‘Thank God we videotaped the rehearsal!’

american idol viewers could be forgiven for mistaking Sunday’s top seven episodes for a 2020 rerun. That was the historic, doomed year when the coronavirus season 18 derailed; all incarcerated participants had to perform from home; and winner Just Sam was remotely crowned to celebrate alone in her hotel suite. This week, viewers must have experienced a sense of déjà vu when two semifinalists, Fritz Hager and Noah Thompson, tested positive for COVID and were unable to participate in Sunday’s live broadcast.

While Fritz was lucky enough to have his two rehearsals from the previous day taped, Noah had to perform his two songs (a viral TikTok hit and a Mother’s Day initiation) acoustically from the quarantined security of his hotel room. Though the two poor guys seemed a little rough, Noah said the situation was “bad” but he “came through it,” and Fritz joked that he was “a bit in a jail” and “ready to get back on that stage.” to come” – in some ways this was a blessing in disguise. Fritz proved what a professional he is, as his filmed rehearsals were excellent enough to be broadcast in prime time. And the stripped-down setting worked so well for Noah that his Sunday performances might not have been as immersive or effective had they taken place on the large main stage.

Fritz was in danger in another way: he chose not to sing just one, but… two originals, clearly positioning himself as Season 20’s Alejandro Aranda. His pre-recorded first track, “All My Friends”, wasn’t just a cursory run-through; in fact, it was so exciting and hysterical that judge Luke Bryan raved, “Thank God we videoed the rehearsal” and called it a “rockstar moment.” In fact, Fritz’s second original, an ethereal ballad for his grandmother titled “The Ocean,” my Katy Perry was described as “a combination of Bright Eyes and James Taylor” and “one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard about Grandma in general.” heard. ” If this one is how Fritz can perform if he is not at full strength, it is quite likely that he will make the final.

As for Noah, his two songs, “Painted Blue” by Sunday Best and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, really took advantage of such an intimate setting, as he spared production and put all the emphasis on his rough-hewn vocals and tender delivery. †american idol is so good at finding stars whether they are on stage or sitting in a hotel room with COVID. … If you’re going to record your first record, you should probably build a mobile studio in that room, because that’s where the right vibes are going. remarked Luke. Lionel Richie added: “I don’t know what happened here. I’m not going to wish you bad luck, but when you’re sick you sound a lot better—the credibility, the growl in your voice, that texture.’

So in the end, the fact that Noah and Fritz couldn’t perform live in the studio didn’t affect their fate Sunday, as they both progressed as the results of the live coast-to-coast voting results were revealed by Ryan Seacrest at the end of the year. . the night. Nicolina, Huntergirl and Leah Marlene also made the top five, meaning this was the end for Jay Copeland and Christian Guardino. I think Jay was struck down by his too safe and old-fashioned song choices, Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” and Boyz II Men’s “A Song for Mama”; while I assumed Christian’s decision to go to the gospel with Smokie Norful’s “Dear God” would get him some votes, his screaming rendition of Justin Bieber’s “Lonely” didn’t do him any favour.

Leah was really doing electric BØRNS’ glam-pop stomper “Electric Love,” an exuberant performance with an elastic voice that resembled the captured lighting in a bottle mentioned in the song. Lionel praised her use of the stage, telling her, “Movement is everything. Performance is what it’s all about.” Leah flipped the script and showed her softer, more subtle side with the Nashville cast’s “Sanctuary,” proving she’s the most versatile contestant in the top five. “Your sound, your narrative performance, you have found that place. You have found your center. That’s exactly who your artistry is. You can live with that for the rest of your life and have the best career ever,” Lionel predicted.

Huntergirl chose wide tonight with her songs. She’s always done spicy break-up anthems well, and that was the case with Tate McRae’s “You Broke Me First.” Katy called her “so natural” and told her, “You become the artist you dream of.” Huntergirl’s vocals were not almost equally strong or solid in Lauren Alaina’s “Like My Mother Does,” Season 10 runner-up, but the sentimental tune and connection to idol history has clearly charmed voters.

Nicolina definitely went with a song with a idol history – Heart’s “Alone”, Carrie Underwood’s breakthrough moment in season 4 – but she’s freshened it up with a risky but interesting and ultimately smart decision to go quiet and fragile in the chorus, pulling back and pulling the listener in. Lionel told her, “You’re a star in control. You got it. It’s there.” She then did Pentatonix’s “Light in a Hallway” and somehow managed to harness the power of all five of the nuanced voices of that a cappella group. “That performance was absolutely flawless. It just feels like this is your stage and everyone is here to see you. Both performances were A++,” said Katy. With Jay and Christian out of the running, Nicolina is now the last powerhouse standing this season, so she could very well win this thing too.

american idol returns with the top five next Sunday and will crown a winner the following week, May 22. Until then, I wish Fritz, Noah and everyone else on the show good health.

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