The stakes were high last week on American Idol, but our Dallas contestant, Dalton Rapattoni, squeaked through for the fifth spot in the final season’s top 6.
At the start of the show, all contestants were paired up to perform duets. Rapattoni was paired up with fellow contestant Mackenzie Bourg for the Backstreet Boys’ 90s classic “I Want it That Way.” What I thought was a solid performance, the judges basically hated. (I may be a little biased—The Backstreet Boys were my favorite band when I was 5.) Apparently, 90s boy-band style is not the way to go on American Idol. But Harry Connick, Jr. made a valid point: It’s difficult to put feeling into a song with no real meaning.
After the duets were done, the contestants began their individual performances one-by-one, as host Ryan Seacrest revealed who would be moving on. The final three contestants out of the top 8 had to battle for the final sixth spot, which was picked live by the judges.
Rapattoni was the fifth contestant put though, and narrowly missed the battle for the final spot in the top 6. He went on to perform the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” and compared to the prior week’s dull distracted performance, Rapattoni seemed to embed a lot of feeling into his rendition of the song.
In a Facebook live video from the night before the show, Rapattoni revealed that “Eleanor Rigby” carries a lot of meaning for him. Rapattoni lost a close friend, whose wish was to never be forgotten. Rapattoni revealed that he auditioned for American Idol so that he might always be remembered, even after his own death.
American Idol viewers will remember Rapattoni for this performance. On a fog-covered stage, Rapattoni did justice to his theatrical, rocker style. He was focused, perfectly hitting a raspy high note at the end, which he hasn’t done in previous performances. Whatever he did differently, the judges loved. Harry Connick, Jr. praised Rapattoni’s “great song choice,” and Keith Urban said Rapattoni brought out a “dark undercurrent” in his arrangement of the Beatles’ song. Urban sweetly compared Rapattoni to a breakfast food, saying, “Like a good waffle iron, you made an impression.”
And Rapatonni has made an impression on Dallas. We will continue to cheer for Rapattoni as he competes for a spot in the top 5 tonight.