By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Wednesday, April 6, 2016
The final two have been the favorites for awhile: diva La'Porsha Renae and theatrical soul man Trent Harmon. Lightweight pop-rocker Dalton Rapattoni (phew!) was eliminated at 8:25 p.m. tonight.
At this point, Trent has the edge but he by no means has a lock.
If anything, Mississippi is guaranteed a winner. And tonight, both competitors were aggressively fighting for the final crown.
They each performed an original single, followed by creator Simon Fuller's pick, then a reprise from earlier in the season.
MJ said tomorrow's series finale will feature nobody outside the "Idol" circle on stage. No Prince. No Kanye. No Taylor Swift. It makes sense. This is a family reunion and the spotlight should remain there. Hopefully at the end, they'll squeeze every single finalist who showed up on stage, along with the judges, producers and crew with lots of confetti. I am bringing out the Kleenex- though not tonight. I'm sure the judges in their final roles this evening - especially J.Lo - will be emotional.
Trent Harmon "Falling": A bit overwrought but the song does fit Trent. It's not terribly memorable or radio friendly. Grade: B
Dalton Rapattoni "Strike a Match": He really needs a vocal coach. He sounds pitchy at points and the band swallows him up. It's not a terrible song. Just wish the vessel was stronger. Grade: B
La'Porsha Renae "Battle": Easily the best song and the best performance of the trio. She started a little tentatively but picked it up by the chorus. Grade: B-plus/A-minus
Who wins the round? La'Porsha
Trent "If You Don't Know Me By Now" Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes: This song fits Trent really well. He brought urgency and depth to this version. Keith: "Absolutely amazing." JLo: "We have a battle going. You are not going to lay down." HCJ: "I really do feel like I know you." Grade: A/A-minus
La'Porsha "A House is Not a Home" Dionne Warwick: She did a lovely job but the ghost of Tamyra Gray kept me from liking it more. HCJ: "Emotionally I loved it.l Musically, you spoke volumes about harmony." Keith: "I don't even smoke and I need a cigarette." Grade: B-plus
Who won this round? Trent
CONTESTANT'S PICK FROM THE SEASON
Trent "Chandelier" Sia. I would have preferred either "Simple Man" or "Sharp Dressed Man." But he blows it out of the water. What a range! Keith: "Best song Freddie Mercury never wrote." JLo: "From the beginning, I saw something special." He tracks all the critiques in a diary. Grade: A/A-minus
La'Porsha "Diamonds" Rihanna. This is one of my favorites from La'Porsha Smart pick. Although the song doesn't have a lot of range, she brings out her emotional arsenal. JLo said she can't wait to see her in concert in her final critique. Grade: A/A-minus
Close call on this one. I say this round is a draw.