WHAT?????? ^&(^$#*$#$^*)&^ BRAIN EXPLODE
Huntergirl, Noah, Leah.
[allows the shock to subside and normal blood flow to return]
It should have been Fritz, Noah, and Leah. And Fritz wins.
I’ll editorialize further at some point. I’m just too stunned at the moment.
For now, here are my rankings for this episode 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: Carrie Underwood Songs
Huntergirl (Undo It) Good performance, decent but not great vocal. I’m starting to tire of the limitations of her range. It’s giving every song a sameness. B
Leah (I’ll Stand by You) I’m paraphrasing a nice thing Carrie said when comparing herself as an Idolist to Leah, “I just sang. You have artistry.” She was recognizing Leahfying! As to Leah’s performance, she brought as much artistry as is possible to such a treacly song. A-
Fritz (I Wanna Remember Needtobreathe feat. Carrie Underwood) The song he chose says everything about Fritz. Rather than choose a Carrie song, he chose a song by a group his style is more aligned with but one that Carrie sang on. Besides being a great vocalist, he has charisma on stage. A
Noah (So Small) Coming off COVID, it’s fair that he would be below par. Objectively, this was sleepy, strained, and not arranged for his voice’s sweet spot. He sold the lyrics well, but his showmanship is still the weakest of the remaining Idolists. B
Nicolina (Blown Away) Carrie said Nicolina made the song her own. I don’t think it was a good thing. The song was over-arranged in a way that never brought all the pieces together. She was also shouty and a pitchy mess for the first time this season. She’s got a big voice but maybe not always a big rock-song voice. I was previously critical of her when she sang Since You Been Gone. C
Round 2: Songs That Could Close Their Show (before the encore)
Leah (Journey Separate Ways) She stood on holy ground, and the ground became Leahfied. She needs to record that version. It was magical. A+
Huntergirl (Little Big Town Girl Crush) Compared to Leah’s Leahfication of a classic, Huntergirl’s performance was too routine. I’ll give her some points for another cool outfit and being comfortable on stage. C+
Fritz (Five Seconds of Summer Youngblood) THAT is how a show-closing performance looks. Not the greatest vocal at times, but the performance fit the theme. A-
Nicolina (Adele All I Ask) NO. MORE. ADELE. SONGS. I cannot fault Nicolina’s skill. She sounded great. She looked great. But when Adele sings this, literally everybody is crying. This song is a plea. A prayer. It’s not meant to be a platform for vocal fireworks. C-
Noah (Larry Fleet Working Man) And Noah gets the Glory Spot and likely his invitation to the Finale. Sitting on a stool, playing his guitar, Noah delivered a solid, straightforward performance. Nothing special, though. B-
And then Ryan gave us the results . . . OK, a little editorializing. Here are three texts I sent prior to the show to a long-time loyal follower of these Musings.
From Noah’s first audition, I had him in the Finale as this season’s WGWG (white guy with guitar). He’s better than most have been. I had Fritz in because I thought he was the best Idolist this season. And I thought Idol voters’ fascination with country singers would send Huntergirl into the Finale over Leah.
When Ryan called Huntergirl first, I thought that was the signal that Leah wasn’t in. It NEVER crossed my mind that Fritz wouldn’t make the Finale.
Noah will win but I’m #TeamLeah.
 And too lazy to roll the tape for the exact quote.