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American Idol 15 Wrap-Up: 25 Best Performances

To the obligatory count: 3 months. 24 episodes. 102 live performances. Final season. That's right, another season in the history books and like old tradition I compiled a list of the most memorable live performances up to the Finale.

Season 15 was a fast one as American Idol had no plans of extending it further so we ended up with a season short by two months. That said, the season was still able to deliver showstopping performances, which made this a little hard to rank. But yes, I did my very best!

Anyway, just like many other lists or countdowns, this one is extremely biased. It's based on personal preferences. There will probably be some performances that are nowhere to be found on your list that may be as high as 10 or something on here - actually I guarantee it. But please respond maturely, flames don't make me particularly happy.

SEASON 9 Best Performances
SEASON 10 Best Performances
SEASON 11 Best Performances
SEASON 12 Best Performances
SEASON 13 Best Performances
SEASON 14 Best Performances

Honorable Mentions!

Dancing In The Dark
Dalton Rapattoni
Top 3

I Surrender
Sonika Vaid
Top 14

Hello
La'Porsha Renae
Top 3

You Are So Beautiful
MacKenzie Bourg
Top 6

Tennessee Whiskey
Trent Harmon
Top 3


Here are the TOP 25 Best Live Performances of Season 15:

25. True Colors
Jenn Blosil
Top 14

No, her vocals weren't perfect, but the intensity and emotional deft carried this performance. There was just something about the way Jenn told her story that had me entranced. Was it the glittered eyebrows? I'm not so sure, but she felt it and she brought me with her. It was a great interpretation of this classic song - glitters and all.

24. Angel
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Top 24

I inexplicably written her off coming into the semifinals as I thought she had a strong competition with Emily Brooke, but Top 24 night changed everything. This was pretty sublime. Sure, there were some vocal issues here and there, but the solemn nature of her presentation complemented by her playing the harp provided some depth and seriousness that I haven't seen from her. I've always been a big fan of a restrained performance, and she just brought it. Who knew?

23. Unconditionally
Olivia Rox
Top 10

That opening verse was just downright divine! Really. The way she took her time with the words and tastefully transitioned her vocals was quite impressive. I thought she was also in command of that stage especially when the energy ramped up and the vocal dynamics was different and interesting. Diction was a slight issue, but it didn't take me out of the performance.

22. Hallelujah
MacKenzie Bourg
Top 3

Quite frankly, I prefer MacKenzie Bourg over Dalton Rapattoni - based solely on their complete body of work this season - but I was happy that MacKenzie went out not only with one of his best performances this season but one of the most mature and well-rounded solo performances of that evening. His vocals were honest and simple and despite his vocal limitation, he made the song work for his voice. Gorgeous.

21. Love Yourself
Avalon Young
Top 24

There's a certain unexplainable something a contestant should possess to be a star and I genuinely think Avalon has it in spades. I thought the song choice was genius, she continued her growth arc with a more consistent grasp on pitch and a tone that's recognizably her, and the swagger was still ever present in her interpretation of the song. I would caution her to watch out on the nasal quality of her vocals as it may eventually annoy the audience, but at that time, she's golden.

20. Glory
La'Porsha Renae
Top 3

Glory was another inspired song choice, and while I'm not sure if I wanted the drums to overpower parts of her performance, La'Porsha soulful tone reigned supreme over the rest of the solo performances during this round. This was downright fantastic! It was packed full of emotion and the song rose and fell perfectly with some beautiful vocal moments.

19. Rebel Yell
Dalton Rapattoni
Top 24

Rebel Yell was an informed song choice. The arrangement fit his style like a glove, he was confident, he looked like a star, and he brought an interesting and different energy to the show. I thought the expressive quality of his eyes can't also be ignored as they tell a story and I somehow can read them so well. He is absolutely ready to move on to the next round. This was his first great step and it was a warning shot across everyone.

18. Safe and Sound
Sonika Vaid
Top 24

Some complained that she looked tentative as hell, but there's something incredibly heartfelt about her interpretation. The power of this song is in its lyrical simplicity and Sonika was smart enough to use it to her advantage. I thought her vocals were divine with some understated melodic choices that made it all the more gorgeous. She created a nice little vocal moment that allowed her to stand apart of the rest of the finalists that week.

17. Halo
La'Porsha Renae
Top 8

Drama! Drama! Drama! The build up was sensational, there was a superb emotional arc and intensity in a matter of two minutes, and her vocals were terrific. She did hit a couple of weirdly placed runs, but it didn't matter. I was sold. She connected with the song and didn't look back. La'Porsha was an interesting contestant this season, and I was curious to see if America embraces a woman whose hair is two stories high. Ha.

16. Rest High On That Mountain
Tristan McIntosh
Top 8

This was, to put it simply, a genius song choice for Tristan as she delivered a vulnerable and beautiful version of Rest High On That Mountain. The solemn nature of the song practically required her to show a depth and seriousness we haven't been privy to since her audition and she really connected with the lyrics in a way that felt like it was a start of something big.

15. When A Man Loves A Woman
Trent Harmon
Top 8

Yes, he came off a tad muted in parts, but he delivered some outstanding vocal moments with When A Man Loves A Woman. His rich soulful voice soared superbly, there was a great ease to him that's riveting to watch, and there's a sense of conviction and determination in this performance that's unlike anything I've seen from him this season. If he will be smart enough to find and pick songs that will play to his strengths, he will be golden.

14. Come Together
La'Porsha Renae
Top 6

La'Porsha pulled the Candice Glover strategy and it worked wonders for her. Come Together gave her the opportunity to expand out of her comfort zone. She was playful, she was sassy, and she easily delivered the best vocal performance of the night. I was actually floored by her technique and her phrasing was mostly brilliant. She's certainly in a comfortable groove in the competition and this further sealed her status as the frontrunner.

13. Bird Set Free
Dalton Rapattoni
Top 4

Dalton delivered a powerful emotional performance and it was quite riveting. Sure, the vocals were imperfect, but it was restrained, pleading, and a strong display of his ability to emote the lyrics of a song. More than anything, I thought the intensity carried the performance and made it what it was. He surprised me this week and hands down, his best performance on the show.

12. Yo (Excuse Me)
Avalon Young
Top 14

There was something so light and enjoyable about Avalon's performance that I couldn't help but smile. I admit, the song choice may be polarizing the greater demo of the show, but you just can't disregard the incredible charisma and rhythm of this girl. Not to mention we could really see a marketable contemporary artist with her.

11. Ready For Love
La'Porsha Renae
Top 5

La'Porsha had a beautiful moment this evening with her performance of Ready For Love. The voice was pitch perfect and her phrasing oozed natural ability. She has always been a very dependable vocalist and really had a great chance of winning this season. I figured that if she can keep up the momentum for a couple more weeks, her fan base could be very powerful and actually beat some of the strong male competitors.

10. Billie Jean
MacKenzie Bourg
Top 5

This was, by far, one of MacKenzie's best performances on the show and turned him into a legitimate force. Sure, I cringed initially at the song choice - David Cook owned this song choice 8 years ago - but Billie Jean worked perfectly for him and will probably help him in the long run. There was confidence and flavor to this performance, the vocal dynamics were superb, and I felt that he had made a genuine connection to the material.

09. Simple Man
Trent Harmon
Top 5

Trent managed to up his game even more during this week and deliver an unbelievably vulnerable and beautiful version of this classic. He really connected with the lyrics in a way that felt like it was the start of something big and his vocal control was impeccable. Add to that the modesty in his post-performance interview that was worth another million votes and he's basically golden. Trent's momentum continued here and if there was one person who can stop La'Porsha Renae.. it's Trent Harmon.

08. Earned It
Avalon Young
Top 8

She chose a solid contemporary song, delivered a vocally engaging performance, and showcased possibly one of the best lyrical interpretations we've seen this season. The arrangement was gorgeous, straightforward, and book-ended with spot on vocal runs. Quite frankly, I'm always interested to see what Avalon does on that stage since she is a contestant who is, arguably, fighting her survival week to week. I don't get the feeling that she has thousands of dedicated fans, but I digress.

07. Sharp Dressed Man
Trent Harmon
Top 4

This was that week where Trent started surging as he made another break in front of the pack. I seriously loved his interpretation of this classic. He showcased creativity in the arrangement, the energy was palpable, his vocals were outstandingly on point, and it was an all around total rockstar performance that oozed charisma. I can see it. Trent is hungry for the win and I bet he's absolutely sick and tired of being in La'Porsha's shadow. Haha. He looked like an absolutely heavy hitter with this performance and I love it.

06. No More Drama
La'Porsha Renae
Top 5

La'Porsha is a vocal juggernaut and a force to be reckoned with. Seriously. No More Drama was probably one of her finest moments on this show and she brought a lot of confidence and energy to the stage without losing her vocals. She's ferocious, powerful, and violently talented. See, I don't care if this farewell season isn't up to everyone's standard because it just takes one contestant to prove how important this program is. Bravo, La'Porsha!

05. Roses
MacKenzie Bourg
Top 14

This was a total rockstar performance that oozed charisma. His ability to control his voice and seamlessly transition from chest to head voice just pulled me into a completely different world. Roses allowed him to break out vocally and show different dynamic changes that aren't always present. This was a creative and interesting original tune and clearly one of the best of the season.

04. Waiting Game
Trent Harmon
Top 3

Beautiful. Natural. Effortless. This was a gorgeous performance and possibly the best pure vocal we've heard from Trent since the beginning of the competition. The affectations were dialed back and the vibrato was simplified. The vocal choices were also serene and subdued and the way he manipulated each note like a sculptor was impressive. Trent delivered, once again, a very vulnerable and satisfying performance and he was note perfect in his execution. This would've been THE perfect coronation song for Trent.

03. Bring Me To Life
Sonika Vaid
Top 10

For once, Sonika bounded onto that stage with some serious energy and a clear need to prove something. Bring Me To Life was a strong step out of her comfort zone and it was glorious. There was drama, strong vocal elements, and an epic battle with the train of her dress. Ha. But seriously, this put her strengths on full display, she sounded contemporary and came off as a true dark horse in the making.

02. Diamonds
La'Porsha Renae
Top 10

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: La'Porsha owned this performance! It was the best she's ever been. She's a true front runner and she has no problem showing it. The arrangement was genius, the way her vocals navigated those intricate runs were outstanding, and it was impressive for her to transform a song with limited melody to a total vocal masterclass. La'Porsha is so good and so dependable that contestants dread following her. How do you follow that?

01. Chandelier
Trent Harmon
Top 4

Effortless. Exquisite. Vocal. The control he has over his instrument was second to none in this competition and the choice of Chandelier was risky though smart thing to do since this showed a bit more texture and lyrical connection. There was something about him tonight that had me entranced. He stirred something emotionally in me that I've never felt when I heard this song before. It was like I was hearing the lyrics for the first time and it proved that he's a fantastic interpreter. This was an impeccable contrast to his first performance and he certainly delivered the best of both worlds. Trent was on a rare form that night.



Thank you everyone for the fantastic 9 years of blogging American Idol. It was a blast!
American Idol 15 Wrap-Up: 25 Best Performances Reviewed by DAM on 8:00 PM Rating: 5

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