Seven Things I Like and Didn’t Like About Showstoppers, Pt. II

Songs by Bad Company and Fall Out Boy were performed on American Idol? Wow. This is not your grandmother’s American Idol, people.

As expected, with fourteen Idolists needed to complete the Top 24, the producers went all David Bowie wham, bam, thank you, ma’am in creating a fast-paced finish to Showstoppers. We got our cliffhanger resolved by putting through both hangers-on Alanis (right, very deservedly) and Casey (left, much less deservedly).

Also expected was getting my weekly dose of anger and outrage as the judges chose Cecil over Drake in the final cliffhanger. This wasn’t even close so I have no [insert really offensive bad words here] idea what the judges were thinking.

And we may have seen our winner. Idol has a long, long history of its viewers picking an infamously nicknamed “White Guy With Guitar” as the winner[1]. Some – OK, one – was good (David Cook). A couple had some serious post-Idol success (Phillip Phillps, Scotty McCreery). The rest were dreadful and forgotten quickly when their seasons ended. However, in Hunter Metts, we have a White Guy With Guitar who is better than most of his predecessors and he’s good looking, too. I don’t know yet how good he is but I’m already predicting he will do well.

Now let’s get into the Like and Didn’t Likes.

I Really Really Like Willie Spencer. I was already starting to tear up while he was singing Beyoncé I Was Here and then My Daughter Diandra (MDD) said, “Nana (My Mom) would be losing it.” No holding the tears back after that. I’d like to hear him do something with a little fire or more uptempo in future weeks.

I Really Liked the entertainment value of Camille Lamb butchering Bad Company’s Feel Like Makin’ Love so badly I actually didn’t know that’s what she was singing and I was a big BadCo fan back in the day. She was shocked – shocked! – that she wasn’t put through and left with attitude. “Lots of confidence. No vocals.”, said MDD. She could easily have also mentioned the bad outfit.

I Really Really Like Grace Kinstler. She has the control, restraint and self-awareness that the more naturally talented Alyssa Wray hasn’t learned yet. Grace was Best In Show Monday night.

I Like Alana Del Sherm aka Alana who was FABULOUS on Jazmine Sullivan’s Bust Your Windows even though I think there are other R&B songs better suited for her. Something by circa-2010 Kelly Rowland like What A Feeling came to mind for MDD and I. I’m looking forward to hearing more from her.

I Like Madison Watkins even though her song choice was awful (James Brown It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World) and she didn’t sing it very well. But she’s got the look, style and big personality of a pop star. There’s a young Teena Marie vibe there that I like. Song choice will be everything for her[2]. Hmmm . . . I wonder if she knows any songs by Lady T? May as well lean into that White Girl Soul thing.

I Didn’t Like that 17-year-old Nia Renee´ wasn’t put through even though she slayed A Change Is Gonna Come. She was so much better than many that they put through.

I Really Really Didn’t Like the choice of Cecil over Drake. I know I mentioned this already but I’m still upset.

Starting next week, the decisions are out of the producers’ and judges’ eyes and ears. I have long understood and been frustrated that Idol isn’t a competition. It’s a TV show about a competition that’s really a popularity contest and it’s the producers’ job to use stories and screen time and editing to create a cast that will appeal to as broad a cross-section of their audience as possible.

But now the decisions are up to us – the viewers. The fun and frustration is just beginning.

[1] Idol even poked fun at itself about this in a Season Finale one year.

[2] As it is for everybody but I worry about the Idolists who are clueless as to what types of songs fit who they are and are capable of.

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