And Then There Were (the right) Three

Thank you, America!!! As long as My Girls Gabby (MGG) and Maddie (MGM) got into the Finale Three, I didn’t really care which Idolist was going to be the third, although my wish was that it wouldn’t be Cade. And Huzzah!! Wishes do come true! But this makes the choice of who is going to be the next American Idol VERY interesting.

Caleb getting to the last week instead of Cade suggests that the country voters came out in full force. This now pits him and his old school country style against MGG and her more current country-mixed-with-pop/rock/soul a’ la her idol Carrie Underwood. The last time similar choices confronted the voters they chose Scotty McCreery over My Girl Lauren Alaina. With Lauren being the bigger star now and the obvious comparisons of MGG to Carrie, will they go with the girl this time?

But the plot is much thicker than that since the Finale also includes the incredibly talented MGM. Can she overcome the country-voting trend of the past few years? It’s been pretty clear to me that the judges have (quite correctly) seen this season as a competition between MGG and MGM for several weeks now.

We’ll get our answers next Monday. For now, I am satisfied that, at least for the moment, the voters got it right.

This brings me to my critique of the judges. They led the show saying that at this late point in the competition, they needed to give “more of a realistic critique tonight.” Sadly – but predictably – they failed to do so. That, once again, leaves it up to The Missing Mean Judge to turn in his Realistic Critique Report.

Songs of Carrie Underwood aka The Most Successful Artist in the History of American Idol

  • Michael J Flat on the Floor – This was his best, most deliberate (per Luke), most controlled vocal of the year, and his most comfortable stage performance. And most surprising given that this was a country/rock song. B+
  • My Girl Gabby Last Name I was praying all week that MGG would do this song and hot %$#* that was hot! Once again, a sold out, kick-ass, completely owned performance in terms of the vocals and working the stage. It was Carrie Underwood 2.0.[1] A+
  • Cade Undo It He got good advice from Carrie who told him he can’t always be at full throttle. Per that advice, he did start out well. But then he got to full gargle throttle and things fell apart. Good guitar solo, though. C
  • Caleb So Small He was nervous and his voice was shaky. C+
  • My Girl Maddie I Told You So The challenge for artists as talented as MGM is that they can do so many things with a song that they over-think what the right thing to do is. The result is that they lose the soul of the song and their performance. However, she got great advice from Carrie to not over-think and gave another exquisite performance that was pure Maddie. A

Songs about Mom

  • My Girl Gabby I Have Nothing (Whitney) – A brave and perhaps foolhardy choice. Because My Girl can sing, this one had its moments but it also had some technical issues due to song choice. She was ever so slightly off tempo. And she was nasal to the point of borderline screeching on the big Whitney-notes. I think the tempo was caused by her anticipating rising to the Whitney-notes when those notes came. And her thinking about that had her singing from her head rather than her heart which, although she sang with great energy as always, meant she sang with less feeling. B
  • Cade Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd) He finally kept it understated and heartfelt. For me, this was his best of the season. B+
  • Michael J Still I Rise (Yolanda Adams) Nothing wrong with it but nothing to keep my attention, either. C+
  • Caleb (some country song by some country guy) Perfect song choice. Crystal-clear vocal. B+
  • My Girl Maddie God Only Knows (Beach Boys) In the Glory Spot, MGM didn’t give her best vocal performance but delivered an emotional and vulnerable performance consistent with her style of Maddie-ishness. A-

The Missing Mean Judge has some words for this week’s mentor Carrie Underwood. By combining her experience on Idol with her thirteen years of growing from Idol winner to megastar in the business – and by the business I mean the industry – Carrie was a perfect mentor. Her advice to each Idolist was spot-on and tailor-made and resulted in strong performances by Michael J, MGG and MGM.

It all comes to a conclusion next week. Nothing about this week changed my mind. While either of My Girls would be a deserving winner, I feel that MGG, i.e. Carrie 2.0 has the greater market potential. But I’ll be fine with MGM winning, too.

See you next week. Until the next time, I hope you get to listen to some good music. I know I will.

______________________________________

[1] My comparisons of MGG to Carrie are to Carrie’s time on Idol. By that standard, the comparison is legitimate. This does not mean I believe she will ultimately have Carrie’s career. But comparisons to Carrie are a decent place to start.

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