricity missing.

Here's some tidbits for you.  American Idol alums have 54 Grammy nominations and 13 Grammy wins.

Two idols are leaving at the end of the show but it won't be this next person.  After the nationwide vote, and in no particular order, Lee Jean!

Lee loves Ed Sheeran but on the show he has to blaze his own trail. He wants to show he's not a copy of anyone by singing Use Somebody (Kings of Leon), a step outside what he usually does. Playing the electric guitar with electric lighting effects, this is a new Lee, youthful and intense, his voice strong and out front, this could be a Disney Channel performance in its simplicity and energy, showing off his energy and natural stage comfort.  He works the crowd, he works the microphone, he works the camera, it all just works.


Jennifer says I liked that choice for you, there's more voice in you than even you know right now, you could let go more, go for things, continue to stretch outside your comfort zone. You could have bought more power to some of those moments.  Harry says it was really smart, throwing your guitar behind your back like that, a young guy, full of enthusiasm, a song about being away from home, you have so much talent, it said something to me and it's nice to see you grow.  Keith says I didn't think it was a good song for you, if only you had done something different but I love that you tried something different, stretching to find who you are.

Ladies & Gentlemen, please welcome Demi Lovato, singing Confident along with the Idol Top 10 Girls!  She then belts out Stone Cold, solo, trying to top Kelly for powerful emotional impact.

Whose Idol ride will continue with your results? After the nationwide vote and in no particular order, the next person to take the stage is...   Sonika Vaid!

She's normally kind of shy but for the first time wasn't nervous last week. Singing Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson), she's going to be an angry girlfriend.  She has the mean girl look going, full of attitude and lower octave vocal, a shadow audience clapping behind and a real audience clapping in front.  The first half of the song was kind of lethargic, but she kicked it into gear and her voice found fresh confidence.  It was like watching 2 different performers.  If only she'd started in the middle.

Harry says putting aside your talent, the break right before the hook, you should have suggested the band give you a dramatic bang, it was such a dramatic departure from the rest of the tune, it needed that kind of lift. Also, I was waiting to hear that contradiction between claustrophobia and liberation, power and vulnerability and it sounded like you were digging your own voice more than singing those words.

Keith says I wanted more attitude, your a really good singer and moving around good, but I wanted more fire and angry girlfriend.  Jennifer says it felt a little more controlled.  There were moments when you smiled and you came alive. You need to get lost in the character, that's what you need to put in your head, and then let go and forget about all the performance notes.

Back into the results, another name perform after that vote last week, and it is...   MacKenzie Borg!  Life now consists of vocal coaching, stage rehearsals, wardrobe fitting, I'm just, what am I doing? Then I look back at my performance and I look all right!  

Singing I Want To Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston), he wants to show he can have fun.  Playing the electric guitar, he's the quintessential preppy with the hair and the suede beige jacket, smiling through the opening lines, his voice light, happy and energized, a young man ready for romance. He doesn't move around on the stage much but you get tired because he's putting out so much passion and joy.

Keith says that was good, I liked it.  You have such a breathy voice, never heard a guy sing that before and it was a really good song for you, really cool, loved the whole comb-over, that thing you got going on there. Jennifer says some switch ups don't work but that really did, it had this airiness I wouldn't have imagined and you pulled it off. There's more in your voice, you could let go more, create one or two moments that really make us go whoa, that was amazing.

Harry says that was an amazing song choice. I thought it was fine, but you and your message have always watch how I take a song and do something completely different to it. I would have gone all the way to the other side and gone acoustic. It was nice and pleasant but this is a competition and if you want their votes, it has to be something special and inventive.

Idol Exposed!  Harry reveals that Keith is snacking during the show on cauliflower.  With ranch dressing.

Let's get back to business here, the next person to take the stage, after the nationwide vote, is La'Porsha Renae!  She could get used to all the attention but she's afraid to let the hair stylist get a hold of her hair.

Singing Halo (Beyonce), her hair is lit like a ring over hear head, angel wings on the video wall behind her, her voice ringing out with truth and power, this could be a commercial for Fox's upcoming live Passion show in a couple weeks, it's so overproduced.  Or maybe it's a missing scene from Dream Girls, she has that much vocal power and stage presence.  She is the most humble diva you've ever seen but she's got the talent to back up the label.  Amazing performance.

Jennifer says I love watching you more every week coming into your own, you're a hard act to follow, the one to beat, so talented and blessed, so much going for you, becoming a star before our eyes.  Every time you sing, Harry says, I feel the urge to consider the song from a completely different perspective. You're also a master at arcing a song, you know how to give a song a beginning, middle and end, incredible as always.

Keith says it's fascinating, you know how to perform with all that around you and the dress, and all the things you're thinking of. About halfway through you stopped thinking about it all and just decided to sing.  Ryan notes she changed the lyrics a little to "Idol, you're my halo".  

We press pause in the competition to bring out one of the most prolific forces in the music industry. He's also our brother and tonight he's going to do his current hit, I Do Like We Do.  Put your hands together for the one and only, Harry Connick Jr.!

Who is safe? Let's find out. Safe after the nationwide vote last week is...   Trent Harmon!  He says being an idol is a lot of work - one day they just worked on the crazy faces he makes when singing. Singing in a mirror helps.  

Singing When A Man Loves A Woman (Michael Bolton), he's dressed up all respectable like, and delivers a slow, measured vocal, beautiful tone, big and strong, a bit of a Frankie Valley feel to his voice, even throwing in a falsetto to amp up the climax.  This wasn't flashy but it had a huge bang and he was visibly emotional by the end.

Harry says you were great, I love your voice and particularly high sustained notes, you have such a gift.  It's bad for a singer having that exaggerated jaw vibrato but Jennifer loves it.  You can get the same vibrato without doing that and it looks like you have learned to do that.  Harry says that was a real good song for you, but don't let the facial expression weirdness get in the way of your emoting because at times it seemed you were thinking about it. Facial expressions are like runs - they just happen with your emote.

Listen, Jennifer says, the faces are you, the vibratto is you, you're amazing, I literally had a vision of you and La'Porsha at the end, and that's not to discourage anyone else here, but you have such special voices, I don't want you to change a thing.  That must make the others feel terrific, Harry jokes.  Anything can happen, Jennifer, spins. Ryan notes that Trent's family is unable to be out in LA supporting him as they have to stay home to work the farm and watch on TV with the cows.

That leaves Tristan, Avalon, Olivia and Gianna, the last four waiting to learn their fate. The final person safe based on last week's vote.  Dim the lights, here we go.  

The final person to secure a spot in the Top 8 based on the nationwide vote is...   Tristan McIntosh!  Her idol experience has been like chasing a moving train.

Singing Go Rest High On That Mountain (Vince Gill), she opens playing the piano and with a soft and crystal clear vocal, layered with tender emotion, piercing with dynamic power, her performance is sensitive and spiritual. I didn't realize her time had passed until she suddenly ended the song.

Keith says I don't know what song you didn't do but that was a terrific song for you, great job.  Jennifer says that is the Tristan America fell in love with, that was your sweet spot and you did a beautiful job on it. You're a country singer, Harry says, and you were singing that for someone?  My grandfather broke his back a couple days ago, she says, tearing up.

That leaves Avalon, Olivia and Gianna in the Bottom 3.  Each will perform next and then the judges will decide which one they want to save.  For the other two, that will be their final performance.

Keith can't believe these three are up there. He tells them they have to deliver it, make the people at home feel something.  First up is Avalon, who is looking for a song in her zone.  Usually a tomboy, The last few weeks in makeup have opened up a new look for her, but when you strip it way, she's just an artist going after her dream.

Singing Earned It by TheWeeknd, she is feeling the dramatic pulse of the live band, but the performance is missing a spark with her sitting on a stool to deliver a passionate and sensuous vocal. It felt like she was holding something back, trying to control the twang in her voice. It wasn't bad, and the audience loved how she worked it, but only the judges can decide if she earned it.

Jennifer says you can tell by the audience reaction, that's what you needed to do. When you're in your comfort zone, there's nobody like you in the competition. Harry says you needed a really fantastic performance and that was the perfect song at the perfect time. And to sing a song that slow and keep everyone entertained, that was great. As for the makeup thing, you look amazing completely natural.  Harry says it's cool that you know what you do, who you are, what feels comfortable to you. You made it your own.

Next is Olivia Rox, who was battling the flu last week but powered through.  Singing Trouble by Pink, it's out of her comfort zone but who she wants to be as an artist. And this week she's going to crush it.

Sitting down on a pedestal, she's got on a pink jacket and sends up a vocal with attitude, a little low register-wise, but when she gets up to work the stage, she moves into her mid-range and begins to open up both physically, vocally and emotionally, throwing in falsettos, playing with her dynamics, bouncing up and down with plucky energy.  But will she be trouble for the other Bottom 3?

Harry says I like you gave 100%, the performance was energetic, you showed vocal ability, performing ability, but you're competing against someone who picked a song with more to chew on, a story to tell, just a different type of song and I didn't see any vulnerability because the song didn't call for that, but it's going to be a tough comparison. Your talent is undeniable.

Harry says your vocal range is insane, we heard stuff we hadn't heard before. Everything about that said I want to be here, Jennifer says, you said the right things, but something didn't come together. We just didn't feel you were Trouble, and that's the key, all of you can sing, but it has to be believable, it has to come from inside no matter how beautiful it sounds.

Gianna is the final of your Bottom 3, ready to bring her A game after watching the other two.  She's singing If I Ain't Got You (Alicia Keys) despite it being an older song because that's what she feels. She's got to get inside the love song instead of sounding like a little school girl.

Jumping right into the song with a huge power vocal, loud but not very vulnerable.  Her facial expression seems a bit sad, a bit in her head.  The vocal is missing that spark of honesty and truthfulness, though her voice is strong and pitch perfect. I think in her case, it's just a question of age and experience.  By the end, I think the nerves got to her and that last note was unfortunate.

Keith says her voice was gorgeous, his head satiated with her voice but his heart hungry for more feeling. Her pitch is beautiful, though.  Jennifer says you have a truly blessed voice but everyone really gave it their all tonight. Harry says everyone stepped up, you're all three great performers. I didn't recognize you, you've made such a change, you have an incredible vocal gift.

Jennifer says they take everything into consideration when making their decision, past performances up to the very last note.  As the judges talk it over, Ryan chats with the Bottom 3 about regrets, second thoughts, and all you can do is the best you can.

Judges, do you have some news?  Ladies, good luck to all of you.  Dim the lights, here we go. One of these three will be saved by majority vote of the panel, the other two will head home.

Jennifer, who gets that final spot in the Top 8 tonight? This was a painful decision to make, the bottom three are so strong vocally.  

The last to make the Top 8 is...   Avalon Young!  We say goodbye to Olivia and Gianna.

Voting is now open for your Top 8.  Will you vote for Avalon Young?  Tristan McIntosh?  Trent Harmon?  La'Porsha Renae?  MacKenzie Bourg?  Sonika Vaid?  Lee Jean?  Dalton Rapattoni?  One of them is your last American Idol.  Who will it be?

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American Idol Season 15 - The Top 8


This is what I am.  I am Tristan: Country, Bookworm.  I am MacKenzie: Athletic, Four-eyes, Songwriter.  I am Sonika: Family, Medicine, Indian.  I am Dalton: Neurotic, Eyeliner, Blacksheep.  I am Avalon: Sneakerhead, Hustle, R&B James.  I am Lee: Skateboarding, Babyface, Vertically Challenged.  I am Trent: Missippi, Farm Boy, Soul.  I am La'Porsha: Strength, Mother, Southern.  I am Idol.  This is American Idol!

Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!  You at home are calling the shots but show some love to the talent scouts who delivered the goods: Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr and Jennifer Lopez!

The series finale is in less than a month and our idols will not only get their individual performances tonight, but also paired up as duets.  There can only be one winner, though all want the title.  Please welcome your Top 8!  Dalton Rapattoni! Lee Jean!  Sonika Void!  MacKenzie Bourg!  La'Porsha Renae!  Trent Harmon!  Tristan McIntosh! And Avalon Young!

Tonight the group is facing another double-elimination as we cut our Top 8 down to 6.  Like last week, the top 3 will be saved based on your votes.  The judges then will decide which of the bottom three they choose to continue in the competition.  But before things take a dramatic turn, we'll kick it off with the duets.

First up are La'Porsha and Trent, singing See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (featuring Charlie Puth), La'Porsha opens keeping a lid on her huge power, with Trent matching her in the upper register.  Both slowly open up the flood gates, but neither tries to out-power or upstage the other. Which is probably good for Trent because La'Porsha could probably blow him away.

Keith says that's a great way to open the show, the perfect song, it played to your individual and combined strengths.  Jennifer says what a pairing you guys make, the whole thing was magical.  Harry says I loved the fact y'all sang Wiz's part and at times I couldn't tell who was singing harmony your voices blended so well together.

Next up is the pairing of Avalon and Sonika, singing Rise Up by6 Andra Day.  Avalon's vocal is youthful, Sonika a little more serious but together they are in perfect sync with a paced performance, like two friends (and roomies) who enjoy each others company and voices.  

Your voices are so angelic, Jennifer says, and you just kept pushing each other. The only thing is, it was such an inspirational song, would have liked to have felt it through your body language, let loose a bit, because it's already there in your voices.  Harry says Avalon's more rhythmic but Sonika is more melodic and on that song, the advantage went to Avalon because the rhythm was so drum heavy.  But Sonika's voice is so breathtaking.

Keith says you have different strengths - Sonika's tone is so beautiful, clear and angelic and Avalon is such a natural singer, effortlessly.  

Scott Borschetta says these duets are important for the artists to show they know how to collaborate, but also it's a competition so they have to make sure they shine individually while having the professionalism to make sure the other contestant has the room to shine as well.

The next duet is MacKenzie and Dalton, singing I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys.  Mac's a little bit folksy and Dalton's a little bit edgy.  But for this performance Dalton tones it down at the start, meeting MacKenzie on his softer level.  Dalton's vocal comes off a little more tender but MacKenzie is still the one you'd take home to meet your father.  

I'm not sure who picked that song, Harry says, but it wasn't good for you.  Do you know what the song is saying?  Neither boy has an answer.  The lyrics make no sense, Harry says, and it's hard to sing a song with no meaning. I would have fought being given that song.  Keith says more boos are on the way - I completely agree. Dalton's strong suit is dismantling a song and making it your own, not doing covers like you did tonight.  And MacKenzie, you take songs to a singer-songwriter place but trying to do it together didn't' benefit either of you.

Jennifer says when I saw you were going to sing thins, I was wondering how you would flip it but it was so much like the original.  In theory it made sense because you're both cute and the girls love you, but it wasn't the right song and you should have recognized that.

Now our two teens join forces, with Tristan and Lee singing Don't Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith.  Starting out on stage alone, Lee (who has been ill this week) opens with a romantic, love-sick vocal.  Then the object of his affection, Tristan, comes out singing the counter-vocal, looking longingly at her diminutive partner.  Her voice is spot on while Lee's has a bit of health-caused roughness.  But both are emotional performers and their dynamic together doesn't disappoint.

Keith says I love that song but here's the challenge - finding a song that fits both y'alls key. You did the best you could with it, I like the fact you took some liberties with the melody, but it's hard to find a song that would bring out the best in both of you.  Jennifer says Tristan's voice really shined in that, you hit all the notes, showed your strength.  Lee held in there, trying to deliver the emotional element.  But it could have been stronger.

Harry says this is one of those melodies you could really sink into but the problem was in the arrangement.  I wouldn't have picked the song, this sort of slow rock, you're both talented and creative, you should have found a better way to deliver it, to make it more special. It was boring and bland and it didn't have to be.

We've seen our Top 8 perform duets, and now they go solo as we get the results of your votes.  The theme tonight is the American Idol Songbook, some of the most popular songs from our rich Idol history.

And the first person to move through, based on the nationwide vote is...   La'Porsha!  She wanted to be a singer but her dad, a military man, wanted her to join the military.  Her algebra teacher told her not to fit in and she wishes she could be here not to see this.  Through the magic of television and expense budgets, there she is, congratulating achievements.  Even Dad is glad he was wrong.

Sing Come Together by The Beatles, La'Porsha is clad in black leather with a gold web necklace, grooving slowly down the stage, the her vocal dripping attitude and commanding the stage with a thundering performance and a voice that would make Tina Turner smile.  Working the stage, she strolls behind the judges to sing directly to the audience, then turning to deliver some of her 'tude to Keith and Harry.  I am powerhouse, she is saying.

The audience won't stop applauding.  That's the full Diva, Jennifer says, there are some performers who make you feel cool when you're watching them and you do that, that's the inspiration and aspiration thing that you have.  Harry says if you can make sense out of those lyrics, I knew what you were singing about, you were incredible.  Keith says blessings the spirit of the late, great George Martin.  That was a terrific song for you, but any song is a terrific song for you.

The next person who makes the Top 6, after the nationwide vote is...  MacKenzie Bourg!  He could (and would) compete in any sport but he was always dragging his guitar along and would play for his teammates.  His drama teacher discovered him playing a pep rally and he was drafted to perform in a musician and now he lives to feel that adrenaline rush every time he steps on stage.

Singing You Are So Beautiful (Joe Cocker), MacKenzie stands at the front of a fog-filled stage, delivering a vocal that floats out through the air, soft and sensitive, romantic and inviting.  The pacing is a little bit slow, milking the expressiveness of the performance bit much, which results in less singing but he makes up for it with passionate intensity, dynamic range, and a sweet, cuddly falsetto at the end, along with a big sigh of relief.

I feel way better about that, he tells Harry. You couldn't have picked a better or more appropriate song, Harry says, that was fantastic. No matter who you were singing it to, or to whom you were singing it, you really connected to it and ultimately that's all that counts.  Keith says it speaks volumes that you picked that song, you know who you are, it was written in the 60's and you made it sound brand new.

Jennifer says you're kind of croonerish, but also indie rock, there's a mix of old and new in you and it's all because of your heart, how you feel songs, and that's your biggest strength. You're singing to some girl that every girl wishes she was.

He took the title last year and has been hard at work on his debut album ever since, with the World Television Premier of Get You Home, please welcome back Nick Fradiani!

Next up on stage after the nationwide vote is...   Trent Harmon!  He had a crazy obsession with horses growing up. It's a been a long time since he's been his home and he didn't even tell his family about Idol until he was heading to Hollywood. He didn't want them to come out to California so he wouldn't get distracted - this is a job for him.

Singing Stand By Me (Ben E. King), he opens A Capella with an over-dramatic vocal, then the band kicks in and he saunters up to the microphone stand.  The performance is a bit too staged for my tastes, the vocal is OK but there's a bigger emphasis on how he looks than how he sounds.  He's got some good moments, some fancy acrobatics with his voice, that wicked falsetto, but the emotion got lost in the staging.

Keith says we talk a lot about watching people grow during the season and from the audition to today, the way you're dressed, the way you're moving, the way you're starting to be aware of the way you perform is really getting strong. But pick the stylistic stylistic moments so the bulk of the performance is emotion-based, then pick the moments for stylistic impact, but don't lean too heavy on them.

Jennifer says I always knew you were bad from the first moment you walked in, and I love what you do with your voice, I don't know if the audience gets how much of a bad-ass you are.  This is cool, but I miss the other Trent who wore scarves and cowboy hats.  Harry says you really gave yourself opportunities to have fun with the repetitive melody. The harder you sink into the rhythm, the better it'll be, you have a tendency to float over the time.

The next person chosen to carry on in the competition after the nationwide vote is...   Tristan McIntosh!  Her grandfather, who is struggling with his health, was the biggest influence in her life, helping her learn how to write and play, hooking up his oxygen to his wheelchair to go to her performances.  

Singing A Broken Wing by Martina McBride, her voice is deep and fills the stage, subdued with a quiet power, she's delivers the full vocal package, with a voluminous performance, dynamic, powerful, big and passionate.

Jennifer says you have a perfectly suited country voice and that was a perfect song for you, you went for a high note at the and and didn't quite get it but I applaud you for going after it. Harry asks what happens to the girl in the story in the 2nd verse?  Tristan says she's always wondered if she just left.  Keith says like the end of Birdman.  It was the perfect song for you, great job.

It's come down to Sonika, Avalon, Dalton and Lee.  One of them is through by your votes, the other three will have to sing for the judges' save.

It's a life-defining moment for Dalton, Sonika, Avalon or Lee. One of them is about to find out they were voted into your Top 6.  Lets' find out.  Dim the lights, here we go.

Based on the nationwide vote, the last person to secure a spot in the safety zone is...   Dalton!  His mom was the typical mom, but back in the 80's she was a total bad-ass, into the punk scene.  She didn't tell him about it until he got into music, though, and started wearing her leather jacket when he would perform.

Singing Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles), he's sitting on a clear plastic chair, the stage filled with smoke and four strings and a base guitar frantically pumping out the music as he delivers an intense, deep-feeling vocal.  I would have liked to have seen him moving more and a little more dynamic range in his voice. The performance is fun, but it felt a little bit back on his heals.  

He does pick it up 2/3 through, finally showing the passion and energy and punk edge he was handed down from his mother, ending it with a huge, angry climax.  Harry says I imagine you feel better about that, a great song choice, a great key, you pushed it as high as you could, I was dying to hear what you would do with that, and your arrangement and performance, you introduced that song to a new generation.

Keith says that was cool, a great song for you, the theatrical part of you brings out undercurrents of the song, a dark undercover and like a good waffle iron, you made an impression. Jennifer says it was so you, exactly what we want from you, theatrical, and I loved at the end, you've been shying away from big endings but you went for it tonight and nailed it and it was awesome.  You impressed everyone just now.

Sonika, Avalon and Lee are all singing for the final spot on the show.  One will be saved by the judges, the other 2 will unfortunately go home.

First up is Avalon Young, a tom boy growing up, she got he got her first guitar at age 7.  She has a facial tick that goes away when she's playing music and performing.

Singing PYT (Pretty Young Thing) by Michael Jackson, she's grooving on a purple lit stage, wearing a patched blue-jean jacket and braids.  Her vocal is light and fun, working the audience behind the judges' desk, leading the audience interactively, she's making the most of what could be her final performance, working the stage, even playing off her bass guitarist.  She definitely packed all she could into that.

Keith says what confuses me is you connect with everyone here but then you end up in the bottom three, there must be something missing through the television because if you can figure out how to connect emotionally with the audience at home, you're a natural.  Jennifer says you're a natural performer, but you're in the bottom three 2 weeks in a row. Maybe next week go out of your comfort zone and try something different.  

Harry suggests singing ballad. You have the cool factor, an incredible voice, maybe there's a rhythmic physicality, (an urgency, Jennifer interjects) don't interrupt me (just trying to help), that band is so strong in this room.  You just need to be more captivating, Jennifer says.

Next up is Lee Jean.  Growing up in a military family, he's been constantly moving, never really making friends.  Then one day, he was singing to himself and his one friend heard him sing and made him sing for a group of kids and from that point on, he was performing any chance he could.  His brother says he is so proud America gets to see what he has learned about his little brother.

Singing Let It Be (The Beatles), his voice trembles with honesty and sincerity, the air dripping with emotion.  The vocal is a little short at the end of the lines and I would have liked to have seen a little more range, but there's an earnest innocence in his stage presence which makes me confident that if this isn't his time, his time will not long be denied.

Jennifer says you have so much going for you, you have an amazing style and personality, beautiful voice and I liked this performance but I'm not sure it'll be enough - there needs to be a little more composure in do-or-die moments and it was a tiny bit shaky.  

Harry says he should do a mustard commercial, I'm Lee Jean for Dijon.  Very emotional, you're really smart and you commit to the lyrics, but surprisingly sharp - pitch was an issue.  Keith says when I was 16 I did a singing show like this in Australia and I was terrified, trying to rein the nerves in, so hard and it effects pitch and breathing. Your tone is gorgeous, you have plenty of time to work on the other stuff.

Sonika is the last of your Bottom Three to take the stage. He name means "made of gold".  Her mom performed in Bollywood but she was too scared to perform and went the academic path.  But she just wanted to try once to sing and discovered that it was music that was missing from her life.

Singing I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston, she opens with a soft and light vocal, standing in a sea of fog.  She switches from an angelic voice to a more mature, urgent sound, and then when she hits the chorus, she lets loose with the power, solid, crystal clear, her passion piercing the theater as the lights project radiantly from behind her on the video wall.  For her climax, she draws it all down to just her beautiful voice.

The audience is on its feet as she takes a deep breath.  Harry says that's the 6th performance of that song on AI, a high risk, high reward song, and for me I loved it.  Keith says your voice is gorgeous, however this works out, just continue to release and let go and show that stuff, because with that voice, amazing.  Jennifer says that's such a hard song to sing and you did a good job with it.  We have a hard decision to make.

While the judges deliberate, Ryan brings Avalon and Lee out to join Sonika.  Avalon says she gives the best she can.  Sonika tried to channel the emotion of being in the bottom 3.  Lee says he kept thinking of his late brother who recently passed and just wanted to inspire at least one person.

It's a majority vote from the judges. Who gets the save? All three were phenomenal, Harry says, but the save goes to Sonika!

So America, your Top 6 performing for this final season are L'Porsha Renae, MacKenzie Bourg, Trent Harmon, Tristan McIntosh, Dalton Rappatoni and Sonika Vaid.  Which do you think will be your next American Idol?

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American Idol Season 15 - The Top 6


April 7, 2009.  Adam Lambert performs Mad World.  That was then and this is now.  Adam Lambert reprises his performance of Mad World live.  This is American Idol!

Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!  Happy St. Patricks Day!  And please welcome your judges, Harry Connick JR!  Keith Urban!  And Jennifer Lopez!

Two rounds of competition tonight as we double the stakes for the finalists and you get twice the music with all the songs YOU picked.  You love the idols, make some noise for your Top 6: La'Porsha Renae!  MacKenzie Bourg!  Trent Harmon!  Tristan McIntosh!  Dalton Rapattoni!  And Sonika Vaid!

Tonight we are going to reveal your Bottom Two and each will sing for the last Judges Rescue for the season leading up to the finale.  And the first person safe based on last week's nationwide vote.  Here we go.

Is...   Trent Harmon!  Congratulations, you have made it into the Top 5!  Let's take a look at your support from home.

By America's request, here's Trent Harmon singing Counting Stars by One Republic.  He jumps into a foot stomping, hand-clapping up tempo performance, his voice intense, the vocal is doesn't stray too far from center though his high-energy antics get the audience involved.  Still, given Adam Lambert's lead-in, while it was fun, it wasn't extraordinary.

Keith says I found myself watching but not being pulled in, as you said, you weren't quite sure what was going on.  That song and you, personality wise, didn't come together for me.  Jennifer says it was a funny song, I know America picked the songs from which you chose so they might not have been songs you would have chosen for yourself, but you did everything you could to be energetic and bring the audience in.

Harry says it felt like a hoedown when you started clapping. It's one of those songs where you can't finish a phrase because you have to get to the next phrase. That's a tough one for you - I give you a pass - you're a lot better than that.

Please stay tuned.  Reception went out again.

Your next idol making it into the Top 5 is LaPorsha Renae and she is singing My Voice My Body My Soul by India.Arie.  Her voice is as huge and colorful as her dress and hair wrap, her vocal ringing out strong and passionate, candles glowing spiritually behind her on the video wall.  She is simply an amazing singer and performer.

Harry says the reading of that song was pleading, mournful, it was everything those lyrics called for. You sway your strength to what you need to do at that time. You sang a ballad and it was all about the lyrics, all about the feeling, it was phenomenal.  Keith says I was just sitting and watching and not even judging, just captivated by the moment and enjoying it.  Absolutely beautiful.

You have the same kind of soul and spirit India.Arie has, Jennifer says, you're giving me total Earth Mother up there, with your beautiful dress and hair, it was just a beautiful performance in every way.

The lives of our idols are super hectic, but thanks to Ford, they got a chance to relax this week.  It's a Ford Yoga Commercial!

Now we put a stop to the results to bring out two talented artists, the spring premier of their wildly successful (and Fox) drama, Empire, will hit screens March 30th.  Debuting their hot new song, Never Let It Die, make some noise for Jussie Smollett and Yazz!

It's a very tense moment for Sonika, MacKenzie and Tristan on the stage. One has sealed a definite spot in the Top 5, the others are your Bottom Two. Which also means while my receiver was resetting, Dalton Rappatoni was named into the Top 5.  Unfortunately I don't know what he sang nor what the judges had to say about it.

Good luck to all three of you. Dim the lights, here we go. Based on the nationwide vote, the person who takes one step closer to the finale is...   MacKenzie!

We take a look at MacKenzie's hometown support where he's apparently very popular among the 2nd graders (where his mom teaches).  Singing Wild World by Cat Stevens, his vocal is soft and personal as he walks kind of quickly through the audience to the stage where he falls into a typical pop performance. I think it would have worked better if he had kept it down in the audience and slowed it down instead of the energetic, up-tempo arrangement he chose. The vocal was dynamic and well sung but not terribly interesting.

Keith says he was looking at the monitor in the judges table because he wanted to see what the audience at home sees because they keep on voting for you. You're like cake batter, even when it's not really cooked, it's really good.  Jennifer says these songs have been challenging for everyone but you have so much likability I thoroughly enjoyed every second of that. I always feel like you're singing to me.

Harry says it was a really good song for you and I liked the tempo of it, so much of what you sing is slow, you could record that song on your own.  In between your vocal phrases, there's an awkwardness that's cute but on a 2 hour performance, you have to figure out what you're doing when you're not singing. You changed the melody on some things there but on a song like that, you don't have to, just keep singing the melody because when you crash on that it's pretty obvious.

Found a recap on the internet for Dalton.  He sang Numb by Linkin Park.  Jennifer Lopez said he made the song his own but she was waiting for him to head bang on it.  Harry told him he was thinking about the lyrics and got just a little ahead of the beat.  Keith said it wasn't fully Daltonized.  

Tristan McIntosh and Sonika Vaid desperately wants to stay alive in the competition, but the judges have only one more sing.  The first to sing for that save tonight will be Tristan.  She prepared 2 songs for tonight and will be singing Independence Day by Martina McBride.  We take a look at her hometown support.

Playing the grand piano, she's beautifully lit and her voice carries a beautiful lilt (see what I did there), soft and easy, reflective and wistful.  She brings up the power for the second verse and is in full control when she hits the chorus.  Her voice honest and impassioned, this was a solid, confident performance for someone facing elimination and the audience reacts accordingly.

Jennifer says obviously you're one of America's favorites - there are only 6 of you left here, but I feel, if I were to give you any advice going forward, it would be to try different things. You don't want to flat-line where we're just seeing the same performance over and over and maybe that's why you ended up in this position this week.

Harry says you're really good singing songs written from a place of pain, that's your sweet spot, but you have to grow older. People love you but time is what will help you improve your gift. It was OK, you just need to grow and live.  Keith says you have a beautiful voice, a Gd-given gift, extremely photogenic, the next level of getting your artistry is when taking an empowerment song like that, you got to strip it down and make it incredibly intimate and pulls us in, or make it big with the band, strong and powerful.  

Sonika has chosen the song (from among her requests) that she feels is best suited for her.  Singing Let It Go (Demi Lovato), we take a look at her hometown support.  With snow falling down the video walls and bathed in an icy light, her voice is low and focused, her eyes intense.  She opens up a little on the second verse, walking stridently forward through the fog with the wind blowing through her hair as the performance turns more theatrical and dramatic.  She emphasizes the soft spots but the power parts don't have the punch of Idina Menzel, who most people will associate with the song than Demi Lovato.

That was a really smart choice of song, Harry says, I liked the song clarity, but for right now, a much better song choice. Very strong. You need to work on more powerful underscoring; you sing intimate, small ballads better than anyone else in the competition, so when we hear more rousing underscore, you get a little bit lost.  You didn't get completely lost, it was a really good job.

Why does wind look so good on you, Keith wonders.  She was leaning into the wind, Jennifer explains.  It was beautiful, Keith says, your voice was beautiful and I love watching your performances come alive. Jennifer says you are shy but you are also fierce, a fighter, and that performance reminded us you're not ready to go home, growing week by week, coming out of your shell.

Tristan joins Sonika on the stage.  One of these two will get the last save of the season, the other heading home.  While the judges make their decision, both girls say they've become comfortable performing on stage and have grown so much.  The judges have made their decision.  Deep breath and good luck to both of you.

Dim the lights, here we go.  Judges, who will take that final spot in the Top 5 tonight? Keith says both beautiful singers, but we would like to see Sonika come back next week.  That means we say goodbye to Tristan McIntosh this week.

So more saves, no more safety nets, it's Round 2 tonight for your Top 5!  Round 2 are more songs requested by you the viewer at home, and up first this time around is Dalton with more good wishes from his hometown.

In a rare production mistake, the video package cuts off early and we see a long shot of the production crew setting up the stage.  Looks like it was the wrong package as they restart with a new feature where he is describing the low point in his life journey, living with bi-polar disorder since age 9.  It was after his grandmother bought him guitar lessons that his life came into focus and he developed the tools to deal with his disease.

Singing The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel, he's bathed in an eerie green light, the left side of his face in shadow, his vocal low and intense.  The camera pulls back to show him sitting Indian style on a pedestal.  He stands with his dramatic narrative, increasingly harsh and moody.  He jumps off the platform to approach the audience, growing angry before sitting back down with a heavy expression to end the performance piece.

Keith says that was an amazing song, I found myself spellbound by the lyrics, you put so much emphasis on them, you really come forward and emphasis certain parts that bring us all in, it was really good.  Jennifer says you felt better about that, as you should, it was really powerful, we felt we got a piece of your soul, you let us in.  

Harry says your songs are like a blank wall and you're a graffiti artist, spray painting what you want to make of it. This was a beautiful piece of poetic lyrics, you thrive on that, you need that. Poetry, Keith says. Do you see how you sing when you've got something with such meat on it? That's what you need to keep doing, keep digging deeper and deeper.

It's hard to believe it was over 8 years ago when an artist from San Diego applied to become the next superstar and man, did this dude deliver. First he won over the heart of the nation, and since then, he's gone on to become a global icon. Tonight he's released his brand new single, Welcome To The Show (featuring Laleh), one more time, here's the man: Adam Lambert!

Returning to the stage next is MacKenzie.  Growing up he lived, breathed and ate sports, but he got sick during his Jr. High season and he was rushed to the ER - his heart was shutting down with congestive heart failure.  He made a full recovery but was warned against sports. Music was his therapy and now he takes every day for what it is.

Singing Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, he's standing in a smoke-filled stage.  The song has been slowed down and dialed back into a ballad, his voice soft and misty, breathless.  He raises the intensity on the second verse, becoming more animated as the smoke dissipates.  The whole performance was very nuanced, coffee-shop, smoke bar.  And the audience, silently mesmerized throughout, went wild at the end, as if suddenly released from a spell.

Jennifer says wow, where do I begin? You just showed everyone why you're here, still here. That was, people have played with that song over the years, played with Michael Jackson songs, but that was the most special version we've ever seen. Your vocal deliver ws so confident, you knew exactly where you were taking it every single minute and it felt so amazing to watch, I was riveted the whole time.  Great job.  Amazing job.

Harry says it was really great, it's an amazing thing when you can tell someone spends the time to think of the lyrics and what they mean. That was really strong and that's your wheelhouse, a guy can stand with a guitar and sing, and that was a terrific job.  

There's a kids movie called Bolt, Keith says, and in it there's a gerbil named Rhino and Rhino's a big fan of Bolt and I am like that. I'm a big fan of yours.  What, asks Ryan?  It's like the ghost of Steven Tyler, Jennifer says.  

Now let's learn a little more about Trent.  His favorite guitar was one he and his best friend Daniel built together. Daniel never got to play that guitar; he passed away the day before it was delivered.  The guitar now has a plaque in "Dangerous Dan"'s memory on it, but it was hard for Trent to look at let alone play for a long time.  But he finally decided Daniel wouldn't want him to not play it so he set out to see what he could do with it. Now every performance reminds him of Daniel.

Singing Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd, his vocal is spot on, firm yet rounded, heartfelt and honest.  He doesn't do much with range but the vocal dynamics add powerful layers of texture and by the climax, the emotional drama is clear.  Very well done.

Harry says it would be fun to hear a duet between Trent and Adam Lambert, like glasses breaking everywhere. A dream come true, Trent says. There's an essence bout you that's very southern, your essence comes out and it's very appealing, a great singer, a great rendition, but you have that extra something where I feel your experience when you sing. I enjoyed it very much.

Keith says it was so lyrically perfect for you, I love how you took the soul aspect, the southern aspect, and twisted it all in there. Really good.  Jennifer says it's moments like this that I love and will miss Idol so much, having a front seat to watching a perfect song and a perfect singer sing it at that time, and that's what happened there. I've been so lucky the 5 years I've been on this show and watch things like that. You sang that so beautifully and I felt every single word of it and thank you.

Next is the girl who just got saved, it's Sonika.  In her package, she looks back at the emotional journey of her American Idol experience as she has worked to overcome her shyness on stage.

Singing Clarity by Zedd (featuring Foxes), she wears the look of strength and her vocal expresses a quiet confidence as she introduces the song then belts out the chorus between jets of steamy fog rising out of the stage floor. Glad handing the front row fans, she takes a kind of Wonder Woman stance, her voice energized and big, filling the room.  

Keith says I was drawn to the song, a really good song for you. Keep letting go, it's in your nature to be controlled in everything you do, make sure the edges are smooth. Now's the time to do away with that, just be raw, be real, be you.  Jennifer says I didn't love this song for you, out of what you would normally do. I applaud you trying to do things with it but you need to find a balance between being grounded in the song and doing it justice and still being able to perform in the way that is exciting for the audience.

It was really good, Harry says, but my favorite part of tonight was when you were standing up there with Tristan and just talking, America got to see who you really were, that bit with Ryan talking to you was a huge insight. I've never met you outside the audition day. You seem like a really nice, wonderful person and I like that even better than the song.

Closing the show tonight is LaPorsha Renae who has always dreamed of performing on stage and finding love.  She met a guy at age 18 but she lost herself when he became abusive, and lost her love of music.  Crying, she tells us she didn't feel like a woman anymore, she felt dead.  Then her daughter was born and she realized she has to be alive to protect her. So she moved into a shelter and began singing to her and remembered she wanted to be a singer on American Idol.  She's gone from feeling below dirt to being 10' tall.

Singing No More Drama by Mary J Blige, her voice is sold and strong, her voice and presence on stage reminding me of a cross between Gladys Knight and Jennifer Hudson.  She does a great job of talking through her eyes when the camera is close up, then using every bit of the rest of the body on the wide shot as she blows up the sing midway through, as if seized by the emotional power of the song.  It brings Keith and Jennifer to their feet.

LaPorsha needs a moment to compose herself as the audience cheers wildly.  Both she and Jennifer are tearing as Ryan gives her an extra moment.  There's not much to say after that, he says.  It takes a lot to overcome, Jennifer says, also struggling with her composure, a lot of strength to overcome those things in your life, I know, we all know, we've all been through stuff like that, and honestly, you're an inspiration. You're so beautiful, you put it in your music and you don't overdo it, you do it right there in the pocket like you're supposed to, it was powerful. Thank you for that moment.

Ryan says that showed incredible courage, there's no words.  So inspiring, Keith adds.  There's not enough time for Harry's thoughts.  

There's no more saves this season, so every vote counts.  Voting by text and phone remain open for 2 hours, voting by Supervote and Google Search closes at 9am.  Make sure you vote, vote, vote! 

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American Idol Season 15 - The Top 5


Last the judges saved Sonika and sent her into the Final Five.  America, she says speaking also for the other four, you see my life through a box, a square frame captures my every emotion.  And then, McKenzie continues, it's sent to millions of people.  Yeah, millions, to view, judge, scrutinize and hopefully applaud.

Your high definition TV screens, says La'Porsha, show you my eyes.  My learning curves, says Trent.  And then there's social media.  Some people say you have to step out of the box to really live, adds Dalton, but let me tell you, this is home now. This box suits me.  This is American Idol!

Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!  Hard to believe our epic finale is just 2 short weeks away (#Tears) and for these three people: Harry Connick Jr!  Keith Urban!  And Jennifer Lopez!

Tonight we have a double-header as our idols take on two genres, first up is Rock under the guidance of industry icon and member of Bruce Spring Street's E Street Band, Steven Van Zandt.  Then round 2, the dynamic catalog of Sia, this week not only did she work with the idols, but also she's performing her hit, Cheap Thrills, coming up right here.  Plus, our own Katherine McPhee is here live as well as David Cook taking the stage.

They are so close they can taste it - please welcome your Top 5: La'Porsha Renae!  MacKenzie Bourg!  Trent Harmon!  Sonika Vaid and Dalton Rapattoni!  Somebody's going to win this thing.  We kick off the Rock genera portion with a package on Steven Van Zandt.

With the end of the Judges' Save, the idol with the lowest number of votes this week will go home, but ironically, so will all of the idols because this week the Hometown Hero visits are all on the line, except one, and the first person to get that VIP trip on the private jet, singing for your votes tonight will be the pride of...

In no particular order, Mississippi.  La'Porsha!  Singing Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi.  Scott Borschetta says the song has nothing to do with her. Steve says unexpected is nice, in a weird kind of way, I think she's so good she gets away with it.  She welcomes the challenge to make the audience think she's a cowboy.

In a stage filled with fog, she stands out in her leather jacket and dreadlocks delivering a strong, solid vocal, her voice delivering all the gravitas to make you believe.  She walks casually down the ramp behind the judges' table, winking to the audience but never letting up on the performance.  By the time the song was over, I was thinking maybe she was in Thelma & Louise.

Keith says I love when you take a song we wouldn't normally think you would do, then bring out these blues undertones in the song, soul and swagger, it was really good. Jennifer laughs, of all the rocks songs you picked that one? I loved Bon Jovi in high school, but to think of you singing that is so left!  But your voice is so undeniable, you could sing the phone book and it wouldn't matter.

That's next week, Harry says of the phone book.  I can see you riding a horse, he jokes, have you ever ridden a horse before? I have, La'Porsha says.  Your ability as a singer transcends every genre, Harry says, almost like Tina Turner with that Rock'n'roll element there, but what was really cool is you changed your vibrato, you slowed it down and it was in time with the music, that was crazy, never heard that before, a crazy skill.

We're down to our Top 5 and our next result is the pride of Louisiana, MacKenzie Bourg! This week he is singing I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick), which is outside of his wheelhouse.  Stevie pushes him to take it even further right and he comes up with a whole new take on it.  He's an original spirit, Stevie says, but he can pull it off.

He opens with a quiet, determined, hopeful vocal, playing the guitar, getting the audience to clap despite the lack of definable rhythm in the arrangement, which is a bit dreamy and wishful.  Totally original and earnest, his presence is the type guaranteed to win him the support of tween-age girls everywhere.

Jennifer says you MacKenzied it, I don't know if I loved it, I would have loved to have heard what it was before you changed it, but for me it wasn't exciting. Harry says there are 2 types of groups in relation to this song, those who know it, there is a lot more energy in the original because it's double time. You chose to make it half time, and there's a risk because it loses some of that immediacy. It was all right - your vocal wouldn't have changed if you sang the fast version, I would have preferred that energy.

Keith says I hated the arrangement, you either gotta do it like it was written for, or strip it all the way down and you ended up right in the middle which is sort of nowhere, a maudlin energy. You're a killer singer who connects with the audience. I Like you, just not the arrangement.

I disagree with the judges.  The voting audience MacKenzie is playing for is made up largely of tween-age girls who probably don't know that song and even if they do, they'll be more focused on his spiked hair, his smile and his full set of perfectly pearly white teeth.  We'll see how he does in Round 2.

Our Top 5 worked 24x7 to create that perfect superstar persona, and this week, thanks to Ford, they got to take it to the next level with fashion stylist Chiara Ferragni.  Roll package!

Our next performer knows how life changing Finale Night can be. He ran away with the title in 2008 and is coming back in 2 weeks when we say goodbye. In the screens, you'll see some of the other Idols joining us that night, with Heartbeat, here is David Cook!

Take a close look at Trent, Sonika and Dalton.  Based on your votes, one of them will be safe in just a second and the others are unfortunately your Bottom Two.  So let's find out who takes one step closer to the finale right now.  Dim the lights, here we go.

After the nationwide vote, the next person boarding that private jet for the Hometown Hero's welcome is...   going back to the farm...  Trent Harmon!

Singing Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top), Stevie says that thing in the middle should be moved to the front and the whole thing should be swampy, that's how you establish your thing and not make it a cover. That's why you're you, Trent tells him.

Slowed down, sultry and bluesy, Trent exudes soulful sass, with his suave and sophisticated rendition before jumping into a more traditional rock arrangement.  Frankly, after that first verse, I lost interest because it sounded just like every other take.  Midway, though, he reverts back to the front for a bridge reprise and gives a little more attitude and vocal dynamics for the last round to save the performance.

When the audience quiets down, Harry says he learned a new word. Stevie called it swampie but Jennifer called it Fango (muddy in Spanish).  I was so content with that groove at the beginning, Harry says, you could have stretched that out to 10 minutes in concert, sung that same song twice, you satisfied so many things with that.  Am I sexy when I say Fango, Harry asks Jennifer? Sexy like an artichoke, Keith answers.

Keith says that was so freaking good, you need a standout performance that shows every part of your strongest attributes and that was 10 out of 10.  Jennifer says I've been waiting for this performance, I knew it ws in you, that is what everybody was waiting for, it was perfect.  

That leave Sonika Vaid and Dalton Rapattoni.  One of them has to leave.  After an emotional journey on the stage, one gets the last spot in the Top 4, the other sees their Idol dream come to an end this evening.  Good luck, you made it a long way, you're both fantastic, but we've got to do this.  Dim the lights one more time, here we go.

The final person to take one step closer to becoming the next American Idol is...   Dalton!  We say goodbye to Sonika Vaid.  The music playing during her highlight exit package is the Sia song she was going to perform in Round 2 tonight, recorded for iTunes earlier in the week.

Dalton was dead set on singing Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes), but Stevie said it wasn't going anywhere. He wanted to paint a more empowered picture than the suggestions Scott offered.  At Sound Check, he decided to switch to his backup song, God Only Knows (The Beachboys).  Having a song in his back pocket saved his life this week.

Dressed in a graphic T and unbuttoned plaid long sleeve, he casually strolls to the front of the stage with an earnest, heartfelt vocal, his voice somber and pleading, walking behind the judges table, pouring his heart out to someone, sitting at the edge of the stage for a closeup with some young girls.  This was an emotionally dramatic performance of a young man tormented by an empty future.  And it's a hard song to sing as well.  Well executed.

Salty Dalty, Keith says, pointing to a sign in the audience, so good for you to choose that song. You said you only had a minute 30 to talk to America and I want to have the right words - that's an extraordinary attitude to have and to see you sitting on the step and watching these girls' reactions is as pure as it gets.  That was really good.  

Jennifer says as an artist, having an idea in your head and feeling it's so right and not working, that's hard to let go of.  It's great you took the advice and came out with this, you really won with this moment, it was a good moment for you.  Harry says that was your most complex song melodically, and harmonically, the chords underneath, the arrangement really showed your vulnerabilities. That's why it's so dangerous to do a thing like that but that's what we wanted to hear.

Walking around the stage, Harry continues, everybody disappeared and it was just you walking down the street thinking those thoughts. It wasn't about delivering a strong vocal, it was about getting into the lyrics and I thought you did a good job with that.

Ford brings the Top 5 to NASCAR where they try to find a helmet that fits La'Porsha's hair. They sing the National Anthem.  Tomorrow the Top 4 are heading to their home towns on a private jet but tonight they have one more round of perforamnces for your vote, singing songs of Sia.

But first our next performer was treated to a hometown welcome right here in her hometown right here in LA in Season 5. Since then she's gone on to become a massive TV star and tonight, she reminds us there's no place like home. Singing her signature song, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, welcome back Katherine McPhee!

Oscar is one of the backstage hands for AI and has a huge crush on Katherine so Ryan brings him out for a hug. In 7th grade, he recalls, he had a whole campaign for her to win Idol including bumper stickers and donuts. He would give out the donuts if his classmates took a bumper sticker promised to vote for her.

Round 2 begins with a woman who is arguably one of the most recognizable names in pop music today, Sia. Roll the package.

The Top 4 idols will each be singing songs written by Sia, who met with them in her home.  The first person to take one on is La'Porsha Renae.  Sia was blown away by La'Porsha's version of Diamonds 4 weeks ago.  The lyrics to Elastic Heart are emotional, La'Porsha says, and Sia says they are my words but you made the song your own.  Stay true to who you are, she tells La'Porsha.

With a percussionists pounding big drums on stage to give drama to her vocal, La'Porsha delivers another strong, dynamic performance, a little more restrained and straightforward performance, she glad hands the front row fans without missing an acrobatic beat with her voice, she simply is the most professional performer of the remaining idols.  Top down, this is her competition to lose.

Jennifer says I had a flashback to your start on the show, you were under the radar but now you are such a fully realized artists, I'm not even judging you anymore, I'm just watching you perform and be amazing. You have such a control and command of what your doing up there, your style, your hair this week, everything that's happening is so beautiful and so good. And you have grown.

Harry says you don't sing in your head voice a lot and it was beautiful, so unexpected on a song like that. You know how you're terrified when your in the passenger seat of someone who just got their license? I feel like I'm in the passenger seat of a NASCAR driver.  Keith says it's beautiful to watch someone come in with raw talent and become a performer, it was like an awards show watching you perform your nominated song.

Breaking News: La'Porsha reveals that the idols all got to see Sia's face and her eyes are blue.  The rest of us will just have to wonder if that's the truth.

Next to see Sia was MacKenzie.  He is way out of his comfort zone singing her song, Titanium and offers up two different ways to sing the lyric, Titanium.  She thinks he should try to falsetto the word. It's exciting for the audience if they're afraid he won't get it. It's about trusting yourself, she tells us.  

Wearing a titanium jacket, his voice is as intense as his look into the camera, soft and introspective. The vocal builds up and the audience predictably applauds when he reaches for that high note.  Backed up by a string orchestration, the song has a softer, more natural emotion feel to it, with just hints of a harder, harsher feel at the end.

Harry says it was nice, what really irritates me is when this competition turns into an ice skating competition and everyone's waiting for the triple axle, about a note. I wouldn't have made it about the note but the song. Everyone forgot about what you were singing about once you  hit the note.  I'm not a fan of that, sing what you want to sing.  Of course you can hit the note - it's right in your falsetto wheelhouse, but your smarter than that.

It is a TV show, Keith acknowledges, and I like that you just rode through that moment.  Are we on TV, Harry deadpans, nobody told me.  Anyway, Keith says, I like the fact you stripped it down and made a singer/songwriter moment, it was really beautiful and I thought your usage of the high note was great.

Jennifer says I told you last week there was more you could do with your voice and it was great Sia made you go for that.  Life doesn't begin until your out of your comfort zone - that's when you begin exploring all of your amazing things that we're afraid to do. She was right - you can do it and you did it a couple times in the song. It made everyone cheer because we're rooting for you.  

She's been doling out expert advice to our finalists; now she gets to show us how it is done.  With her freshest hit, Cheap Thrills, from her new album, This is Acting, put your hands together for Sia!

We are down to 4 mega-talented artists and one of them is Trent Harmon. Take a look at what went down when he met Sia.  Seeing her in the flesh was like seeing a unicorn. He hopes to make her proud by singing Chandelier. She was afraid he wouldn't go to the high part but she doesn't want to mess with his own arrangement.  She wants him to go for the goosebumps - it's what the people want.

Accompanied by a piano, the stage full of fog, his vocal is misty and slightly obscure, dynamic and lyrical, rolling through the count, then falling up into his falsetto so sweetly, his words dripping in sugar, building up higher and loftier, his facial expressions giving the impressions he is digging deep inside and exposing his inner passion with huge powerful notes.  The closing was just absolutely amazing and for the first time I think La'Porsha has competition.

Keith says that was beautiful. It's the most extraordinary thing you guys get to sing these Sia songs because that has the most gorgeous, grandeur melody, and to hear it, it played to everything you have that's special to you, so strong in your vocal delivery, it was exquisite, I loved every minute of it.

It's funny, Jennifer says, this is a whole different person than the guy who sang earlier, both good, you can almost do anything, it's your choice.  Now it's like your alternative guy with the long, cut-up jacket, the other guy was all buttoned up. Two different people but the voice is consistent. It shows you can sing anything.

Harry says that was phenomenal, the song tells such a vivid tale and I could tell you were completely in another world with that, not to mention how artfully you sang that just from a vocal technique point of view. That's difficult to do. From the first note to the last note, I give it 100 out of 100.

Perhaps music's next chart topper will be Dalton.  Singing Bird Set Free, Sia says he's got a restrained voice that's pretty moving. It feels like he is would up at the start and as he lets go, it brings a feeling of relief.  I'm curious to hear what you sound like when you really belt.  They try to push it a little more and Sia likes the first half of the first try and the second half of the second try.  Finding the balance will be really neat.

He loves the lyrics and wants to tell the story. They bond over being bipolar, which makes the song even more powerful for him. It's like exposing him, she tells him, and telling the story will have a profound impact on kids everywhere.  It makes sense now why I connect with her music so much, he reflects.

He jumps right into the first verse, a bit intense and anxious, tightly wound, begging for release.  His performance is a bit angry, defiant, and he leaves the mic stand to sing directly to the audience, trying to get them (and us) to understand who he is.  The performance is wonderfully dramatic and emotionally explosive, bringing himself to tears at the end.

Jennifer says you know everyone is cheering for your bravery, that's like what everyone wants to do, to let go and feel good in our own skin, have a moment where we release and be ourselves, find ourselves, that release that helps us do that and singing is obviously that for you, you're such an artist, it's so beautiful, you touch our hearts every time you get up there. But especially tonight, it was really beautiful to watch that happen.

Harry says it was the most powerful for me when you sang that line about a scream inside that we all try to hide.  I think out of all the Sia songs, this is my favorite, they're all riddled with pain and give the singer so much to sing about, and this song was probably the best match-up of a Sia song with a singer. It was just something you needed to do. I don't know what it sounded like at home but I sure liked it in here.

Keith says you're up against some insane singers, and you know that, but some artists won't go to the edges of their abilities because they know where they are and don't want to go there, but you go right up to them and push through them, you're always pushing through your limitations, it's so inspiring. And for me, I would always take an inspired attempt over soulless perfection. Thank you.

La'Porsha Renae, MacKenzie Bourg, Trent Harmon or Dalton Rapattoni - one of these faces is your next American Idol.  We say goodnight for the last time in 2 more weeks but for tonight, we say safe travels as the Final Four head out for a well deserved welcome home.  Personally, I think the Final 3 staked their claim tonight, but it all comes down to who wins the popular vote.

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American Idol Season 15 - The Top 4


Hometown Heroes.  Dallas, Texas, home of Dalton.  I've dreamed of people listening to me my entire life, he says, and now they are.  

McComb, Mississippi, home of La'Porsha.  You're an inspiration to all of us, she's told.  

Amory, Mississippi, home of Trent.  I'll remember this for a long time, he says.

Lafayette, Louisiana, home of MacKenzie.  It couldn't have been a more amazing day.

This is American Idol!  Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!  Good evening, America. It is bitter sweet around here because tonight is the last time we do our show live from our Hollywood stage. The moving trucks are here, we officially haul everything across town to the Dolby Theater for our last week of American Idol.  I cannot believe it.

Tonight your Finale contenders are named, and these three get a front row seat. Ladies and gentlemen, Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and J-Lo!

Your Top 4 will compete in 3 rounds. First up, songs dedicated to their home towns, plus their incredible hero visits.  Round 2 is mentor Scott Borchetta's choices, and Round 3 will be the judges' picks.  Ladies and gentlemen, your Top 4 on American Idol: Dalton Rapattoni!  La'Porsha Renae!  MacKenzie Bourg!  And Trent Harmon!

Here's the breakdown.  Based on America's vote, one of those faces will be headed home.  But before we get to that, all the idols will perform a song dedicated to their home town as we celebrate the amazing support they have across the country.  And we start with MacKenzie.

In high school, sports meant a lot to MacKenzie, but an infection sidelined him and put him on a path to music. He revisits his old gym, reflecting on the crazy turns his life has taken. It all started right here, he says, as he picks up a basketball, then puts it down, collecting his guitar instead.

MacKenzie goes to a local baseball game for a tailgate party where a woman puts beads around his neck.  He throws out the first pitch, laughing that you wouldn't know he was a pitcher once.  The cooler is filled with craw-fish (Filet Mignon with legs).  Next he meets his family at his grandmother's house, the streets lined with fans.  

3 years ago, MacKenzie's grandmother's heart stopped and he held her hand, saying he knows what it means to feel life.  Now she's not going anywhere.  At his high school, the gym is now full of people and he's handed a jersey and invited to play in a pickup game.  Then it's on to a hospital's pediatric unit where among the patience wearing McKenzie masks over their surgical masks is his pediatric physician. This guy saved my life, MacKenzie tells us.

MacKenzie visits the ICU room where he got a second chance at life.  I was where you are, he tells the kids, but I made it. Whatever you are feeling, whatever you think, there's always hope.  He's overwhelmed with emotion during his parade, then it's time for the concert.

Dedicated to his home town of Lafayette, LA, here is MacKenzie Bourg with Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen).  Playing his acoustic without the band on a raised platform in a sea of fog, the gulf gently lapping on the video wall behind him, his voice is soft and angelic, each note slowly and exquisitely crafted, the vocal is meditative under a huge silver moon.  This performance is all about the emotion of the song, delivered in quiet intensity; you could hear a pin drop until it was over.

Then the audience erupted.  A great song for you, Keith says, I love it when you just play and sing, 1+1 makes 3, just superb, beautiful.  Jennifer says you can see the finish line and it's about delivering performances that really reflect who you are as an artist and show all your strengths and that was real strong for you. That as classic MacKenzie.  

Harry says what was cool for me was it seemed like you've come completely full circle, because that performance was similar to the feeling we had when we first saw you. And even though you've grown a lot, you were able to condense all that into a very singular and powerful performance.  Nice job.

A few weeks ago the idols got a chance to hit the Fox lot for a special VIP visit and here it is for you.  Roll package!  They got to meet Ray Romano doing voice overs for Ice Age and got the chance to voice the characters themselves. Yes, this was an ad for Ice Age: Collision Course by Fox Studios.  The winner of AI will have the opportunity to record a song that will be featured in our movie, Jennifer reveals.

This weekend, after many months of hard work, Dalton got to see it all pay off on his visit home to Dallas, TX.  He starts with a visit to a local radio morning show, and then on to the local Fox affiliate where he's shown a clip of Kelly Clarkson being interviewed on her hometown visit.  Winner of the first season, the reporter suggests, winner of the final season?  I hope so, Dalton says.

Dalton's next stop is his grandma's hair salon because he needs his hair done.  He's talented, but he's very very sweet, Nina says as his hair is undergoing treatment.  Tweenage girls describe what an inspiration he is as his new hair is styled.  One decidedly not tweenage woman laments they didn't make them like that when she was a girl.

Dalton's next stop is the School of Rock, where he works and we get to see where he taught and meet with some of his students and they sing for him.  The stretch limo shows him the multitudes of people supporting him. I've lived here my whole life screaming to get someone to listen to me, he says, and now they are.  He breaks down into tears, overwhelmed by emotion.

The crowds are gone when the limo pulls up to his home, Dalton's parents, siblings and dog waiting for him in the driveway. Friend and family greet him inside and he's treated to his mom's ketchup & grape jelly meatballs.  He takes a quiet walk alone in the backyard with his dad.  You said you were only going for first place, his dad recalls, and in my mind, you've already won.  

Dalton cruises through his hometown parade, signing autographs, holding his mom tight, amazed at all the people.  Then it's time for his concert.  He keeps forgetting the signs are for him.  It was the best day of my life, he says.

Taking on Calling You by Blue October, here is Dalton Rapattoni.  The music is a bit jarring and his voice is in a slightly minor key as he vocalizes the thoughts of someone who has trouble expressing his feelings, heartfelt and joyful, then he kicks it into gear with an up-tempo pop performance, playing to the crowd, playing to the camera, sounding a bit like Michael Stipe of R.E.M.  He's energetic, dancing around on stage like he's high on life.  And the feeling comes across.

It's funny, Jennifer says, I felt it all sank in during your hometown visit and that came through during your performance, I'm here, I'm doing this.  I have a chance to really make it to the end. I felt a difference in how you performed today. In the past you had a lot of angst in your songs, but this was more free, like it's OK, I belong here. I like you really know who you are in the choices you pick. It felt great.

Harry says you do really well with great lyrics and you could have done any arrangement on this and I like what you picked. You sang the line, "I try to hard to make you smile" and other lines really well. You're a smart guy and I like how you think about the words and the performance. Nice job.

Harry says we're seeing a concentration and focus of what y'all do that makes you unique artists, it's an exciting moment for me because you are so in your zone, you did the best Daltonization of that song, it was really, really good.  Dalton reveals that this song was what helped him discover what kind of musician he wanted to be and also, the lead singer who is a friend is bi-polar too and helped him learn how to channel it into his music.

Ryan gets a promise from Dalton's mom to cook him some ketchup and grape jelly meatballs.

Next we take a look at what went down when Trent went home to Amory, MS for the first time in a long, long time.  In a white stretch limo, he heads home to see his family who he hasn't seen since the competition started because he's superstitious.  Let's go eat, Mom says as they head into the family restaurant where there everyone is waiting.  He puts on an apron and starts taking orders.  Order up!  Half the town was there, he says.

Next Trent heads to his high school where the other half of the town is waiting. Students peer through the window as Trent visits the school auditorium where it all started.  He knew the stuff he learned on this stage would help him with something, but never dreamed it would be this big.  The Mayor Amory declares the Trent Harmon Day and he proceeds along his Main Street parade on a tractor.  These people showed up for me because they believe in my music, he says, I am so touched.

Trent next lays his hands on a block of wet cement to become a permanent part of his home town.  Holy cow, he says, as he arrives at the football stadium for his hometown concert. I've been dreaming about this for forever, he says.  

Dedicating this next song to his hometown, here is Trent Harmon with Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton.  Dressed in a classic country shirt, jeans and boots, his vocal is slow and dripping in country flavor, kind of like sitting out on your porch on a balmy summer night, watching the fireflies. He stops the music and goes A Capella for a couple lines, just snapping to the beat, before unleashing his voice with dynamic falsetto notes and a killer run.

Harry says one of the things he's best at is arcing these performances into something that really works on AI, like the A Capella section in the middle. That was really smart. This song's been around a pretty long time, so many versions, but your voice is so unique and special, it was a fantastic performance.

Keith says the most important thing is finding a song that brings out your strongest, finest qualities as a singer and that was a bulls-eye.  Fantastic.  Jennifer says it felt so easy, breezy for you, you're getting your stride at the right time to make it to the end.  You keep pushing and getting into the zone and it could happen.

Ryan notes that Trent has kept his family away from the competition until the finale, if he makes it to the finale.  And while we don't know the results yet, his family is watching at home every week.  Hi mom, Trent says.  Well, Ryan says, turn around.  Hey mom, dad? Trent's parents and sister come out on stage, surprising him.  The audience erupts in screams as Trent and his mom share an emotional embrace.

This week our idols got to hang out Vine media artist Rudy Mancuso.  Take a look in this week's Ford-sponsored package in which they create portraits of each other using colored post-it pads.

La'Porsha joined up with her family back home in McComb, MS.  She could get used to riding in a stretch SUV, she says as she passes by supportive fans.  She heads to the JPAC Performing Arts School where she first discovered music and performing and her dream began.  It appears everyone turned out to greet he and she's overwhelmed.  A children's choir performs for her and she tries to hug each of them.

La'Porsha's next stop is Wings Domestic Violence Shelter.  She's been contacted by so many women who were inspired to seek safety.  She tells a group of women she wants them to feel empowered, to say no more drama.  They say she inspired them but she's the one who feels inspired.  

Next she heads home to see her family, her baby girl.  They are are all on the lawn waiting and she can't pick up her baby fast enough.  We can't tell you how proud we are, her dad says.  But you can show me by feeding me, La'Porsha jokes.  They head inside where there's a southern smorgasbord waiting.  She takes a quiet walk down the street with her baby.  Look how far we've come, she tells her.

Next is La'Porsha's "Go With The Fro" parade.  She takes the stage for her hometown concert , backed up by a church choir. She thanks everyone for their incredibly moving support. This was the best homecoming it could possibly have been.

This is for the people of McComb, MS, singing the Oscar-winning song Glory (John Legend, Common), here is La'Porsha Renae!  Standing strong in a black dress with sequined shoulders and sleeves, her hair tied up like a beehive, her voice is serious and majestic, echoing in the theater.   Backed by snare drums beating out a marking rhythm, it's her presence that is commanding more-so than her vocal, demanding your attention as her voice slowly and inevitably marches towards it's powerful conclusion.

The audience won't let the judge talk.  Keith says your gift is so strong and pure, it's beautiful watching you perform, not even critiquing, just being moved. I feel like I just had a baptism.  Jennifer says you're picking great songs for yourself, things that are inspirational, not just here me sing, it shows how important inspiration is to artists, and how inspirational artists are. They don't cure cancer but they do heal the spirit, taking people to a better place.  

Harry says many of your performances are in the critique-proof category. This was one of them. I loved it. As much as people love you, there are 4 others in the competition, so people at home should vote for the ones they love.  Last thing I want to leave you with, every time you walk on the stage, there's an incredible elegance and grace that is so important to see in a young woman like you.  Your parents should be proud.

La'Porsha says she was told she brought the town together on her hometown visit and she just wishes they would come together on things like racism and just being different and being stronger together. If they can come together over little ol' me, think of what else they can do.

On the stage you see four very different individuals, but they share one common dream - to become the next American Idol. Unfortunately, only 3 of them will take the next step toward that dream.  Good luck to all of you.  Dim the lights, here we go.

The first person to move forward, based on the nationwide vote, is...   Trent Harmon!

Also making it to the Dolby stage with a shot at the title, after that nationwide vote is...   Dalton Rapattoni!

That means La'Porsha and MacKenzie are the bottom two this week.  I'll do it for you, MacKenzie tells Ryan, conceding to La'Porsha with a smile.  Stop, she says.  It could be either of you, Ryan tells him.  No, MacKenzie says, gesturing to La'Porsha.  Let's see what the result is, Ryan says.

The final person to make it through is...   La'Porsha!  MacKenzie gives LaPorsha a big hug and tell her not to lose now.  They put together some tape of MacKenzie's time on the show.  Roll it!

MacKenzie's takeaway from his ride on Idol is that 7 months ago he was playing that song (he wrote) on his couch and home and now millions of people have been able to hear it and love it, it's just incredible having gone from there to here and people send him these amazing messages.  I didn't lose tonight. These people (the Final 3) are my family and we love each other. I feel like I've already won.

We move on to Round 2 now, Scott Borchetta's choices, starting with Dalton.  He'll be singing Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen) because of it's rock edge.  Wearing dog tags and a plaid shirt, he executes his slow, plodding stroll from the back of the stage, his vocal intense and emotional, singing from inside his heart.  The guitar kicks off and the other Dalton comes out, jamming on stage, full of passionate anger and rant, those black-lined eyes piercing through the camera.  He twirls his mike at the end as if to say, take that, America!

Jennifer says we're laughing because we really didn't to expect. I thought you were going to be Courtney Cox, Keith says to Jennifer, and get up to dance.  It was awesome, Jennifer says, you did great on your own. The way you take the lyrics and really makes us feel them is so your gift. There was something that was fresh and new all over again.

I loved the arrangement, Harry says, the first half was like early 80's, like English new wave, a really smart arrangement. But let me be frank. First, I loved it, it was great, but your ability to take a lyric and twist it around to make it your own trumps any lack of ability you have. You are a good singer in a competition with some great singers, but the reason you're still here is because of the way you bring everyone along on the path with you.

Keith says you're reminding people at home that it's about what you do that makes you individual, don't think about being the greatest singer, just be true to yourself and stand out.  You did really good tonight.

For LaPorsha, Scott assigned Stay With Me Baby (Lorraine Ellison).  She traded out the dress for an elegant silver shimmering thing, but her voice remains as pure and clear as ever, delivering a  strong and powerful vocal, but the emotion to me felt a bit flat, like she was just going through the motions (which are admittedly great motions) until it was time to flick the switch and deliver a divalicious climax.

You slowed down your vibrato again, Harry says, I liked it.  What did you not like about that song? This was a song about begging a man to stay with her, La'Porsha says, I and I was like, I'm not singing that song.  I didn't like the message - I'd never tell a woman to beg. But I just had to get in character and sing the darn song.  Let me tell you something, Harry says, that was a character you were playing, the first time I saw a slight veneer. Still an amazing performance, but I felt it, you didn't believe it wholeheartedly.  Because I don't, she says, I don't.

Jennifer I felt the same thing, she does not like the "stay with me" part.  The only one I want to stay with me, LaPorsha says, is God.  You could have put "don't" in front of it, Keith suggests,  "(don't) stay with me..."  That would have been fantastic.  Keith says it was a good recommendation from Stevie Van Zant anyway because you killed it.  Jennifer says I understand why they picked it for you because you could sing the mess out of it and you did.  

For Trent Harmon, Scott picked a song being sung for the first time ever in Idol history, Justin Timberlake gave permission for Drink You Away.  His intense, jazzy voice is nearly drowned out by the amazing guitar work of the band, he rises above it with energy and highly stylized vocal, weaving in and out of the background vocals, and basically wailing on the blues.  I wasn't a fan of the beginning but he nailed the end.

Keith say my only comment was, what was the guitar for? You sang and you shredded.  It was great.  Jennifer says that's singing to win, that's what I saw in that performance, you know where this is headed, you have to have a vision, with the confetti dropping and all that, and the only way to get there is with performances like that.  Or go to Ryan's dressing room, Harry adds.  Yep, agrees Jennifer.

Harry says when the background singers stand up and start clapping, that's a really good sign. I wish I could name every musician in the band, but did you hear Paul Jackson (guitarist)? Listen, one of the hardest things to do is to be able to hang with the musicians. If you can sing like that, you can hang with the musicians.

We press pause now on the competition to bring out a 4-time Grammy award winner, who just happens to be a member of our family.  His highly anticipated album, Ripcord, is coming out May 6th.  Tonight he treats us to what just may be his 21st #1 song, Wasted Time. Ladies & Gentlemen, put your hands together for our own Keith Urban!

Judge's picks. Dalton's up.  What did we choose for him? We chose Every Body Wants To Rule The World (Tears For Fears), says Jennifer, it really suited his style.  And here he is.  He almost seemed to be psyching himself up as the camera reached him a second before the music and his performance began.  Starting down in the mosh pit, he was singing directly and creepily to each of the girls as he made his way up to to the stage.

If I haven't described it before, he achieves an intense, bedeviled look by constantly hunching over and pushing his face forward, scrunching his shoulders in kind of an Igor/Frankenstein way.  Another thing I've noticed is that he delivers every lyric from deep within his mouth; he's very expressive, opening to create additional impact. Oh and he he was really cool to listen to as well.  

Jennifer asks if he lowered the key and he did. She felt it could be higher but he felt it was too high. The brightness of your voice was lost, she says.  Harry explains that to re-harmonize something means to change the chords and he liked how Dalton re-harmonized the tune. That's the good news.  The other good news is you already had two great performances. This was not your best. I could go on why but I'm glad you had the other two.

Keith says I also would have taken the key up a little bit more.  Half a step, suggests Jennifer. Because there's buzz thing that happens when a song is in a key it's meant to be in. When you take it down, people sense something's different, the energy's dropped somehow, you could have nailed it in the original key.  But you have 2 killer performances, so you're good.

Harry is holding La'Porsha's daughter while Ryan holds Trend's little dog and Jennifer makes faces at the baby.  Just another Thursday night on American Idol, says Ryan.

Next week will be a triple scoop of American Idol, with a retrospective special on Tuesday, and Wednesday, your Top Two will sing for your vote, and then Thursday, our emotional finale, so be there as history is made. Perhaps Mommy is there in that finale.  Jennifer points to the stage where Mommy is about to make an appearance.  What is Mommy going to sing, Harry?

Harry says we wanted to throw a challenge your way, so Mommy's going to sing, I'm dying right now, this is the cutest baby of all time, give you a song that was so immensely popular that you'd be forced into a corner and think really hard what could do with it.  It's Hello (Adele).

La'Porsha has changed dresses again to a shimmering silver gown with a tale. She's standing in a fog bed with the ocean sunset behind her, she stares straight into the camera, expressionless, as she opens with a deep and melancholy vocal, her voice piercing through the gloom with the chorus, but not quite as powerful and dynamic as I would have hoped and expected. She closes with some big, quivering notes but I wasn't impressed.

Harry hands the baby to La'Porsha and apologizes for the song choice again after her reaction to Scott's song choice. It was different this time, La'Porsha explains, because this song says he did something wrong. The last song he cheated and everything and she's begging him back.  That was beautiful, Harry says.

Keith says right now if she (her daughter) tried to get away, you could sing Stay With Me Baby.  It was beautiful.  Jennifer says what I liked about it is it stretched your range a little bit. You kind of stay within your thing, which is beautiful, you, but it's nice to hear you reach a little bit. Hello!   The baby is waiving to the audience.

One more you for you tonight, the song the judges have chosen for Trent Harmon.  Keith says they picked Waiting Game (Parson James).  Here it is, Trent Harmon!  He's changed into a sports jacket and slacks with a bolo bow tie, and his voice has changed to, soft and sensitive, filled with the vocal acrobatics of the spirit.  The audience wakes up when he falls up into his falsetto, but the song was mostly a bit dry and sleepy.  Or maybe that's just me.

Keith says that's a good song, I heard that song and it was your voice.  Tailor made for you.  I got the goosies, Jennifer says, suddenly realizing that will be the last time she gets the goosies there.  It was so amazingly beautiful, a perfect song, you killed it.  Harry says I'm not sure if this is the last critique on AI, it may be, on this stage for sure, but it's an honor to critique a guy like you who is an extraordinary talent, a beautiful performance, an extraordinary night for every one.

This was the last night for American Idol on Stage 36 as next week will be Finale Week from the Dolby Theater.  Dalton Rapattoni, La'Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon are your Top Three.  Next week, one of them will be your next and last American Idol.  But only if they receive your vote!

Personally, I was disappointed to see MacKenzie go home.  As good a voice as Trent Harmon has, I thought Mr. Bourg was a more entertaining performer.  I also thought La'Porsha was uncharacteristically flat tonight and Dalton was riding an emotional and energetic high.  

What did you think?  Who should be this season's American Idol?

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American Idol Season 15 - The Top 3, Finale Performances


"I can say that Idol is my family." "They were right there for me in the beginning." "They showed me how to live a dream. You had to have heart." "And so like any younger sibling, I followed their every move. Studying how they made their mark and examining their every groove." "I failed and I failed but I've practiced and I've grown and now I'm not afraid to show that I'm not afraid of failing them." "I was always in their shadows just waiting for the day that I'm going to choose my own path." "They've always been someone I've wanted to be - a role model that made my aspirations clear." "But the Son has cleared a path for me and so now it's my turn." The voices of our three idols start the show as cheers are heard.

Our final three idols - Dalton, La'Porsha and Trent - start the show singing "At least we stole the show" by Kygo . Their three voices harmonize as blue lights shine behind them, the theatre mostly dark. "Who will steal the show?" Ryan asks, as the Idols leave their lights to hug each other. "We're about to find out live at the Dolby Theatre. This is your finale week and THIS is American Idol. Here we go!"

"Good evening. Welcome!" Ryan can barely speak over the cheering. "Welcome to the season 15 American Idol finale. Who in this crowd of nearly 3500 is ready to make some TV history tonight? Of course, tomorrow evening we officially sign off. It will be the culmination of an amazing run on this show. Please welcome Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr and Jennifer Lopez."

"Here is the breakdown for tonight. Before we get to the elimination and reveal who goes head to head for the title, Trent, La'Porsha and Dalton will sing their potential winning singles, round 2 will be American Idol Simon Fuller's choice. Round 3 will be the contestants choice. We're going to kick it off tonight with Trent. It all started when he took a chance in Little Rock."

Trent's package starts. He tells us when he walked into the auditions he thought he had little chance. He lived on a farm before Idol, he didn't think it was possible. He didn't think it was possible for a 25 year old dude from Mississippi to do the things he's done. He's worked so hard to get to this point. To be the winner of the farewell season would be so worth it. He's so grateful to Idol. Thank you sooooo so so much.

Trent's single is called "Falling" and if he's crowned the winner tomorrow night, it will be released as his first single. Trent comes out dressed in a black suit. The song has an easy beat, not too slow or fast. He receives louds cheers from the audience while Keith sings along. Trent really gets into the song, moving his whole body as he sings. No judging on this round.

After the commercial break, we join Ryan with Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Records. He signs whoever wins to his label. Scott tells us the legacy of Idol will live on with Big Machine Records. They go to work the minute they are crowned: radio, social media, marketing, videos, making a new record. It will be show time, go time. Dalton is up next, and here's what happened when we met the Texas Rocker.

Dalton's package starts. Dalton tells us he was always a big fan of Idol and wanted to audition. He never thought he'd make it through the first round; his Dad encouraged him to do it and bought him a plane ticket because it was the last season. He's grown a lot through this experience, more confident and showed America who he is. Every song he's sung came from him. He's glad his Dad pushed him to audition - it's been the best experience of his life.

Dalton's single is called "Strike A Match" and starts with a lively beat. Dalton is wearing black jeans, black suit jacket and a black and white patterned shirt. While Keith is not singing to this song, he is definitely dancing slightly in his chair. Dalton tells Ryan he can't feel his feet after the song ends.

We shift our focus to La'Porsha, who we also met in Little Rock. La'Porsha's package starts. La'Porsha tells us when she heard American Idol's farewell season's bus tour was coming, she got her daughter together and drove 28 hours to Little Rock. She decided if they told her no, she was going to the next city and the next city after that until she got a yes. When you have a little person depending on you, it brings out something in you. You don't care what you have to do. She wants the title really badly. She wants the contract too. Kelly, a woman started it and a woman's going to finish it.

La'Porsha's song title is not announced but she is welcomed to the stage, wearing a sparkly top, black pants and a long flowing white overcoat with a black belt. The beat is very pop like and La'Porsha works the stage as she sings about being enough and being loved, despite the pain and battles we all face.

It is a massive moment in Idol history for our 3 finalists. Ironically they all began their journey in Little Rock but only 2 will face off head to head. Before the results, Ryan heaves a huge sigh. What a journey, what a ride. Trent tells us sometimes you invest so much in music and don't always see a return but standing on this stage, he is getting way more in return than he'd ever thought. Dalton tells us he's happy America cared to listen for so long. Thank you. La'Porsha says it's breath taking, literally.

Dim the lights and let's do this! After the nationwide vote the first person you want to sing for the title is La'Porsha! Congratulations, you made it through!

Down to the gentlemen. Also getting a chance to be the 15th American Idol after the nationwide vote is Trent! Congratulations! Dalton cries out "YES!" as he hugs Trent.

It's going to be a battle between La'Porsha and Trent. But first we say goodbye to Dalton Rapattoni, an incredible artist and performer and a great guy. We take a look at Dalton's journey on Idol. Ryan says the series won't be the same without him and wishes him all the best. He leaves the stage to loud applause.

Here is where we stand with our final 2 contestants: it's Mississippi vs Mississippi. They'll battle out the final 2 rounds. Earlier in the week they drew numbers and Trent drew 1 so he'll be up first. Round 2, Simon Fuller's choices. He's chosen "If You Don't Know Me By Know" for Trent.

Trent has changed to black jeans, a burgundy jacket and a black shirt with small polka dots. He has gentle lights behind him and hits a variety of different notes, as per Trent's usual. The audience receives this with huge applause as the song ends and Keith is excited. He loves that song, and it was perfect for Trent. It's been extraordinary to watch how far he's come in this competition. He needs to remind everyone to vote - he's giving La'Porsha a run for her money like he's never seen. It's going to be a close race.

Jennifer agrees and says for the first time in a long time we have a battle. La'Porsha is amazing and with every performance, Trent is showing people he will not lay down. That performance was proof of that. It amazing. Harry congratulates Trent, he's happy he made it this far. Simon made an incredible choice of song. He feels like he knows him by now, which made the song better. Nice job.

Trent says it has sunk in that this could be his. He's worked really hard. If you want to vote, vote now!

Tomorrow night don't miss our jam packed season finale as we bring you the brightest moments on stage. Harry and Keith are going to do something special. Harry has a special guest and Keith might have a collaboration. Jennifer is going to treat us to an epic performance of her new single "Ain't Your Mama".

Simon Fuller's choice for La'Porsha is Dionne Warwick''s "A House is Not a Home". La'Porsha enters the stage in a sparkling navy blue evening gown and soft lighting. This time it is Jennifer singing along with her. The song ends to thunderous applause . Jennifer says that is one of her top 5 songs of all time,. This rendition was beautiful.

Harry says one of the best thing about the way she sings lyrics is she never overdoes them. Methodically and harmonionally that is one of her best songs this season. Emotionally he loved it but musically it spoke volumes about how much she knows about harmony. To have an interpretation like that on top of that is more than he could ask for. Keith says he doesn't even smoke and he needs a cigarette. Great job and great choice by Simon.

Jennifer can't pick a winner from that round. They both did really well and the choice from Simon from both was amazing but if she had to pick one that edged over another, it was La'Porsha.

Round 3, contestants choice is up next and Trent starts us off with 'Chandelier'. Last time he sangot this, Harry gave him a perfect score but now he is raising it to the next level. Let's watch. Trent, dressed in black jeans and jacket and a grey shirt, captivates the audience with this song and the soft lighting adds to the mood. When he finishes, there is loud applause and standing ovations. Harry tells Trent he should be proud of that while the applause continues, tears in his eyes. Harry says if he was going to do anything to make this the most difficult decision on American Idol, he just did it.

Keith says maybe he just made it a real easy decision. That was phenomenal. His transition at each point of the song was so gorgeous, it was magnificent to hear. Jen, who is teary eyed, says she saw something special about him in the beginning. She knew he'd be in the final 2 and she couldn't be more proud. It's up to America now but he was incredible. Trent shows them a book where he has recorded everything the judges have ever said to him. The judges think that is incredible.

La'Porsha is up for the final time tonight. She is singing the song 'Diamonds' once again and is wearing a shimmering black gown. La'Porsha starts to cry when the song is done as she receives never ending applause and chanting. Keith says she did a beautiful job. Jen says they watched her have so much control and composure during the competition and they know how much effort it is and how beautifully she is doing it. Jen can't wait for one day to go to a show of hers and see her let loose. Harry says Jen can ride with him. He has nothing else to say except that was incredible. He asks her who the 'you' in the song is. Her baby, she answers without hesitation.

La'Porsha and Trent come together on stage and Ryan asks them to give a message to their fans. La'Porsha thanks everyone so muche for giving her an opportunity and a way up. A lot of people say she inspired them but everyone has inspired her so much. Trent says the fans gave him the opportunity to do something he never thought to do in his life.

America, it's now up to you. Who will be the next American Idol? It's been a great season, great show, great run. Thanks to the judges. Thank you Scott Borchetta. Thank you to Ricky Minor and the band! Don't miss the series finale tomorrow night. It's 2 hours and full of surprises! Good night!

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American Idol Season 15 - Finale Night Results


President Barak Obama: Congratulations to everyone at American Idol on an incredible 15 season run.  This show transformed television.  It inspired young artists and captivated audiences across the country. And it taught America what it means to be pitchy.  American Idol has achieved something else as well.  For over a decade, this show has motivated millions of young Americans to vote.  Often.  And with enthusiasm. 


We should do the same in our lives as citizens of this country which we love.  Voting is the most fundamental and sacred right of our democracy. I believe it should be almost as easy as as voting on American Idol.  And we're working on that.  But when we choose not vote, we surrender that right. We surrender our voice to someone else.  Not all of us can sing like Kelly Clarkson.  But all of our voices matter.  This show reached historic heights not only because of American's watched it, but because you participated in its success.  And the same is true of America.  

We reach our full potential when every American participates.  So go to vote.gov and register to vote today (unless you're Canadian).  

La'Porsha opens singing One Voice (Barry Manilow).  The camera pulls back to show Trent Harmon and Dalton Rappattoni.  Then we see the rest of the Top 12.  Then the rest of the Top 20.  Then former Idol winners and contestants, all dressed in white, return one final time to the American Idol stage.  All singing in One Voice.

Ladies & Gentlemen, live from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, welcome to the Season 15 Finale of American Idol.  Please welcome your host, Ryan Seacrest!

It will be an epic night tonight with the results you've been waiting for...  And Brian Dunkleman, continues the announcer.  Ryan looks state left, confused.  Season One's co-host Brian Dunkleman walks onstage, confusing anyone who first started watching Idol in Season 2.  It's good to see you, Ryan says.  How's it goin', Brian says.  

Well, well sell, Seacrest, says Dunkleman, looks like after tonight, you're going to be out of a job.  And trust me, nobody knows the pain of life without Idol more than me.  Don't worry, being unemployed is not that bad.  Actually, Seacrest says, I have a radio gig and other stuff going on.  That's what I said too, Dunkleman says.

What brings you here tonight?  I just wanted to stop by and congratulate the show for struggling along another 14 seasons without me.  Ryan offers some pity applause.  The half of the audience who knows who this is applauds too.  And because, Ryan, there's something I've been waiting to say to you for a very long time now.  Ryan braces himself.  Uh Oh.  

You've done an amazing job hosting the show all these years, Brian tells Ryan, I congratulate you on all your success.  They hug it out.  Brian Dunkleman, friends, Ryan says, since you're here, why don't you bring out our judges?  I got nowhere else to go, Brian jokes.  

Ladies & Gentlemen, please welcome your judges, Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and Jennifer Lopez!

Where did the years go? I can't believe it's our last night at the Dolby.  A quick note - we're on the air an extra 6 minutes tonight for the results, so plan accordingly.  Look at this crowd, 3500 FANatics here.  Who is here for La'Porsha?  Who's here for Trent?  It's going to be a great night.  Thank you to Simon Fuller, ladies & gentlemen.  

We're going to kick it off with the first ever finalist duet by Justin & Kelly on that very stage 14 years ago, with Marvin Gaye's It Takes Two, put your hands together for La'Porsha & Trent!

OMG, It's Idol 15 years, says Steven Tyler, Judge Seasons 10 &11, just like Niagara Falls - untamed power, giving kids a chance to reach their glory.  Just like me, sitting next to J-Lo.  And Randy, what a pip.  Ryan, beautiful, I loved those 2 years.  Singers don't fade away, they just keep coming back for more and that's the way it was.


Give it up for our mentor, Scott Borschetta with Trent Harmon and La'Porsha Renae.  They are both excited and nervous.  Scott says Jennifer was right when she called this finale a couple weeks ago, two big voices and I couldn't be happier.  Ryan says we're going to celebrate so many of the stars who appeared on this stage, plus all the American Idol winners plus many of our judges will perform.

First up, judge Kara Dioguardi, Seasons 8-9, singing Sober (Pink).

Next we have Colton Dixon, Season 11, singing his original song, Through All Of It.  He's followed by Justin Guarini (Season 1) and Jordin Sparks (Season 6 Winner), singing her original song, No Air.

We continue with Season 2's Kimberly Locke, singing her original, 8th World Wonder.  She's joined onstage by Jordin and a pink haired woman I don't recognize, and Tamyra Gray (Season 1), singing Girl Crush (Little Big Town).  

Pink Hair is identified as Allison Iraheta (Season 8), singing No No No (Beirut).  They joined by a bunch of guys including Season 9's Larry Platt, singing Pants On The Ground.  Then Season 10's Pia Toscano performs All By Myself (Celine Dion).  

Tonight, either La'Porsha or Trent becomes your winner, but the original winner can't be with us tonight for a very good reason.  Kelly Clarkson is about to have her baby.  Good luck, Kelly.  She was on the show a couple weeks ago with her emotional performance of Piece By Piece and we asked her to do something very special for tonight, and here it is.  

Singing her song Miss Independent, a VERY pregnant Season 1 Winner Kelly Clarkson (taped previously), seguing into a medley of Since U Been Gone, Because Of You, Walk Away, My Life Would Suck Without You, Already Gone, Don't You Wanna Stay, Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), Heartbeat Song, and A Moment Like Like This.  For this final song, the band drops out, the audience goes silent and she sings A Capella.  

Over the seasons we've brought on some of the biggest names in rock and our contestants have proven they can hold their own. So please welcome our Idol rockers: Bo Bice (Season 4), singing Vehicle (Ides of March), Celeb Johnson (Season 13), singing Hard To Handle (Otis Redding) with Constantine Maroulis (Season 4) and James Durbin (Season 10).  

Chris Daughtry (Season 5) comes out to sing his original song, Torches.  Durbin is sliding across the stage as the rockers sing Tobacco Road (The Animals).  

Ladies & Gentlemen, Keith Urban, playing the electric guitar for Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, with Karrie Underwood (Season 4 Winner)!  

This Carrie Underwood is no country mouse.  


Now we've got even more country for you, as we celebrate stars who've appeared on our show, and some of the ones we've created along the way.  And here they are.  Diana Degarmo (Season 3), singing You Belong With Me (Taylor Swift), joined by Skylar Laine (Season 11), Kree Harrison (Season 12).  

Bucky Covington (Season 5), Ace Young (Season 5) and Constantine Maroulis (Season 4) come out to sing Storm Warning (Hunter Hayes).  Lauren Alaina (Season 10) and Kellie Pickler (Season 5) come on to sing Done (The Band Perry).  Season 10 Winner Scotty McCreery strides on stage, singing Papa Loved Mama (Garth Brooks).  The 9 former Idols clap their hands and sing Pavement Ends (Little Big Town).  

Hey Idol, says Season 12 judge Nicki Minaj, I hope you have a magical finale tonight, and to the contestants, great job this season and to everyone at home watching, Luv ya!

Music.  It's like love.  It's hard to define, but we know it when we feel it.  It lifts us up.  It moves us.  It brings us together.  It's the reason we're all here tonight.  Music can inspire us to dream big dreams and do great things.  Music is the reason American Idol raised $185 million for children in undeserved communities, both here in America and overseas with Idol Gives Back. Music is also the reason behind my favorite cause, The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, which provide state-of-the-art instruction for kids in the heart of the 9th ward in New Orleans, one of the most devastated neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina. -- Harry Connick Jr.

We live in a wonderful world, Harry continues live, a world worth singing about and here to sing with me tonight is an incredible young lady from my home town of New Orleans, a student from The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, Marley Fletcher.  Seated on the stage while images of Idol, they sing What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) while images from Idol Gives Back play on the video wall.

Singers depend on two things, Harry says, lyrics and melody.  If a singer has a story to tell, and the perfect notes to attach to each word, there's no place that singer would rather be than right here on center stage.  Here now are some of the best singers American Idol has discovered, singing great songs with some of the best musicians in the world.

Katharine McPhee (Season 5) and Casey James (Season 9) sing Need You Now (Lady Antebellum) to a piano accompaniment.  Carly Smithson (Season 7), singing Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton), accompanied by harp.  Clay Aiken (Season 2) sings You Fill Up My Senses (JohN Denver), accompanied by oboe.  Amber Holcomb (Season 12) and Season 2 winner, Ruben Studdard sing Here, There and Everywhere (The Beatles), accompanied by bass guitar.  

Jessica Sanchez (Season 11) sings The Prayer (Celine Dion) solo.  The lights come up to show the other Idols and their musical accompaniment, singing and playing as she delivers a tender, emotional, and sentimental blessing for the show to close out the medley.

In less than an hour, either La'Porsha or Trent will be named the next American Idol, but right now, as Randy Jackson would say, we got a hot one for ya!  It's her final performance on the Idol stage, and she is not going quietly. Direct from her All I Have residency at Planet Hollywood in Vegas, featuring her brand new single, Ain't Your Mamma, give it up for the incomparable, sensational Jennifer Lopez!

Jennifer drops the maid outfit and puts on her flamingo for Let's Get Loud (Gloria Estefan).  A third costume change sheds more clothing as she shakes her booty for the heart-pounding climax.

We may have lost the results in a cloud of purple feathers a second ago, Ryan jokes, but how 'bout J-Lo?  Dunk, you enjoying the show? You're doing great, buddy, Dunkleman says.  Thanks, bro, I appreciate the critique.  I don't know if it's forced or Botox, but Brian seems to have a grin frozen on his face all night.  

Team Harmon.  Trent is sitting in the audience with his parents.  He may be the next American Idol.  Mom says it's absolutely unreal, this is like a dream come true.  Trent recalls Season 3, he was 11 or 12, Fantasia won that season, and I remember having a Sony Walkman and listening to songs from that season.  Three Divas.  Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia both auditioned in Atlanta.  

Ladies & gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, LaToya London (Season 3), Fantasia (Season 3 Winner) and Jennifer Hudson (Season 3), singing Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel).  Jennifer sings her song Remember The Music (Empire).  

Out comes Brandon Rogers (Season 6), singing Ain't To Proud To Beg (The Temptations), along with Season 14's Clark Beckham, Season 3's George Huff, Season 8's Danny Goeky and Season 5's Elliott Yamin.  

Fantasia returns with her original song, Ugly.  LaToya returns along with Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks to sing I Knew You Were Waiting (Aretha Franklin & George Michael).  Joshua Ledet (Season 11) announces It's a Man's Man's World (James Brown), taking off his jacket as he smoulders and skats on stage.  

Joshua runs off stage as a whole host of Idols ascend on a raised platform and come in from the side of the stage.  They are singing Joy To The World, led by Candice Glover (Season 12) and Melinda Doolittle (Season 6).  It's an Idol revival that has everyone's heart thumping.

Soon we'll find out if La'Porsha or Trent gets the glory.  But these next 5 guys were all named the American Idol.  Tonight, they treat us to a tribute to David Bowie.  With green lasers crisscrossing the Dolby Theater, Phillip Phillips (Season 11), Lee DeWyze (Season 9), Nick Fradiani (Season 14), David Cook (Season 7) and Kris Allen (Season 8) sing Starman, Rebel Rebel and Jean Genie.

All right, we've got La'Porsha's family, La'Porsha's mom with baby Nayalee Keya dressed in white with her noise dampeners on.  So, Mom, are you nervous? You could be the next America Idol.  Nayalee takes the microphone from Ryan, but she's sucking on a pacifier so she can't say anything.  You're a natural, Ryan coos.  She could be the next American Idol, he says, what do you think? I'm so excited, mom says, very nervous, so excited to watch her dreams come true.  

We're going to back where it all started, 15 seasons ago, it's gone by very fast.  Let that be a lesson to you, he tells Nayalee, who is stealing the show, refusing to let Ryan get his microphone back, but it was also about having a lot of fun.  Take a look at this.  

Oh man, I'm going to miss this, Ryan says.  Please welcome Randy Jackson (judge, seasons 1-12) and Paula Abdul (judge, Seasons 1-8)!  Good to see you guys, welcome back!  

We wouldn't miss this for the world, Paula says. We're here for a very special reason, you've been the only one who's lasted the whole run of 15 years.  That's true, Randy says. I'd like to stick around, Ryan says.  You've done a magnificent job, Paula says, and we think you deserve something special.  For once, Ryan is speechless.

I know how much you really love saying THIS is American Idol!  That was good, Paula, Randy says, and This American Idol is for you, Ryan.  The Season 15 runner ups come out with an American Idol sign mounted on a stand.  That is the coolest thing, Ryan says.  Do you know where you're going to place it, Paula asks of the 10' long sign?  The night stand, he guesses.  

Thinking back, Paula, what has been one of your favorite memories of the whole show? Besides the obvious incredible talent that came out of the show, probably hitting Simon.  He did drive us all a little crazy, Ryan acknowledges, like how he would say (in British accent), "well, being honest..."

Simon Cowell walks out from backstage behind the 3.  As the audience screams, Ryan says, he can't be with us tonight, so...  Ryan turns around to see what they are screaming about and does a double-take - it appears Production pulled a fast one on the tenured host, as well as Paula and Randy.

Simon Cowell (judge, Seasons 1-9) hugs Paula, Randy and Ryan.  How are you, he asks? Well obviously we were going to talk about how much we missed you, says Paula, and why you didn't show up...   And you were supposed to be here, Randy adds.  Of course we should have known better, Paula admits.  We should have known better, Randy agrees.  BTW, Ryan says, you look much younger in person.  

I just thought this would be a good opportune on behalf of myself, Randy, Ryan or Paula to apologize, Simon says, over the years for being so mean to the contestants when we were trying to be nurturing, helpful, you were really horrible and I think now is the time to apologize to America.  Fair point, Randy says.  Unbelievable, Paula says.

Guilty as charged, Paula confesses, Not.  We apologize for her, Simon says, and I'd like to say on behalf of us, thank you America for inviting us into your homes, to the contestants, to Fox for actually putting this on air.  For you guys (Randy and Paula) being my best friends now, I'm actually going to miss you.  We love you too, Randy says.  This is an amazing journey, Paula says.  I know you love the word "Journey."  

But like I said, Simon continues, without the fans there would be no show.  To the finalists tonight, enjoy yourselves.  Remember the fans who voted for you, and I'm feeling quite emotional now.  We are too, Paula agrees.  It's that time, Randy says.  You as the panel have been doing a wonderful job, Paula says to the current judges, Keith, Jennifer and Harry.  We love you guys, Randy says.  Almost too good, Simon jokes.  

I have to say,  he is so right, and honestly, thank you, Ryan says to the original judges, you guys are the best.  We'll always love you.  Ladies and gentlemen, the original panel.  Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and the legendary Simon Cowell!

I hope there are no more surprises, Ryan says, regaining control of the show he's led for a decade-and-a-half, but some surprises are worth waiting for.  The music starts playing as Simon, Paul, and Randy walk off the stage: She Bangs, She Bangs - it's William Hung!  

Another twist Ryan was kept out of the loop on, he walks around totally lost before finally giving in and joining William in the performance.  

Hi, American Idol says Ellen DeGeneres (judge, Season 9), it's me, another American Idol, Ellen.  Hi.  Boy, I can't believe this is your final episode, you've made so many dreams come true.  I feel lucky to have been a part of it.  I wish I could be there, but Waze is telling me it's going to take 25 minutes, so.  

Without y'all, we would not have discovered so much great music, like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler, and you also introduced us to the subtle outline of Simon Cowell's nipples.  Congratulations on an amazing show, and in the words of Kelly Clarkson, my life would suck without you.

This program has made music video stars our of our contestants, courtesy of our friends at Ford.  They have been a huge part of this show ever since we started back in 2002, so let's go back and look at a few of your favorite Idols in some classic Ford video moments.

There is some history.  Our finalists are with us now, did you enjoy shooting those videos?  Yes, Trent and La'Porsha both say, dutifully.  And, Ryan says, pulling out a pair of fobs, I've got two keys for you, one each, your very own 2017 Ford Fusion!

Now, you guys ready?  We're thrilled to bring out a young lady who took it all back in Season 4, but has gone on to become one of the most iconic names in music.  She's in the middle of a world-wide tour, Storyteller, ladies and gentlemen, the on, the only, Carrie Underwood, singing Something In The Water!

Oh boy, here we go, welcome back to the Dolby.  I've done this 14 times, and the atmosphere has never been more emotionally charged than tonight.  We're going to get to the business right here, just got the envelope from Telescope, and thank you to our President for his message earlier, like he said, every single vote counts.

And now we find out what you decided.  La'Porsha, Trent, you both are amazing. We're so happy you're here.  Congratulations and good luck.  Kieren, for the last time, dim the lights, here we go.

After the nationwide vote, the winner of American Idol Season 15 is...   Trent Harmon!

Trent Harmon wins tonight and that means La'Porsha is our Runner Up.  La'Porsha takes Trent into her embrace.  He is sobbing as they excahnge words only they will ever know.

Are you all right, Ryan asks Trent?  I worked so hard, he says through the tears, I worked so hard and I know I have a God-given ability but I didn't want to take it for granted.  I wanted to work so, so hard, and she (La'Porsha) pushed me to do it.  Let's here it for La'Porsha Renae, ladies & gentlemen, Ryan says, one of the greatest.

You read to sing, Ryan asks Trent, you gotta do it as our winner.  Ladies & gentlemen, for the first singing as the winner of American Idol, here is Falling from Trent Harmon!

He's trying to sing and beckons the other idols to come out on stage with him to sing the chorus together. Trent's family has joined the judges at their table for a front-row view.  Trent has regained his composure and is in performance mode, as he gets slaps on the back and kisses on the cheek.  

Confetti shoots out into the theater and for a moment Trent is lost behind a sea of red, white and blue paper as he hits his (now) trademark falsetto.  Thank you, God, he exclaims as he finishes, then falls to a knee as the Idol trophy (a microphone) is handed to him.

We have had some incredible on this show, Ryan shouts over the celebration as the credits roll, like that.  Whether it's the stars we created or the judges behind the desk, the real reason our lives have changed forever is you at home.  We know that, we appreciate that, and one more time, this is so tough, we say to you from Hollywood, Good night, America.  Ryan takes a deep breath, then adds, For now.

Morty's TV has been covering American Idol live (mostly) since Season 9 and I would personally like to thank all of you for following us for each performance and results show.  With out your likes, favorites, shares, retweets and comments, we would have no purpose.  

The series is over, but our American Idol forum lives on in the Morty's TV Fan Forums at http://www.tvfanforums.net/index.php?/forum/7-american-idol/. Please visit and tell us what you thought of the show.  For now, from the Morty's TV Social Network Publishing Hub, Fuskie Out.



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