The end of American Idol (for now) is ever-so near. On Thursday night (March 31), the final four was narrowed down to the semi-finalists: Dalton Rapattoni, La'Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon. And they're, let me be the first one to say this, in it to win it.
Before the field could be narrowed down, the final four had their hometown visits. Thanks to some flawless syncs from the likes of Dawes and Radical Face, these packages were as insanely emotional as ever. We learned about La'Porsha's domestic violence shelter, Dalton's grandma's grape jelly meatballs and finally met Trent's family. The biggest tears, however, came courtesy of MacKenzie Bourg, who revisited the children's hospital he spent so much time in growing up. Shut up! You're crying! Not me!
In the wake of his emotional homecoming, MacKenzie gave a shockingly beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," but nothing could save him: he was sent home, leaving us with an eclectic top three, who took on their own picks, judges' picks and something courtesy of mentor Scott Borchetta. How did they stack up? As we do every week, let's rank 'em! (Spoiler alert: it had better be a La'Porsha/Trent finale OR ELSE).
09. Dalton Rapattoni, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World": Dalton Rapattoni and the band changed the key of this song, but it still managed to be way too low for him. He just straight up couldn't sing the word "world," which is sort of important for a song called "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Dalton has always done best when he's offering up his own interpretation of songs, and he didn't do that here, beyond tweaking the range (for the worst). He was neither engaged (his strong point) or sounding very good - so, like, why.
08. Dalton Rapattoni, "Calling You": Chosen because Blue October's lead singer (like Dalton) is bipolar and a friend of his, "Calling You" was a decent pick for Dalton Rapattoni's hometown dedication. This song has a few nice lyrics to grip on to, but it lacks an incredibly emotional sentiment for Dalton to blow us away with and get absorbed in. There's not much to say about this - "Calling You" was very much in Dalton's comfort zone, and that made it really apparent that he is just far and away the least naturally talented singer left in this competition, even if he does have a gaggle of massive fans and an artistry (and that eyeliner - swoon!).
07. La'Porsha Renae, "Stay With Me (Baby)": La'Porsha Renae was NOT here for the message of this song. Admittedly, the idea of begging a bad man to stay with you for the sake of not being alone is the exact opposite of La'Porsha's whole thing - did you not see her at that domestic violence shelter? Despite not feeling the lyrics to "Stay With Me," La'Porsha showed off her sultry soulful side giving some big notes and even bigger, slow runs that are so incredibly captivating. She was a little detached from this whole performance, but the music just really speaks for itself here.
06. Dalton Rapattoni, "Dancing in the Dark": Dalton Rapatonni has the haircut of an '80s punker, so it's only appropriate that he fully dove into that decade eventually. For the Scott Borchetta round, Dalton tackled the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. He started off this song slow and sweet but he soon kicked it up into a full blown pop-punk interpretation. He sounded better here than he did on his first performance, but he was breathless. But, that didn't matter. His energy was unparalleled and really fun, even JLo was feeling it, bouncing in her seat like a tween at a 5 Seconds of Summer concert.
05. Trent Harmon, "Drink You Away": Justin Timberlake had never cleared one of his songs for American Idol, until now. The benefactor was Trent Harmon, who tackled his surprise country-crossover hit "Drink You Away." Though Trent tackled the attitude and swagger of this song perfectly, the band overwhelmed him. The guitars swallowed him in some of the song's biggest moments, and he would have benefitted greatly from just a little less volume. But the falsetto, the runs and the grit in this performance was incredible. Trent has really evolved as a performer, and it becomes more and more clear with every new song.
04. La'Porsha Renae, "Hello": Tackling one of the biggest songs of the last few months (in this case, Adele's "Hello") can really be a dangerous thing. People on The Voice have totally tanked this track, which is so very Adele, and that could have happened here. Just kidding! It's La'Porsha Renae! She's flawless. She was smart to put a little bit of her own R&B spin on this song and not try and copy Adele. Her gospel side came out more than a little bit, and it was smart to twist this song in that way, exactly because the original is so well-known and inescapable. Hello La'Porsha, you are a GEM.
03. Trent Harmon, "Waiting Game": In the judges' choice round, both La'Porsha and Dalton got songs that everyone knows rather well, but Trent Harmon got a pick that's relatively unknown: "Waiting Game" by singer-songwriter Parson James. It was an obscure choice, so Trent could have either dominated this and pushed himself way ahead in the competition, or he could have faltered and pretty much gone home. He, luckily, did the former. His falsetto was delicately and perfectly balanced, and Trent took on the more nuanced melodies in this song with a precision that was impressive to watch. Welcome to the finale, bro!
02. La'Porsha Renae, "Glory": Last week, La'Porsha Renae had nothing but bad song choices, so her take on this Oscar-winning John Legend and Common song was refreshing because it actually felt like La'Porsha's pick. She has such a sweet tone in her voice, and that was showed off flawlessly in this song's lower register. In the wake of her home visit, La'Porsha was in full passion mode, and that was very clear here. She was determined, poised and, in the best La'Porsha fashion, flawless.
01. Trent Harmon, "Tennessee Whiskey': Trent Harmon really toes this line between being a pop singer, soul singer and a good ol' country boy, and that's why his performance of Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whiskey" was so successful. Trent's voice is pretty much nothing like Stapleton's, and that's actually what made this interpretation work. His runs on the longer notes in this song showed off that nasally yet oddly appealing tone of his, in direct contrast to Stapleton's grit. Trent also 100 percent showed off his soulful side. La'Porsha always felt like a frontrunner for this competition, but man, someone is peaking!