American Idol

Song by song grades for the Top 3 on American Idol

The American Idol Top 3 of Laine Hardy, Madison VanDenburg and Alejandro Aranda (ABC Photo)

The American Idol Top 3 of Laine Hardy, Madison VanDenburg and Alejandro Aranda (ABC Photo)


Alejandro Aranda is rolling the dice on his own music tonight.

In an American Idol first, he’ll sing two original songs during the competition round of tonight’s show.

Alejandro is going up against Madison VanDenburg and Laine Hardy for the Idol Season 17 crown tonight.

And while Alejandro is singing originals, Laine is going to sing “Jambalaya,” a song that hit number one for Hank Williams way back in 1952.

I’ll be providing song by song grades when the competition round of tonight’s show begins, so check back then.

1. Laine Hardy, “Home” by Marc Broussard — Bobby Bones tells us that Marc Broussard visited Laine’s hometown and they sang this song together. It’s a swampy rock song right up Laine’s lane. Laine flashes that winning smile of his repeatedly through a solid, but in no way surprising performance. He did what he does well, but didn’t do anything to raise his stock. Grade: B

2. Madison VanDenburg, “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper — Bobby Bones says the key for Madison is whether she connects with the audience while winning this Grammy-winning song. Oops, I think the combination of nerves and the song’s emotion got to Madison a bit. She got a little shouty during that chorus. In fact, for the normally pitch perfect Madison, that was a bit of a shaky vocal. Making an emotional connection? That didn’t seem to be a problem for Madison. Grade: B–

3. Alejandro Aranda, “Millennial Love” (an original) — Big kudos to Alejandro for deciding he wants his Idol fate to be decided by his own music. Like I said, that’s never been done before. This is a fine original, if a little repetitive. The crowd loved it. Here’s betting the judges will too. Wonder how they decided the performing order tonight. Remember when the finalists used to flip a coin? Grade: B

Asked who won the first round, Luke Bryan picks Madison. Lionel and Katy pick Alejandro.

4. Laine Hardy, “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams — Hey, turns out I really like this song choice by Laine. And he seems much more at ease during his second performance of the night. I’m not so sure about that hi-hee at the end, but that’s nitpicking. He turned in a very nice second performance. Not a moment, but very nice. Grade: B+

5. Madison VanDenburg, “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson — Think Madison is feeling a little emotional tonight? It’s obviously the lyrics of this song are striking a chord as she’s performing. It’s affecting her vocal a good bit, but do’t discount the value of a highly emotional performance with soaring notes, and that’s what Maddie just delivered. Some vocal missteps aside, that was the best performance tonight. Grade: A–

Alejandro Aranda, “Tonight” (an original) — The was a really touching trip home for Alejandro, even though he’s a lot closer to home than any of the other contestants. I liked his second original more than his first. Again, brave choice for him to go with two originals rather than select songs sure to be fan favorites. Katy gives Alejandro credit for making American Idol about more than karaoke. By the way, Luke, the magazine is The Rolling Stone, not The Rolling Stones. Grade: B+

And it’s time for one singer to be eliminated on American Idol.

And that person is: Madison VanDenburg. No surprise. All the numbers pointed to that happening, though I thought her last performance was the best and most emotional of the night so far.

Round 3:

Alejandro Aranda: He performs yet another original “10 Years,” backed by an orchestra. Alejandro sounds a bit nervous on this. But it’s still a fine performance. And that is one of three original songs Alejandro has already released to Apple Music and streaming sites. You’ll find it under the stage name ScaryPoolParty. Just wondering how fair it is to showcase another Alejandro original when Laine has to duet in this second half of the show. Grade: B+

Jon Pardi and Laine Hardy, “Dirt on My Boots” / “Night Shift” — Doing a duet with the county star seemed to loosen Laine up a bit. But this wasn’t the best showcase for his vocals. At this point, I’m really wishing we would have a real third round from the contestants. Grade: B–

Round 4:

Laine Hardy, “Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke — Nice song choice by Laine. He’s digging in a little more with this vocal that he has to this point tonight. And then the song picks up in tempo. And lane does a nice job of abandoning his mic stand and interacting with the crowd. I really think that was his best performance tonight. Grade: A–

Alejandro Aranda, “Out Loud” (an original) — So, he takes the stage four times and performs four originals. I’m not a huge fan of Alejandro’s music, but I have to respect anyone so committed to his own artistry that he takes that approach to the competition. That’s the most popular of the three originals he’s already released. He can play one mean guitar, can’t he? Grade: B+

See also …
Ranking the Top 3 on American Idol
What YouTube tells us about the outcome
Social media stats for the Idol Top 3
Partial set list for the American Idol finale
Four ways to cut costs and improve American Idol

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1 Comment

  1. TiredofTripe May 19, 2019 at 10:39 pm -  Reply

    The folks at What Not to Sing are having a freak out right now.

    They have no idea how (or whether) score tonight’s performances. They’re stunned and stumped.

    Meanwhile, if Alejandro wins, he’ll be by far the lowest rated winner in “Idol” and WNTS history.

    One professional “Idol” blogger, Joey Banks, has stated recently that Alejandro is a good musician, but he can’t sing.

    Brace yourself for the possibility of a backlash the likes of which “Idol” has never seen.

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