Ryan: “There are some saying this is the best Top 7 in American Idol history.” People saying this are idiots, and Ryan is getting paid enough to reject spouting such nonsense.
We learned that Noah and Fritz were isolating due to COVID. I took into account that their experience as performers – Fritz through recorded rehearsals and Noah in a hotel room – put them at a disadvantage to their competition.
The Idolists were mentored in Round 1 by wil.i.am, who I thought was a great coach. His most significant message was to connect to the audience by showing vulnerability and being emotionally connected to what they’re singing. I am not a Black Eyed Peas stan, so I was pleasantly surprised, mainly since he covered one of my pet peeves – Idolists singing notes without feeling.
As always, here are my rankings in order of their performances using my usual scale:
- A – Superior
- B – Good, often meaning positive moments out-weighed negative ones
- C – Meh, nothing memorable or distinctive
- D – Ugh
- F – A Gots-to-Go Situation
Round 1 (something about TikTok)
Leah Electric Love BØRNS That was the very depiction of “Meh.” C
Jay (I Have Nothing Whitney) When I heard that Jay would be doing Whitney, you can be sure that my first note on Jay was “uh-oh.” But the following note was, “WOW.” He is killing it now that he’s no longer oversinging. Everything about his tempo, tone, and vocal flourishes was perfect. That said, I’m always concerned about the career relevance of doing Whitney songs. I’d love to hear him do something more contemporary. A
Fritz (original song All My Friends) I’m sorry he couldn’t perform live, but I was delighted to hear him perform original music from his EP. While it wasn’t his best vocal performance, he was still able to showcase his song-writing ability and breadth with a rocking song from his EP, which is still #5 on iTunes Pop Albums. A-
Christian (Lonely Justin Bieber) He got excellent advice from wil.i.am to evoke emotion through quietness and took that advice – for a while. Unfortunately, Christian reverted to his shouty self, especially on the most critical word in the song, “lonely.” D
Huntergirl (You Broke Me First Tate McRae) She turned a dark, quiet song into a more loudly emotional song. Maybe because I like the original so much, I had difficulty connecting with Huntergirl’s take on the song. As always, she looks like an experienced professional on stage. B
Noah Thompson (Painted Blue Sundy Best) Noah wisely took wil.i.am’s coaching on how to connect emotionally with the song. For me, that was Noah’s best performance of the season. A
Nicolina (Alone Heart) Ooof. Like Jay, I was concerned about the song choice. First, there is the iconic Carrie Underwood Idol performance. And it’s as classic as classic rock gets. And it’s one of my favorite songs and videos ever. But WOW. A very clever and well-performed arrangement kept her from being a poor copycat. I heard a few wonky notes from her as she pushed her upper register, but overall, this was well done. A-
Round 2 Songs for Mom
Jay (Song to Mama Boyz II Men) Schmaltzy and unoriginal. C+
Fritz (original song The Ocean) One solitary man with a guitar inexorably drawing you into his world and feelings. This was exquisite lyrically, instrumentally, and vocally. A+
Leah (Sanctuary Nashville Cast) The judges used words like “angelic,” “purity,” and “listenable.” I agree with all of them. A
Huntergirl (Like My Mother Does Lauren Alaina) This was just OK for me, dawg. Vocally, it was below her usual standard. B-
Noah (Landslide Fleetwood Mac) Awful. This was a pitchy, somnolent mess devoid of any emotional connection to a beautiful song. He needed wil.i.am’s coaching. F
Nicolina (Light in the Hallway Pentatonix) Gorgeous. Flawless. Spellbinding. Somehow, she brought a dreary song to life. A
Christian (Dear God Smokie Norful) His choice of a Smokie Norful song finally helped me understand what kind of singer he aspires to be. As usual, Christian performed with his Doin’-Too-Much vocal style. The contrast between him and Nicolina is so stark. She sings loud and soft. He sings loud and louder. D
Jay and Christian being cut were very predictable. R&B/Gospel singers haven’t done well on Idol in ages. I’m surprised Jay got this far, although I think he is a talented singer who showed growth during the competition.
Before next Sunday, I hope to provide my thoughts on the remaining five Idolists.
Until the next time.