“American Idol” alums return home to duet with the next generation

Frontrunner Dalton Rapattoni performed "Higher Ground" with mentor Chris Daughtry during a taping of "American Idol." (Photo property of FOX's Ray Mickshaw)

Frontrunner Dalton Rapattoni performed “Higher Ground” with mentor Chris Daughtry during a taping of “American Idol.” (Photo property of FOX’s Ray Mickshaw)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Last night, the remaining members of the American Idol Top 24 took their cases to the judges (Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban) on why they should be in the Final 14.

Some artists soared and might be advanced to the live rounds, others faltered and had their dreams crushed tonight.

However, to soften the blow of the eliminations, the Idol Powers-That-Be recruited several fan-favorite alumni (Season Four’s Constantine Maroulis, Season Five’s Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler, Season Six Winner Jordin Sparks, Season Seven Winner David Cook and Season 10’s Haley Reinhart) to mentor and perform duets with the finalists

With expectations so high and performing with some of their heroes, the remaining artists had to step up and give brilliant performances!

Who delivered and was advanced to the Top 14? Which artists faltered and were sent home by the judges? Read on to find out!

(Editor’s note: I decided to grade these performances tonight)

Up first, Kellie Pickler and Amelia Eisenhauer. The duo tackled Sara Evans’ “Suds on the Bucket.” For the duet, Kellie wanted Amelia to play the fiddle and I think that the Season Five alum (and Dancing with the Stars winner) helped her break out of the shell. This was definitely one of the better feel-good performances of the season. B+

Kory Wheeler and Haley Reinhart teamed up to perform the song that helped make both of them a standout. There was one word that I could describe this performance: “joygasm.” I was worried that these two were not going to get along vocally, but they were impeccable together.  A-

Chris Daughtry teamed up with the youngest guy competitor in the competition. I was glad that to see Lee excited to work with Chris and perform the Season Six elimination track: “Home.” If there were a Big Brother, Big Sister for the Idol alums and current contestants, I really hope that Lee and Chris stay in touch after tonight. Chris gave Lee the confidence that Lee needs after the competition. B

Season Seven winner David Cook and CJ Johnson tackled “The World I Know” (David’s final song that he performed as a contestant on American Idol). I was a little worried about CJ’s voice tackling this kind of song, but with the help of the Season Seven champion…CJ soared. I got chills when the duo hit the chorus. It was a superb performance. B+

Manny Torres had the privilege of filling in for Chris Brown when he sang “No Air” with Jordin Sparks for his duet. I like that Jordin helped Manny interpret the lyrics during rehearsal and it paid off during the performance. While Manny might be the next Marc Anthony, it was very hard not interacting with Jordin during the middle part of the track and I thought that he lost momentum. C+

I am very surprised that the producers paired Constantine Maroulis with Jenn Blosil to do “My Funny Valentine” over Season Six fan-favorite Melinda Doolittle. Minus that severe oversight, I thought that the duet partners were well-matched, but I was worried that Constantine was going to sing Jenn off the stage, but it was an intriguing performance. A-

Tristan McIntosh paired with Kellie Pickler. During their rehearsal, Kellie admitted that she and her husband cried at her audition. They tackled Kellie’s “Best Days of Your Life,” a song that she co-wrote with Taylor Swift.  At parts of the performance, Tristan’s voice gave me shades of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. While there was some screeching during the performance, the song totally put a smile on my face. B+

After Ryan checked in with in-house mentor Scott Borchetta, Olivia Rox and David Cook tackled one of David’s first hits (and one of Olivia’s favorite David Cook songs): “Light On.” I got instant chills from this duo and I am happy that Olivia went note-for-note with him. This was one of the best performances of the night! A

Adam Lasher and Haley Reinhart teamed up to pay homage to the King of Rock and Roll. I loved that Adam had a huge crush on Haley and it showed during their cover of “I Can’t Falling in Love with You.”   It was great to see Adam show off his tender side during this performance and this performance affirms that Haley has one of the greatest voices that came out of American Idol. A-

If Dalton Rapattoni wants to make it to the Final Four, I hope that he takes Chris Daughtry’s advice to heart. They tackled Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” (one of my favorite Chris Daughtry performances). I thought it was a great pairing because it reminded me of a “Passing the Torch” moment from one generation of Idol pop rockers to the next. I wished I got to hear more of this awesome duo. A

For Jordin Sparks’ final duet of the night, she teamed up with Trent Harmon to perform the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody.” This was an amazing performance by both singers and they gave me chills. If Trent decided to to release this song on his first post-Idol album, I really hope that Jordin records this song with him. A-

Constantine and Shelbie Z closed the night with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I expected a lot more from both performers and they disappointed me. I was bored with the performance. D+

The contestants that will be heading to the live shows is: Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Jenn Blosil, Trent Harmon, Manny Torres, Tristan McIntosh & Lee Jean.

Next week, the Final 14 face off at the “American Idol” studio for the first time this season!

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar