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American Idol 15: Showcase Round

I had no plans of reviewing the showcase round as I have so much in my table right now, but due to insistent demands of DAM NATION's long time readers, here's some quick assessment of their performances during this round. They are not, for the most part, an indication of the people I want to be part of this year's Top 10, but I will leave it at that.

Oh, and yes, there were a couple of stunning performances and I'm positive that this will be a solid albeit short final season.

On with the show!

24. James VIII
Change The World
His affected vocals annoyed the crap out of me. I don't know. Maybe it's his way to stand out because, at this point, he's a clear cannon fodder that's hardly remarkable with something too stylized for Middle America. Just saying. 3

23. Gianna Isabella
I Still Believe
Yikes! Not sure if I should be more annoyed with her obnoxious mom or her shrill upper register. 4

22. Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Ring of Fire
What's working for Jeneve right now, besides her looking like Jesse from Toy Story, is that she has her own lane. There's no one else like her in this competition, and that will be her biggest advantage. Unfortunately, her recent performances were lackluster at best. Not sure if the novelty wore off quickly than I anticipated, but her take on Ring of Fire, though refreshing, I thought was incrdedibly disjointed. 4

21. Jordan Sasser
Love Runs Out
No matter how hard Jordan tries to come off as a genuinely nice guy, there's something about his personality that's rubbing people the wrong way. As for the singing, I thought Love Runs Out was fine if a bit strong and loud and somewhat hollow. I can't see myself rooting for this man anytime soon. Or maybe never? 4

20. Stephany Negrete
Girl On Fire
Look, Stephany can sing and she actually sounded good, but there's NOTHING remotely memorable about her. There's just something decidedly uninspired in all of her performances. 4.5

19. Thomas Stringfellow
Story of My Life
That hitch in his voice at the end of each line was so distinct that it's insanely distracting. I've been keeping an eye on this kid since his audition, but he needs to work on these little things. 5

18. Jenna Renae
Flat On The Floor
What was with the song choice? Jenna sounded lovely during her audition and to see her work the stage seemed a bit forced for me. The whole performance just didn't seem authentic. I'm not saying she can't perform anything other than weepy ballads, but it was just too extreme that the difference was a little jarring. 5.5

17. Amelia Eisenhauer
New York State of Mind
While this was a pretty nice effort - her vocals were mostly on point - but I didn't think it's enough for her to stand out in a sea of talented artists. I appreciated the idea to bring a violin into the mix, but that's just about it. 5.5

16. Tristan McIntosh
Eh. For the hype Tristan was getting, this was disturbingly underwhelming. 6

15. Adam Lasher
Some may find Adam's arrangement of Stay atrocious, but I actually dig the tempo he put into the song. It's polarizing, but at least, he sounded good doing it. Plus, he actually looked comfortable on that big stage. 6

14. Manny Torres
Master Blaster
Manny has been outstandingly consistent from Day 1 until the Showcase Round. His vocals were on point despite the rapid fire delivery of the words, his sense of rhythm was impeccable, and the energy was just admirable. If only the song choice matched his potential, I would've ranked him a lot higher than this. 6.5

13. Shelbie Zora
Tackling Barracuda was already a tall order on its own, but to inhabit the with enough swagger and attitude is a totally different story. Fortunately, Shelbie did deliver. Her big voice had enough power to support the song, she's feisty, and she worked that stage like no other. 7

12. Dalton Rapattoni
It's Gonna Be
Quite frankly, his version of It's Gonna Be was a tad theatrical and I wasn't as blown away as I initially expected. I thought his phrasing choices were odd and the whole presentation felt too languid. Still, the song choice came out of left field that it was pretty exciting and I'd rather have that than another competent version of an overdone song. 7

11. La'Porsha Renae
The House of the Rising Sun
.. and yes, another overdone song. If La'Porsha didn't perform this with enough horsepower, I would've ranked this a little lower, but the sheer strength of her vocals carried this performance to this spot. There's no denying that she can sing circles around half of the finalists, but she needs to do something different or she'll be highly predictable in the next coming weeks. 7.5

10. Trent Harmon
Tiny Dancer
Trent, without a doubt, is a fantastic singer and while the song wasn't completely enthralling, I thought he handled it really well. His vocals were on point and I heard a different side of his voice that's also quite appealing. I would've liked a more controlled vibrato and maybe limit the face pulling, but other than that, he's pretty golden. 8

09. Lee Jean
Make It Rain
I was able to come around Lee Jean. I remember giving him a ridiculously low score when he auditioned, but this was actually very good. Not sure if I'm just grading him on a curve given how low my expectation was with him, but the soulful side of this kid's voice was on point. The shushing of the crowd was a bit of a turn off, but I digress. 8

08. Sonika Vaid
I Surrender
The sound of Sonika's voice is like butter! Yes, she could've picked a more contemporary song - other than Ariana Grande - but I Surrender actually proved that she has a strong upper register backed by her effortless tone. Simply gorgeous. 8

07. Emily Brooke
So Small
Brilliant song choice. Emily's tone was a perfect match to the song and she delivered it with an emotional deft that's rare for her age. She might actually one of my favorite country singers to come out of American Idol. Seriously. I just gravitate to her. 8

06. Olivia Rox
Love Somebody
The smiling pulled me off a bit from her performance, but vocally, this was terrific. She proved that she has the range to tackle any song, there's an artistic strength to her, and she's extremely likable. I'd be surprise if she does not end up in the Top 10. 8.5

05. CJ Johnson
One of the most underrated contestants this season. Parachute made a strong case for him as he filled the room with the sheer power of his voice complemented with just the right amount of energy and dynamics. He's a seasoned performer and I can't wait to hear more. 8.5

04. Kory Wheeler
Electric Love
There's something about Kory that reminds me so much of David Cook. With the right material and maybe luck, he could very well be the dark horse in the competition. Yes, we haven't seen much of him, but his Electric Love version proved how insanely good he is. It's understated, but consistent. If that makes sense. 8.5 

03. Avalon Young
Yo (Excuse Me Miss)
Different. Unpretentious. Impressive. 9

02. MacKenzie Bourg
Can't Help Falling In Love
I did not expect this! I was never a fan of MacKenzie during his The Voice stint, but this was quite striking. His phrasing was outstanding, his tone sounded divine, and the way he navigated that song was quite masterful. One to watch! 9.5

01. Jenn Blosil
The Hanging Tree
Jenn is my snowflake this year and her version of The Hanging Tree was everything I needed to hear this season. No, I don't think it'll be an easy road for someone like her to win American Idol, but she makes me happy. There's a musicality to her that's impressive and I actually liked the affectations to her vocals. She's like the younger sister of Sia. 9.5
American Idol 15: Showcase Round Reviewed by DAM on 3:09 AM Rating: 5

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