'American Idol' recap: MacKenzie Bourg sent home, Justin Timberlake clears first song ever for one finalist
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/01/2016
American Idol eliminated MacKenzie Bourg and determined its farewell season's Top 3 finalists during Thursday night's broadcast on Fox.
After receiving the lowest amount of home viewer votes following last week's performance show, America sent MacKenzie, a 23-year-old musician from Lafayette, LA, home following a beautiful tribute to his hometown. MacKenzie was ousted from the competition although he had never landed in the bottom two or three before.
The announcement revealed Trent Harmon, a 25-year-old waiter from Amory, MS; La'Porsha Renae, a 22-year-old call representative from McComb, MS; and Dalton Rapattoni, a 19-year-old vocal coach from Dallas TX, had been voted by America into Season 15's Top 3.
MacKenzie only got to participate in the night's first round of competition, which allowed each of the Top 4 artists to perform a song dedicated to his or her hometown. He sang "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen and judge Keith Urban dubbed it a superb and beautiful performance. The performance really reflected who he is and brought the judges all the way back to why they loved him so much at his initial audition.
Dalton sang "Calling You" by Blue October for. Jennifer Lopez said there was a difference in the way he performed this time because there was a sense of freedom and belonging. Keith loved how Dalton concentrates and focuses on what makes him so unique.
Trent performed "Tennessee Whiskey" by Chris Stapleton. Harry Connick Jr. said he's the best at arching performances so they are impactful. He added that Trent is so special and the performance was fantastic. Jennifer then noted Trent could easily make the Final 2 if he keeps pushing the way he has been.
La'Porsha took the stage with "Glory" by Common and John legend. Keith gave her a standing ovation and admitted he felt like he had just undergone a baptism because he felt so moved by her purity and strength. Harry admired her elegance and grace.
After MacKenzie was eliminated, the remaining three finalists took on the second round of competition, which was mentor Scott Borchetta's picks.
Scott picked "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen for Dalton. Jennifer explained he has a real gift of being able to make the audience feel lyrics, in addition to making songs fresh and new. Harry then delivered an insult and compliment all in one, saying his ability to twist and deliver a lyric trumps any lack of vocal ability he has.
Scott gave La'Porsha "Stay With Me" by Lorraine Ellison, which she wasn't really thrilled about since the song is about a woman begging a man to stay and her storyline is all about escaping abusive, unhealthy relationships and finding independence. The judges noticed La'Porsha's heart wasn't in the performance, but she still "killed it," according to Keith.
For the first time ever in Idol history, Justin Timberlake cleared a song for one contestant to sing. Scott therefore gave Trent "Drink You Away," and the singer managed to get a standing ovation from Jennifer. Jennifer said he's singing to win the whole thing, and Keith agreed, saying he absolutely shredded the song.
In the third round of competition, the judges picked a song for each of the three finalist to show off their strengths.
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The judges gave Dalton "Everyone Wants To Rule the World" by Tears for Fears. While the song was definitely in his wheelhouse, Dalton brought the key down a little bit and the judges agreed it was too low for him and therefore didn't show off the best parts of his voice. It wasn't his strongest vocal, and the judges were glad his first two songs were great.
The judges asked La'Porsha to sing the popular hit "Hello" by Adele in the hopes she'd make it her own. Keith thought it was a beautiful performance, and Jennifer was glad they could stretch her a little bit and make her reach. At least this time, the lyrics were about how a man made a mistake.
Trent closed out the night with his judges' pick: "Waiting Game" by Parson James. Keith thought the song was tailor-made for him. Jennifer got "goosies" and said he absolutely killed it. Harry then pointed out it was an honor to critique a guy like him who's an "extraordinary talent."
Next week, American Idol will air a special three-night finale event as the franchise comes to an end. La'Porsha, Trent and Dalton will duke it out for two spots in the finale.