Pomona-raised American Idol, contestant Alejandro Aranda — who qualified for the long-running talent shows final three Sunday — will be feted Tuesday with a parade, awards and a free concert which may draw as many as 10,000 people.
People take photos of the Fox Theater Pomona’s marquee ahead of Tuesday’s parade, street party and free concert for American Idol finalist Alejandro Aranda in Pomona on Monday, May 13, 2019. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
American Idol winner predictions: Alejandro Aranda widens lead over Laine Hardy, but what about Madison VanDenburg?
A traffic sign announcing Tuesday’s closure of Garey Avenue is seen in downtown Pomona ahead of a parade, street party and free concert for American Idol finalist Alejandro Aranda in Pomona on Monday, May 13, 2019. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
A welcome sign is seen on the Fox Theater Pomona’s marquee in downtown Pomona ahead of Tuesday’s parade, street party and free concert for American Idol finalist Alejandro Aranda in Pomona on Monday, May 13, 2019. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Temporary no parking signs are seen in downtown Pomona ahead of Tuesday’s parade, street party and free concert for American Idol finalist Alejandro Aranda in Pomona on Monday, May 13, 2019. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Welcome signs are seen in the windows of businesses in downtown Pomona ahead of Tuesday’s parade, street party and free concert for American Idol finalist Alejandro Aranda in Pomona on Monday, May 13, 2019. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Video: Laci Kaye Booth Sings “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert – Bobbys Pick – American Idol
Pomona’s Fox Theater gets fresh paint Thursday by Anthony Ibarra. If Pomona resident Alejandro Aranda survives elimination Sunday, “American Idol” and Aranda will visit Pomona on Tuesday for a parade and free concert. (Photo by David Allen)
Alexis Lopez, 11, and sister Kimberly, 8, work on a poster for Alejandro Aranda at the Pomona Public Library on Thursday. (Photo by David Allen)
Students including Jocelyn Islas, 14, made signs of support for Alejandro Aranda at the Pomona Public Library on Wednesday and Thursday. (Photo by David Allen)
Signs of support for Alejandro Aranda are posted in the window of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association. (Photo by David Allen)
Video: Alejandro Aranda Sings “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley – Bobby Bones Pick – American Idol 2019
American Idols Top 5 Becomes The Top 3. Who Made It To The Finale?
Alejandro Aranda performs at a backyard party in Pomona last month in the midst of his “American Idol” run. (Courtesy Sofar SGV)
WADE COTA (Ray LaMontagnes You Are the Best Thing) | Well, this was a boring fine way to kick things off. Dont get me wrong, he sounded great — but after some light Mothers Day drinking, I would have preferred something a little more exciting to start the show. My only question about this performance was Perrys claim that it took Wade out of his comfort zone. Color me crazy, but was this not the definition of his comfort zone? Lets not forget that he already performed a LaMontagne song a few weeks ago. Grade: B+
Road closures and parking: Starting at 10 a.m. Third Street between Garey Avenue and Thomas Street will be shut down. Starting at 3 p.m. Garey will be closed to vehicles between Mission Boulevard and Monterey Avenue.
Attendees are encouraged to start lining the streets then with their homemade welcome signs. Public parking in downtown will be free.
Parade: “The American Idol” film crew is expected to start filming the crowd around 4 p.m. even though the parade isn’t set to begin until 4:30 p.m. at corner of Thomas and Second streets.
WADE COTA (Elton Johns Rocket Man) | Maybe its those Mothers Day mimosas talking, but was this performance… sexy? I think so. It was certainly a welcome departure from the same old song and dance were used to getting from Cota. There was something unexpectedly sultry about his interpretation of the song, and I dug it quite a bit. (That said, I agreed with Luke Bryan when he told Cota that he should have kept the glasses on the whole time.) Grade: B+
The parade will feature the Garey High marching band, police motorcycle officers and Aranda cruising in a lowrider. It will head west on Second Street, south on Main Street, east on Fourth Street before traveling north on Thomas Street and ending on Third Street in front of the Fox Theatre, 301 Garey Ave.
ALEJANDRO ARANDA (Bob Marley and the Wailers No Woman, No Cry) | Ironically, I feel like the energy of Sundays show didnt really pick up until Arandas sleepy, soulful performance of this reggae jam. I normally get annoyed when the judges have little to no criticism for the contestants, but in Arandas case, what could you possibly tell him to do differently? Ive been hopelessly under his spell all season, and my infatuation continues. Grade: A-
Hometown hero: Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval is expected to present Aranda with proclamations from city and state officials in front of Fox Theater at 5:30 p.m.
Video: Wade Cota Sings “Rocket Man” by Elton John – American Idol 2019
Concert: For weeks, Aranda has impressed Idol judges performing an eclectic mix of covers and his own original songs. Tuesday’s 6 p.m. performance could even feature new content. That’s not hard to believe because Aranda recently told “People” magazine that he’s tried to write a song a day while filming the show.
Musician and Claremont native Ben Harper has already been announced as a guest. If youll recall, the two performed a duet — Aranda’s first time — when the Pomona native was vying for one of the Top 14 spots.
How to get there: Free shuttles to and from parade and concert will be provided by the Pomona Valley Transportation Authority, starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. All those under 18 years of age need to be accompanied by an adult.
Here’s a giant caveat you need to know: Because the planning is last-minute, some start times may be subject to change. To get the latest details, visit www.ci.pomona.ca.us/
Taping from Tuesday’s parade and concert will be shown during Sunday’s grand finale 5 p.m. on ABC. The show, which switched from Fox to ABC after a taking a break, was renewed for another season after Sunday’s show.
American Idol Semifinals 5th Judge: Sentimental Favorite Eliminated in Heartbreaking Vote
I certainly never expected to see George Lewis Jr. — aka esoteric indie/chillwave/funk artist Twin Shadow — on a mainstream show like American Idol. But when finalist Alejandro Aranda, the humble dishwasher whos already drawn raves from Stevie Nicks and Ben Harper and has been described as a genius by the judges, brought Twin Shadow on Sundays top five show for his heroes dedication (a segment in which the other contestants predictably paid tribute to relatives), it made perfect sense. After all, Alejandro, who records music under the name Scarypoolparty, is one of the most unique and eccentric contestants in Idol history, and certainly the only one whod ever receive a positive review in Pitchfork. And it turns out that Twin Shadow set Alejandro on his unlikely Idol path, when he discovered Alejandros raw talent via social media and became his musical mentor and benefactor.
George not only believed in me, but he pushed me to get my songs out there. He believed in me so much, Alejandro said. Everything that I needed to create music, he just gave it to me, and he didnt expect anything other than for me to make music. When Alejandro thought about giving up on his dream, Twin Shadow encouraged him to keep going … although he surely never expected that one day Alejandro would repay the favor by giving him a career boost of his own, via some major TV exposure.
I was honored to have Alejandro call me on for their heroes segment. This kid blew my mind the second I saw him, almost five years ago, Twin Shadow posted in an Instagram video with Alejandro and colleague Wynn Bennett on Sunday. I was lucky enough to have him in the live touring band for a year. With @whoiswynn and @scarypoolparty flanking me onstage I felt stronger than I had in years. Their musicality and ability to push the songs to the edge is a blessing to me. Again, I am so proud of Hondo, he is the sure bet and it dont surprise me none that hes done as well as he has. Please show your support by listening to his songs and supporting the amazing career he is about to have. I dont need to tell you that, he already has your attention.
We are so happy that @scarypoolparty has @Twinshadow as his musical mentor. We love what he has become! #AmericanIdol pic.twitter.com/8U5zdDjplm
Madison VanDenburg, 17, Laine Hardy, 18, and 24-year-old Alejandro Aranda were voted to the top ahead of next Sundays finale, as fan favorites Wade Cota, 27, and Laci Kaye Booth, 23, learned it was time for them to go home.
The top five contestants all performed three times Sunday: songs picked by adviser Bobby Bones, Elton John songs, and hero dedications. And while most of them seemed to have already plateaued, giving lazy and safe performances that were in no way worthy of the seasons penultimate episode, Alejandro peaked at just the right moment — especially with the aptly titled jazz/prog/classical/soul/pop/fusion original he sang for Twin Shadow, Blesser. At this point, Alejandro has done more originals in one season than any other Idol contestant ever, and I am more than ready to buy his EP featuring this stunning track alongside Out Loud, Cholo Love, Ten Years, and Poison. He did his hero proud tonight, and he demonstrated what George Lewis Jr. saw in him all those years ago.
As much as I would love to see Alejandro win Season 17, I almost think hed be better off losing, because no coronation single the Idol powers-that-be might give him could ever be as cool or on-brand for him as Blesser. But he could win — because at the end of Sundays episode, he was voted through to the top three competing in next weeks grand finale, along with good ole Southern boy Laine Hardy and the next Kelly Clarkson, Madison Vandenburg. Will America get behind Alejandro the indie oddball, or go with the other two more obvious, less Twin-Shadowy finalists? Will viewers party with a Hardy, or hit up the Scarypoolparty? That remains to be seen, but as judge Luke Bryan advised Alejandro, he better wrap his head around being a ginormous star. And maybe he can take Twin Shadow on tour with him next time.
Well we found out something @katyperry and @scarypoolparty have in common. They were both backing someone bigger than themselves on late night before they made it big. #AmericanIdol #AlejandroAranda #pod #twinshadow #KatyPerry pic.twitter.com/f3QtmWycyY
Laine, the Louisiana teen whose cool outfits got judge Luke Bryan, 42, referring to him jokingly as a whole snack, movingly thanked his older brother Kyle for his support.
Wade is nothing if not honest, and he made it clear he wasnt thrilled about being forced to cover Ray LaMontagne, since hed already performed a LaMontagne song this season. I think Bobby was trying to do Wade a favor by throwing him a softball instead of a curveball, and Wade came across as ornery and ungrateful. Anyway, the ballad was a good fit for Wades one-octave rasp, but he seemed tired and uninspired. This was not the best thing. (WATCH HERE)
Laci has true grit and a compelling story of family strife, so I thought this steely Miranda Lambert ode to resilience would be a big moment for her. It wasnt. While she somewhat effectively told the story through her huge, sad, Keane-painting eyes, some of the sadness seemed to stem from her recent near-elimination. She already seemed defeated, and since confidence had been an issue for her all season long — before she was saved last week — she didnt seem to have any fight left in her. (WATCH HERE)
This was the weakest of Alejandros three Sunday performance — it was a little too beach-bummy and SNLs The Mellow Show for my tastes — but he did put his own stamp on Bob Marleys reggae classic, which is something only a true artist can do. Luckily for him, though, there was more greatness to come.
Bobby chose a song right in frontrunner Laines lane, a Marshall Tucker Band Southern-rock staple, so this wasnt exactly a game changer. And performancewise, it was a bit weak (Katy Perry wanted more fight, and Lionel Richie wanted more attitude). However, Laine did noticeably step it up vocally, later revealing that hes been taking vocal lessons. This kid has all the makings of a true Idol, but he needs to be more extra. (WATCH HERE)
Conspiracy theorists could claim that Bobby was throwing Madison under the bus by giving her a P!nk song in entirely the wrong key. Normally her vocals sound perfect, but as she tried to push herself this time, she was painfully shrill. And her usual performance issues were still there: a lack of emotional connection, a grating Stepford-child smiley-ness that in no way matched the lyrical content of the pained and pleading power ballad. This wasnt her best moment.
Katy Perry praises Alejandro Aranda on American Idol for finally deciding to play in this competition [WATCH]
OK, I do not know what was going on here. Wearing a pair of gimmicky rhinestone shades either left behind by Eddie Island or nicked from the prop-filled photo booth at one of the shows afterparties, Wade did total drunk-uncle karaoke. And his vocal was especially phlegmy. This may have even been worse than his Queen Night performance. Wade no longer seemed to be taking the competition seriously anymore; maybe he was trying to thrown himself under the bus. (WATCH HERE)
This was absolutely the wrong song choice for Laci. She could have had a poignant moment with Daniel, Your Song, or Tiny Dancer, but instead she went with the same sort of big-haired, big Branson production that landed her in the bottom two last week. She have looked absolutely fabulous in that sequin-spangled 70s jumpsuit, but she still looked like she was cosplaying as some Nashvegas star. And the party anthem did nothing to showcase her tender voice. Maybe she was self-sabotaging too. (WATCH HERE)
OK, this was the moment, about halfway through the episode, when I thought Alejandro had a lock on making the finale and a good chance of winning the whole thing. It was nice to see him back at the piano, and while he didnt have a Vandenburgian power voice, he infused every (hardest) word of the heartstring-tugging ballad with pathos and pain. Sad songs say so much, indeed. This was magical and real — no cosplaying here. Lionel predicted that Alejandro would soon be getting a shoutout from Sir Elton himself. (Side note: I really wish last weeks ejected contestant, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, whose Elton performance a few weeks ago received praise via Eltons Instagram, had stuck around long enough to get to do another Elton song this week. Sigh.)
American Idol Top 3: Heres Who Will Compete in the Season 2 Finale
There was yet more annoying and disconcerting pageant smiling and an overall lack of subtlety, but there were a few moments when Madison pulled back and demonstrated a better understanding of dynamics. And this was technically much more solid than her P!nk misfire. Katy likened this performance to a burger with extra oozy condiments (Maybe even some Thousand Island!) so I guess Madison is Season 17s new Sauce. Sorry, Alyssa Raghu.
American Idol Fan Favorites Get Cut in Semifinals and Fans Are Not Pleased
Not to start yet more conspiracy theories, but is Laine getting a more generous wardrobe budget than the other contestants? He always saunters out looking like whole snack (those were Lukes words!) in $4,000 electric boots and mohair suits, while the others all look like they shop at Kohls. Hes got the rock-star look and attitude down, but this was not a rock performance. It was pure easy-listening. Laine would have been better off doing a party-Hardy tune like Saturday, Crocodile Rock, or The Bitch Is Back. (WATCH HERE)
This song, touchingly and tearfully dedicated to his long-suffering mother and standup-guy stepfather, was a smart pick for Wade — the arrangement reminded me of Garth Brookss twangy version. But he sounded so rough, his untrained and metal-damaged voice so on the verge of dust that if hed actually made it to the finale, he probably wouldnt have been able to sing next week anyway. Wade just ran out of gas, or motivation, this week. (WATCH HERE)
Her unfortunate styling looked like something pulled out of the Coachella section at the Spirit of Halloween costume shop, but otherwise, this was Laci doing what she does best. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. That being said, Luke said this elegant and ethereal Fleetwood Mac cover was a complete visual into future of her career. Lets hope this isnt the last weve seen of Laci. (WATCH HERE)
For once, Madison actually seemed emotionally connected to what she was singing. Maybe she should have dedicated her performances to her mom every week. This was lovely and understated, with a minimum of massive money notes. Madison could win next week if she gives more mature performances like this. (WATCH HERE)
American Idol 2019 Top 5 Spoilers, Contestants & Winners Tonight
This should have been ore epic than it was — editing this classic Beatles sing-along down to less than two minutes was problematic. Laine did not take a sad song and make it better. But this was competent, and frankly, thats all the fan favorite really needed to do to coast through to the finale. We will see if he coasts through to the winners circle next Sunday. (WATCH HERE)
Meet American Idol genius Alejandro Aranda: In the history of the show, there has never been somebody like you