Wha’ Happ’ned???

fullsizeoutput_1ba6Uh, #WOW and Oh Em Gee. Like Katy Perry, I didn’t see that coming.

Wade and Madison (in particular) have consistently been the bottom vote-getters when there were even more Idolists in the competition. What changed that suddenly put early darlings Laci Kaye and Jeremiah into the bottom with only six left?[1] This put the judges in a real bind of having to decide which one of two season-long faves to use their one save on. Welcome back, Laci Kaye. Farewell, Jeremiah. For the record, I agree with their choice while agreeing with anybody who thinks they were clearly the wrong Bottom Two.

I’m really confused.

Anyway, I got asked an interesting question via text from a friend – “Who is your favorite?” It took me a while to realize that I don’t have a favorite this season.[2] In past seasons I’ve had clear favorites like Crystal Bowersox, Jax, and La’Porsha Renae even if I didn’t think they would win. In other years I’ve had clear faves that I thought should win like Adam Lambert and Lauren Alaina. But this year I haven’t viewed any of the Idolists from the standpoint of being my favorite.

So beyond telling my friend that I didn’t have a favorite, I explained that the remaining Idolists are all talented in some ways and flawed in others. With that in mind, here is how I see each of them at this point with most of the season behind us.

Madison – She has a big Kelly Clarkson-like voice at such a young age. But she hasn’t learned how to connect with her songs emotionally and sell those emotions in her performances. And while there is a lot of potential there for her to grow in those areas, the pop music market isn’t currently demanding new stand-and-deliver type singers (which may have been Jeremiah’s problem).

Laine – There’s really nothing wrong with Laine. He’s fine. He’s good. He’s OK. But in terms of branding, these are the worst things to be. There is a consistent sameness to all that he does and he consistently does nothing that elevates him beyond, fine, good and OK – and be a star.

Wade – What Madison needs to learn, Wade has in spades – the ability to connect to and sell a song. Unfortunately, while his gritty voice has flavor, it also has so little nuance in it, the range of emotions he can express is diminished. He can take you a little bit high and a little bit low but that’s it and so it’s hard for him to keep my attention.

Laci Kaye – For me, she has the most interesting and compelling voice in the competition. She’s able to put her own stamp on non-country songs such as Blink-182’s I Miss You and I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick. Many times this season she earned the Bobby Bones Seal of Twitter Approval. For these reasons, I thought she could win. But she’s also lacked consistency. Tonight was a case in point: a dull To Love Somebody (Janis Joplin) followed by a much better than expected with some really, sweet moments Open Arms (Journey). She also hasn’t figured out how to move on stage which can make her dull vocal performances even more dull.

Alejandro – He is far and away the most musically talented person in this competition. Alejandro hears music different than the rest of us and can put whatever he’s hearing into songs. His goth-meets-Nine Inch Nails performance tonight of Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love was utterly and singularly brilliant. His exquisite guitar playing is stunning. Artists such as Stevie Nicks and Ben Harper are in awe of him. But by Alejandro’s own admission, “I’m still learning how to sing.” That’s obvious and I find the gap between his singing ability with the rest of his musicality hard to bridge.

Based on tonight’s voting results, I am totally confounded as to how this season is going turn out much less who is going to win – as if winning matters. Last year’s third-place finisher Gabby Barrett performed tonight and is another of many Idol examples of non-winners getting record contracts. But since there is going to be a winner, I’m with Katy – let’s pick the least traditional winner possible – Alejandro.

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[1] I’d really like to insert something funny here about vote hacking and election meddling but it might be too controversial. Oh, I just did, didn’t I?

[2] For her part, My Daughter Cassandra knew I didn’t have a favorite and that I really hadn’t realized it yet.

 

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