Talent, Tears and Shivers

Well the talent must be good this year as evidenced by the fact that Ryan’s first-ever absence and Bobby Bones subbing changed absolutely nothing about the show. I’m still clinging to my “best talent ever” skepticism but I’m distressing my Inner Simon Cowell by handing out so many A grades. Tonight’s duets drew tears a couple of times and one full body shiver.

The Best

  • Evelyn Cormier/Wicked Game Chris Isaak – So stunning (her look). So sultry (her voice). So steamy (their connection). So sophisticated (the arrangement). So many shivers (my whole body). A+
  • Alejandro/There Will Be Light Ben Harper So subtle. So refined. The shedding of tears. Two world class musicians. One is somehow competing on American Idol. A
  • Dimitrius Graham/Love Someone Lukas Graham – So controlled. So restrained. So elegant. So many tears of joy shed. It also got the Bobby Bones Twitter Seal of Approval. A

Besides the exceptional nature of the performances, each of these duets were arranged much more creatively than any of the others.

Ever So Slightly Behind the Best

  • Wayne Cota/Broken Lovelytheband Per my hope from a prior blog, Wade was successful in turning this is a “you made it your own” situation. As always, his broken, weathered tone is the star but I loved seeing him fronting the band and the way he took ownership of the stage. We hadn’t seen that side of him before. B+
  • Jeremiah/Cynthia Erivo Time After Time Cyndi Lauper – After hearing Cynthia sing earlier in the show I was worried that she might overshadow Jeremiah on this classic song. This turned out as gorgeous as I thought it could and the only thing wrong with it is that it just didn’t quite match up to the best of the night. A-

Better Than I Expected

  • Alyssa/Issues Julia Michaels – This was the most I enjoyed her all season as she didn’t over-sing or over-emote. I think song choice is so important for her as it often is with the youngest Idolists. B
  • Eddie Island/7 Years Lukas Graham – This was the most I enjoyed him all year as Lukas got him to be more transparent and vulnerable. He can actually sing. He just needs to find the right stage persona. B

Goodbye to the Others

  • Ryan Hammond/Cynthia Erivo Hold On I’m Coming Sam & Dave – First, he lacked the swag for this song as I feared. Second, he doesn’t yet appear to know how to move his smaller body. He does have a beautiful voice, though. C
  • Logan Johnson/What A Time Julia Michaels – It was a decent vocal but Logan never seemed to connect with the song. C+
  • Raquel Trinidad/Tiny Dancer Lovelytheband – I love her personality. I love her style. I don’t love her warbly singing. And she was given bad advice about doing all the runs. And where did the song go? Even after she was told what it was about, her performance never connected with the story. C-

We have 14 Idolists left. I was sure after Sunday night that either Laci Kaye or Laine Hardy were going to win while full well acknowledging that with Alejandro and Jeremiah still in it that I couldn’t really be sure of that. And then Evelyn. Whoa. Dimitrius can flat out sing and Uche´is an exciting performer. More than a few really good Idolists are not going to win or even come close to winning.

It’s up to America’s votes now. There is nothing my Inner Simon Cowell can do to influence this unreliable process. Next week’s performances will tell us all a lot about who’s in it to win it and what America feels about that. And Alejandro will still probably wear his signature beanie. It all should be both nerve-wracking and fun.


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