The First Votes Are In. Were They Right?

One would think if you’re showcasing America’s favorites among THE GREATEST TALENT EVER ASSEMBLED IN THE HISTORY OF MODERN CIVILIZATION then the production quality of said showcase would have matched that of the alleged said talent. Instead we had to endure the most plodding, most awkward and, at times, most clumsily amateurish episode of Idol ever. It felt like everybody was confused at some point in the show. Maybe a little more time spent rehearsing to avoid the “when does the band come in?” pauses before the Idolists sang would have been good. Maybe less faux suspense by Ryan giving each Idolist the good or bad news. Maybe we didn’t need the “winners” to sing although then they would have had to fill the time with even more commercials about that Nebraska TV show that will last only a few weeks.

It was fitting that the best moment of this badly scripted show was when Lionel went off-script to lecture America from the stage on their low esteem for Uche´ and then to walk him straight into the Top Ten Zone. After that spectacular performance of Diamonds, I would have done the same thing as soon as my full-body tingling calmed down. (A long-time devoted reader of this blog hates Diamonds. I adore her but she’s wrong.)

As to America’s voting, we got some insight into how they’re viewing the wide disparity in singing styles. Other than my outrage over Walker Burroughs being voted in and the sultry soul of Evelyn Cormier being voted out (her version of Kansas’ Dust in the Wind needs to made into a record stat[1]), I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed. I get that Evelyn’s unusual voice will appeal to a narrow set of people and Idol isn’t the place where she will find those people.

Of those that America had in their Top Seven, Madison Vandenburg, Jeremiah (he reminds me so much of Rufus Wainwright!), Laine Hardy, and Alejandro validated their votes with quality performances. Alejandro restored my confidence with a band-backed, uptempo reprise of a song he did earlier this year. On the other hand, Laci Kaye was surprisingly somnambulant in her worst performance of the season, while Wade Cota had high energy but little dynamism on Skynyrd’s Simple Man.

As to the judges’ picks, I would have put Evelyn in the Top Ten over Alyssa Raghu. And I was very pleasantly surprised by Luke’s choice of Dimitrius who’s the best pure singer in the competition by far. However, it will be uphill for them and Uche´ as the bottom vote getters and they likely won’t last long.

I’ll end with this thought. It was interesting that Dimitrius chose to sing when the party’s over by Billie Eilish who is currently breaking streaming and sales records. With her anti-pop star persona, she may be to pop music what Nirvana was to rock music, i.e. a herald of reversal in terms of what an “idol” is. In this season of Alejandro and Uche´ and Dimitrius and Evelyn – Idolists selected by judges in the music business – I’m guessing the voters[2] will miss the (potentially) shifting trend in favor of the tried and true. Some of the “traditional” Idolists are really good, too, and so there is this tension. I think I know how this is all going to play out but I’m curious about how we’ll get there.

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


[1] I had actually imagined her singing this song at some point this season! Her live version was as good as the one in my head.

[2] Which includes voters on The Voice.

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