American Idol Live! | 08.10.15

american-idol 75I truly didn’t mind the changes this year, although there is a completely different vibe to a concert at a theatre versus a concert at a big hockey arena.

 

 

 

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This year’s American Idol Live! tour was very different from previous ones. The 14th season of the show brought the 14th year of touring, but this was the first time that the show was held at the Peabody Opera House. As said by the singers who toured, this was to bring the show to a more personal level, in a smaller theater that would bring the crowd closer to the performers and closer to the music (I should probably mention that the tour has always been held at Scottrade Center, St. Louis’ big hockey arena). In my mind, the reason for touring at a smaller venue is because many people just aren’t watching the show anymore (or maybe they still watch it, but don’t care quite enough to actually buy tickets to the live tour).

Although this is certainly an unfortunate thing for the American Idol TV show, the venue didn’t hinder the quality of performance. I’ve been a huge American Idol fan since day one of season one because I’ve just always found it enjoyable. Along with watching every episode, I’ve seen the tour each year in St. Louis. If you’re unfamiliar with the way the tour works, I can help you out. Basically, the top 10 finalists from that year’s TV season get to tour. They perform group numbers as well as individual songs. For individual performances, traditionally the singer who took 10th place goes first, and so forth in descending chronological order, ending the night with the American Idol winner.

In addition to the change in venue this year, this was the first time only the top five contestants toured. Also, the singers did not performing in descending order. In fact, they switched it up the entire time between group songs and individual performances. While not incorporating the usual 10 contestants certainly cut down on variety, it also allowed more time for each performer.

I truly didn’t mind the changes this year, although there is a completely different vibe to a concert at a theatre versus a concert at a big hockey arena. But the show was still fun. The only thing that bothered me a bit was that it seemed like the Clark Beckham show. Beckham took second place in the competition, while Nick Fradiani was the winner (followed by Jax in third place, Rayvon Owen in fourth place, and Tyanna Jones in fifth). Now Beckham was always one of my favorites, so I didn’t have a problem with how much he performed, it just seemed unbalanced and unfair to the show’s winner, Fradiani, as well as the other three singers.

I did think all of the contestants performed very well. Jones, just 17 years old, was her fun, cute self with a big voice. Owen showed off his ever-classy personality with wickedly clean falsetto vocals. Jax is like a little firecracker on stage and probably had the best stage presence of all the performers, even though she is only 19. Beckham’s huge, soulful voice sounded even better in person than it did on TV (is that even possible?), and Fradiani gave a performance that was sure to lay happiness upon every audience member.

The stand-out performance of the night actually came from Jones, Jax, and Beckham as a trio when they sang an acoustic cover of Sia’s “Chandelier.” It’s usually a song that I’m not a fan of, but the three offered such a beautiful, vulnerable, stripped-down performance that I immediately fell in love with.

The drastic changes in the usual live tour offered a new perspective of American Idol, as it certainly did bring the performances closer to the audience than ever before. | Emily Van de Riet

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