Photo Credit: StarPulse
This is my last week of watching reality TV. After 15 seasons, American Idol, with Ryan Seacrest as host, is going off the air. I’ve only watched a handful of those seasons, but somehow, while living overseas, I watched Kelly Clarkson win the competition on Season 1. She had an incredible voice and stage presence then, and has only gotten better.
Why do I still watch Idol when I can? OK, first there is the whole premise of the show – giving talented young people this wild opportunity to have stardom within their grasp. All the grooming, the coaching, the stretching of a reality show. I’m sure there is tons of stuff behind the scenes that I wouldn’t love…but it’s fascinating to watch these young performers deal with the pressures, make friends, and hone their craft.
Then there’s the panel of judges – Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., and Jennifer Lopez. They’re gorgeous, brilliantly talented, and smart. It’s fun to watch them, except this year it was a tad painful. This was their last year on American Idol, and there was an emotional undercurrent that surfaced occasionally. Sometimes testy, but most of the time, sentimental and sweet. I will miss them.Photo Credit: Hide.Me
Although the show’s system of selecting finalists is through social media voting, I am sure the judges influence that voting. Just like the blogger for AmericanIdolNet, I started picking how the Top 10 ranked based on the judges’ comments and enthusiasm or lack thereof. Our picks were very similar. Photo Credit: AmericanIdolNet
From the Top 24 (image at top of post) through to the last, the eliminations have been painful. Really lovely, gifted young singers/musicians. They all will carve out some measure of success given their crazy talent and winsomeness.
This week is the finale week. Three evenings of American Idol – from a special retrospective on all 15 years of the show, to the final competition between the Top 3, to the finale (when the winner of American Idol 2016 is revealed and the show has its last huge last hurrah).
I will be watching all three.
The remaining finalists in contention are all great performers. If you haven’t been keeping up with Idol, let me tell you just a bit about them.
Dalton Rapattoni is a vocal coach in Texas. He gets hair cut and colored at his grandmother’s beauty salon. Dalton has these puppy-dog eyes, a shy smile, and such a voice! On the last episode, he was sure he was going to be cut (even had written with marker on his hands the expressions: “I’m OK” and “It’s alright”). He didn’t get cut. Less than a minute later, he had to compose himself and perform God Only Knows (BeachBoys). This kid has such heart! Here’s the video from that performance:
Trent Harmon works in his family’s restaurant (with produce straight from their Mississippi farm). He has a killer voice with a unique and appealing quality (range and vibrato). Sick with mono early in the competition and without his family with him, he has toughed it out right to the end with huge support from the judges…which he deserves. Listen to him sing….wow!
Then there is La’Porsha Renae. Also from Mississippi, this 22y/o single mom of an adorable daughter is a powerhouse singer. Unless some voting fluke happens, she will be the last American Idol. All three of these finalists are extraordinary, but La’Porsha is the one…I believe. Two of her songs are in the videos below. She cries at the end of both (which didn’t happen with other songs, just so you know) – the first time, I think she was overwhelmed by the support of the audience; the second time, because it was a powerful benediction to her short marriage to an abusive husband. She has so much class….and this voice…and the hair? Hers, too.
That’s all the words I have…except for wanting to close with the video of Kelly Clarkson singing her latest “Piece by Piece” on American Idol. I actually love this live version much more than her official video. She tells the story of her dad leaving her family when she was 6 y/o. He left and didn’t look back. Interwoven in this incredible song is also a salute to her husband and the father of her daughter…a man who showed her how good a father could be. It’s beautiful…
So that’s my summary on this show…and why I watch. It’s a good season to end on…