It was hometown week on American Idol and in between the emotional visits with friends, family and fans back home, the remaining contestants wowed the judges with show-stopping performances.
At the front of the pack was La’Porsha Renae, a 22-year-old call representative from McComb, Mississippi, who paid tribute to her hometown with a show-stopping rendition of “Glory,” John Legend and Common’s powerful, Oscar-winning anthem from the movie Selma.
“Your gift is so strong, so pure, it’s such a beautiful thing watching you perform,” judge Keith Urban marveled after Renae received a standing ovation. “I don’t even feel like we’re critiquing, we’re just sort of sitting and watching this incredible performance and feeling so moved.”
“Many of your performances I would put into the critique-proof category,” Harry Connick Jr. agreed. “This was one of them. There’s really nothing I can say.I loved it.”
Renae also impressed the judges with her performances of Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me Baby” and Adele’s “Hello,” but the competition is far from over. Fellow Mississippi native Trent Harmon was the frontrunner in the votes at the mid-episode elimination, and wowed the crowd with his performances of “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Drink You Away” and a “goosies”-inducing rendition of Parson James’ “Waiting Game.”
“That was so amazingly beautiful,” Jennifer Lopez gushed of Harmon’s show-stopping final ballad. “It was the perfect song [for you]...and you killed it!”
Unfortunately, MacKenzie Bourg was sent home on Thursday, after finishing fourth in the vote counts.
“It’s incredible to think that I literally went from my room to now,” the 23-year-old singer and guitarist marveled, in good spirits after the elimination. “People send me messages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. They send me these amazing things that make me feel like I didn’t lose tonight...I feel like I’ve already won.”