The Top Eight sing “The American Idol Songbook”

The "American Idol: Top Eight" pose with Ryan Seacrest during an "American Idol" taping. (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment)

The “American Idol: Top Eight” pose with Ryan Seacrest during an “American Idol” taping. (Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

Riddle me this, readers!

What do “Eleanor Rigby,” “(PYT) Pretty Young Thing,” “A Broken Wing,” “You Are So Beautiful,” “Stand By Me,” “I Have Nothing,” “Come Together” & “Let It Be” have in common?

The answer: they are the most performed songs in American Idol history!

Tonight, the Top Eight dove into the American Idol songbook, pulled out the most overplayed songs and performed for America’s votes. Did they do their covers justice or did they have to fight for the Judges’ Save?  Read on to find out….

Tonight, the Idols teamed up for duets! Up first, La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon! They tackled Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again.” I am putting this duet up with Adam and Allison (Season Eight) and Joshua and Jessica (Season 11) because they breathed new life into the track they sang and their harmonies were on point as they sang Wiz’s parts. What a brilliant way to start off the show! A+

Roommates Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid tackled Audra Day’s “Rise Up” for their duet. After La’Porsha and Trent had thrown down the gauntlet, both girls were able to pick it up, delivered strong vocals and activated the sway bots.  I thought it was a nice effort by both girls and like Jennifer stated in her critique, they pushed each other to be better. B

After checking in with Idol in-house mentor Scott Borchetta, it was time for the night’s unusual pairing: MacKenzie Bourg and Dalton Rapattoni.  I was worried they were going to destroy Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way,” but luckily they did not. However, I wanted more edginess from MacKenzie, more power vocals from Dalton and up the vocal key in at the final portion of the track. I have to agree with Harry; this was not good. C-

Whoever advised Lee Jean and Tristan McIntosh to sing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” should be fired! This is a song that Jessica Sanchez and Caleb Johnson should have performed together (with some instrumental assists from cello virtuosos Emil & Dariel). Their vocals did not mesh well together, and it was a horrible mess! F

After the mixed bag known as the Duets Round, it was time for the individual solo round! Up first, La’Porsha Renae! What do Crystal Bowersox and Candice Glover have in common with La’Porsha Renae? The answer: all three women covered The Beatles’ “Come Together” on the Idol stage. After getting some inspiration from her favorite teacher, Angela Johnson, La’Porsha came out like a lioness and slayed the Lennon-McCartney classic. Every week, I look forward to seeing La’Porsha in action, and she never ceases to amaze me! I hope that America votes her in all the way to the finale. A

MacKenzie was the person that had to follow La’Porsha Renae! The former Team CeeLo alum turned Idol frontrunner tackled one of the late Joe Cocker’s signature ballads: “You Are So Beautiful.” Both friends-to-the-blog, Jessica Sanchez and Rayvon Owen, delivered powerful slam dunk interpretations of the song, and I hoped that MacKenzie did not disappoint with his cover.  His performance was very pleasant to the ears and despite several minor vocal hiccups, I now know who MacKenzie wants to be as an artist. B

While he may have had a great duet, in all honesty, I believe that Trent Harmon is going downhill fast.  This is the second week in a row that he covered a song that been played multiple times on American Idol.  While Trent embarrassed himself by “When A Man Loves A Woman” (totally owned by Season 11’s Joshua Ledet), he was running a risk of alienating fans by covering a song that both Season Four (and forever Idol’s Godfather of Rock)’s Bo Bice and Season Seven runner-up David Archuleta soared on Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” I am glad that he took the soulful approach and after this performance, Trent is back in this race to win. B+

Tristan McIntosh had a breakout performance last week with her take on “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” This week, she decided to stay in the country genre and tackled Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing,” a song that Season Six winner Jordin Sparks performed twice throughout the competition and received praise from original artist Martina McBride. While it was a sturdy performance, several flat notes got in the way. Luckily, she was able to recover it nicely. B

The last person to secure a spot in the safety zone was Dalton Rapattoni. The millennial version of Billie Joe Armstrong sang “Eleanor Rigby,” a song that his Idol hero, David Cook, brilliantly covered back in Season Seven. This was the Dalton I have been waiting to see for weeks! I felt like I was at a Fall Out Boy and Green Day concert that featured the cast of Rock of Ages. I am glad that Dalton rocked out and showed off his power vocals. A-

With Dalton saved by the viewers, it meant that Avalon Young, Lee Jean and Sonika Vaid were this week’s Bottom Three and only one of them would be saved by the judges. Last week’s recipient of the Judges’ Save, Avalon Young, was the first person to perform this round. She  tackled the King of Pop’s “(PYT) Pretty Young Thing.” This track was covered by both Season One’s Justin Guarini and Season Eight’s Danny Gokey. The good news, she performed this song a thousand times better than Danny Gokey! The bad news, it did not guarantee a second trip to the safety zone. B

Lee Jean was the second artist to sing for their life! While he fought off an illness, Lee delivered an average cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” If Simon was here, he would rip him to shreds for that atrocious performance. F   The final artist to take the stage was Sonika! She joined Trenyce, Jennifer Hudson, Katharine McPhee, LaKisha Jones and Jessica Sanchez in the Idol divas club as Sonika sang the late Whitney Houston’s signature anthem, “I Have Nothing,” on the American Idol stage. It was a show-stopping performance and I loved hearing her velvety vocals. It was a brilliant moment. A-

After a few moments, the judges unanimously decided that Sonika will be saved!

Next week, Adam Lambert returns!

All Idol performances that are sprinkled throughout the article belong to FOX, 19 Entertainment & FremantleMedia North America.  Emil & Dariel’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” performance from “America’s Got Talent” belongs to NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment.



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