Solo Round

I LOVE SOLO ROUND!!!!! By this time, we’ve seen which Idolists could withstand the pressure of singing in front of their competition. And we’ve seen which ones could survive singing with their competition. Those two rounds cut the Hollywood field from 169 down to 76. And Solo Round cut that group down 50.

The reason I love Solo Round is that I’m starting to see the Idolists make the transition from who they were at the start to who they are becoming. The prior rounds were about the work of being an artist. Solo Round is about the performance. Almost all of them were working with a band for the first time and I’m looking to see who is comfortable doing that. And although they’ve been on the stage before, they haven’t had to do it for an entire performance. What I look for is how much I notice the Idolist versus how much I notice the stage. In both cases – band and stage – I want to be able to envision enjoying them as performing artists and this means they have to learn how to seamlessly pull all the elements of a performance together in such a way that all you notice is the performer.

Of course, some are better at this than others at this point and that’s part of the fun. As we know, the winner is often someone who wasn’t one of the main standouts at the start. It’s someone who grew into becoming a performer better than the others.

With all of that said, here are the people I thought gave noteworthy performances tonight:

  • Gabby Barrett (Aretha Ain’t No Way) – wow, I didn’t see that coming. I’m pretty particular about little girls singing Aretha (and you should be, also) but she sounded great.
  • Maddie Poppe (original song) – she’s such a good songwriter.
  • Jurnee – we just got a brief clip. It was enough for me to keep liking her.
  • Garrett Jacobs (Chris Isaak Wicked Game) – I loved his lower, darker arrangement of this classic song.
  • Britney Holmes (Ed Sheeran Dive) – she was the one called back by some mystery vote on ABC’s American Music Awards and she was impressive tonight.
  • Thaddeus (Katy Perry Rise) – WHOA! Two stars for him. I don’t recall his last name and it doesn’t even matter. Everybody knows he is a man to be reckoned with. The evil genius producers even messed with us during the cuts by moving him into another room.
  • Caleb Hutchinson (Josh Turner Your Man) – he’s got more than a little Scotty McCreery in him.

It appeared that they all got through. And the remaining 50 include some other heavy hitters that didn’t get air time tonight.

I really liked Lionel’s “no” to the group that failed to make the cut. I know how disappointed they are to hear that but the truth of the music business – and by the business I mean the industry – is that everybody hears no. They say there are three stages of a recording career: looking for a record deal, getting a record deal, and losing the record deal. If any of the group that got cut, as well as those that are going to be cut along the way, are going to make it, they will take Lionel’s story of how he kept on from his early no to heart and keep working at it. If they don’t, they were never going to make it, anyway. It was also nice to see how all the judges took time to console and encourage those that didn’t make it – a kinder, gentler Idol, indeed.

Tomorrow night I’ll be on the road and in the solitude of my hotel room my attention will be on my other love of basketball. While the rest of my bracket is a mess, I did pick Villanova to win so I’ll watching the NCAA championship game with great interest. My plan is still to post something about Idol. However, it will not be a recap of the Monday show where the Idolists will perform in front of a live audience and find out if they’ll move on the live TV shows and America’s votes. I hope to be able to post something about it later in the week.

In the meantime, I hope you listen to some good music. I know I will.

P.S. I really wish Adele would not allow her songs to be used on these shows LOL. I know, songs by iconic artists will have to be sung – Whitney, Celine, Mariah, Stevie, Michael, etc. – but the failure rate on Adele is almost 100%. Just sayin’.

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