American Idol Season 15: February 18, 2016

Top 12 (Night 2) – Duets Round

Past Idol contestants Kellie Pickler (Season 5), Haley Reinhart (Season 10), Chris Daughtry (Season 5), Jordin Sparks (Season 6), and David Cook (Season 7) return to duet with the current contestants!

Amelia Eisenhauser with Kellie Pickler – “Suds In The Bucket” (Sara Evans)
This was a hell of a lot of fun. These two were adorable together, a perfect song choice. It’s a shame that this performance will likely get lost in the shuffle tonight. Amelia is very talented and her musicianship lent itself so well to this song.

Kory Wheeler with Haley Reinhart – “Bennie & The Jets” (Elton John)
Haley is one of my favorite Idols ever and I was so excited that she was returning to the Idol stage to sing her biggest Idol Moment ™ song! Can I be blamed for wishing she sang it solo? That said, I am curious what Jenn Blosil would have chosen to do if she had been picked to duet with Haley. Kory did a great job on the song and he was the correct choice to pick for the song. I loved their back-and-forth “Bennies” – if only the song could have been longer!

Lee Jean with Chris Daughtry – “Home” (Daughtry)
They made this look easy. It’s clear that Lee approached the song with a reverence for Daughtry which really showed in his careful and thoughtful delivery. I loved seeing the camaraderie between the two in the backstage scenes – this is such an important round to have early on. No one knows the Idol experience better than past Idols; they may even be more qualified than the judges to give advice. Daughtry came off as a stronger singer – no surprise – in this duet but Lee more than held his own.

CJ Johnson with David Cook – “The World I Know” (Collective Soul)
I loved CJ’s solid performance of “I’ll Be” last night, but put him up against one of my favorite Idols of all time….I’ve seen David Cook live in concert 3 times and I’m going to see him again next month. I don’t think there’s any way CJ will make it through to the next round.

Manny Tores with Jordin Sparks – “No Air” (Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown)
These two were perfectly paired. I love how Jordin encouraged Manny to feel the meaning behind the lyrics and challenged him to step up his performances. A thousand times improvement over his lukewarm Coldplay cover last night which was all flash, no fortitude. It’s clear that their performance was certainly aided by the fact that is perhaps the only song performed on duet night that was actually WRITTEN as a duet.

Jenn Blosil with Constantine Maroulis – “My Funny Valentine” (Frank Sinatra)
After Jenn’s trainwreck of Justin Bieber last night, I was worried for her duet with Constantine. This seemed like it would be a bizarre pairing, but it was so weird it worked (my life motto). It seemed like this performance was polarizing amongst the judges, which is exactly what I’d expect.

Tristan McIntosh with Kellie Pickler – “Best Days Of Your Life” (Kellie Pickler)
This duet was cute but forgettable. Tristan’s voice veered into frog territory and their voices seemed pretty mismatched. Tristan’s voice sounded too low for the song throughout. Overall, this performance was the worst of the night.

Olivia Rox with David Cook – “Light On” (David Cook)
I really wanted to love this duet. Alas, I kept thinking how much I’d rather hear David sing this solo. Olivia may have a powerful voice – or at least that’s what the producers keep telling us – but she couldn’t come close to David in this song.

Adam Lasher with Haley Reinhart – “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (Elvis Presley)
Hands down, the best duet of the night. Haley’s talent is out of this galaxy stellar. I was impressed with what a wonderful chemistry Adam and Haley shared. Completely disagree with the judges’ negative comments towards Adam both tonight and last night. It’s clear there’s no way he’s making it through based on their cold comments.

Dalton Rapattoni with Chris Daughtry – “Higher Ground” (Stevie Wonder)
Both Dalton and Chris brought an enormous amount of energy and attitude to this performance, but I was sort of left feeling like I watched karaoke. I think song choice was the culprit here; I’ve never been a fan of this Stevie Wonder song. Dalton is obviously an early judges’ favorite. I predict his Idol arc will end with a Top 7 finish and a “shock boot” elimination.

Trent Harmon with Jordin Sparks – “To Love Somebody” (The Bee Gees)
A beautiful, stunning duet! WOW. “To Love Somebody” has been done many times on Idol , most memorably by Clay Aiken and Joshua Ledet. I was a little worried this duet couldn’t compare to those past performances, but I clearly should not have doubted these two powerhouse vocalists. It will be a travesty if Trent does not go on to the Top 5. I just can’t put my finger on Trent and how incredible he is. He draws me in every time to listen to every note he hits.

Shelbie Z with Constantine Maroulis – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen)
It’s true: it’s next to impossible to shorten this song into less than 2 minutes and still get the full effect. This was a big moment for Constantine back on the show, because no one thought he could pull it off either. This time around, I was confused by the judges’ comments – this is a hell of a song to sing and Shelbie tackled it without fear. She gave me vibes of Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, and that’s a huge compliment. I’ve been listening to this one on repeat. J. Lo saying it made no sense for Shelbie to sing this is ludicrous. Yes, it would be ludicrous for J. Lo to sing, but it was PERFECT for Shelbie.

Through to the next round: Trent, Tristan, Manny, Dalton, Jenn, Olivia

Eliminated: Amelia, Kory, CJ, Adam, Shelbie