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Scott Borchetta on ‘Idol': Tristan McIntosh’s Cover of ‘Go Rest High …’ Will Be Her Best Yet

Tristan McIntosh Vince Gill Cover
Jason LeVeris, Getty Images

American Idol mentor Scott Borchetta is expecting a rebound week from country music’s only remaining Season 15 finalist. Tristan McIntosh‘s version of Vince Gill‘s “Go Rest High on That Mountain” will be her best yet, he says.

Borchetta adds that 15-year-old McIntosh is all-in with country music, but his challenge will be continuing to find the right songs for her week after week. This week’s choice was a late decision, but when they heard a tape of her singing the iconic song, they knew it was the one. Thursday night’s episode of American Idol airs at 8PM ET on Fox.

Last week the three judges and guest judge Kelly Clarkson were critical of McIntosh’s version of Dan + Shay‘s “Nothin’ Like You.” Online critics were even harsher on the Nashville native. Taking time to pick up hurt feelings wasn’t really an option this week, the Big Machine Label Group president says. Instead, he focused on being a teacher and preparing the teen to face off against several singers who had big weeks — specifically La’Porsha Renae.

While Clarkson told the audience and millions of viewers at home that the Mississippi native Renae had just won the competition, Borchetta didn’t see it the same way. Yes, her version of Rihanna‘s “Diamonds” was wonderful, but unless she continues to improve, fans will forget. Entitlement is the fastest route to elimination.

“We have to make sure we’re helping her [Renae] find songs that continue to show growth with her,” he insists. In addition, they need to work on some technical aspects of her rehearsal and performance. Renae doesn’t warm up, and that’s going to be an issue if she’s not careful.

“This week was the first week that her voice cracked. Myself and her vocal coach were going ‘Look, if you think you’re singing a lot now, wait until you get a record deal.’”

“On the other hand, she’s extraordinarily talented. She’s got an amazing voice. She’s got a great story and she’s definitely a frontrunner.”

Sonika Vaid also had a big week last week, singing “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence. The Maryland native singer followed Renae, and Borchetta said he was very impressed by how she didn’t back down from the challenge. In fact, she came out of her shell and delivered her best performance yet. Other Season 15 frontrunners include Dalton Rapattoni and Mackenzie Bourg.

And of course Renae, who Borchetta compares to Clark Beckham, the frontrunner at this point in Season 14. And therein lies the warning.

“Nick (Fradiani) wanted it worse. Nick had a better vision. Nick won.”

Taste of Country will talk to Borchetta each week, prior to the Thursday night episode of American Idol. Check back Thursday mornings for insight and a preview of what to expect!

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