Showstoppers: The Final Judgement – Night 1

For whatever reasons, I came to Night One of Showstoppers: The Final Judgement in full Simon Cowell mode, a mode/mood that only got worse after hearing versions of Whipping Post and Proud Mary within the first three performances. Until the first commercial break, I thought that the channel was somehow switched to reruns of Midnight Special[1]. Can I put into nomination legislation that bans performances of Proud Mary? A Tina Turner imitation is not only risky, but it also says nothing about how you expect to compete as a current artist. When Katy compared Nutsa to J-Lo, my immediate reaction was that Nutsa should have done a J-Lo song.

After a desultory performance by Michael Williams and recognizing that he will probably make the Top 5 just because of his looks, my mood got downright ugly when PJAE and Malik Heard were inexplicably forced to compete against other because they have similar styles or something? That certainly fits my casting theory (see later in this piece).

Ah, but this time the judges and Evil Genius Producers (EGPs) got it right by putting both through to the Top 24. That said, if I had to pick one (against my will), it would have been Malik. Each of them had some vocal flaws in both performances (their choice and the judges’ choice) but PJAE’s were more noticeable and objectionable. Also, thank you judges for having them sing-off on a Billie Eilish song (Everything I Ever Wanted) that is both current and open to interpretation.

And then my mood went to positively ecstatic when PJAE’s Hollywood duet partner We´Ani drew upon the spirit of Jennifer Hudson with an inspired performance of Aretha’s Ain’t No Way. She looked and sounded like a star.

Alas, it was downhill from there. Were the judges and EGPs seriously considering cutting one of PJAE or Malik in favor of Zachariah Smith with his state fair-level Queen performance? After all these years of knowing how reality shows are put together, I still get frustrated that Idol is like them, in that it is also cast and scripted despite being a talent competition. Some talented cast members have to go and some less talented cast members get to stay, both in service of creating a compelling weekly television series.

So here are my brief musings on the first nearly half of the Top 24 of THE MOST AMERICAN IDOL TALENT EVER!!! For this round, I’m merely dividing them into three groups based on their perceived ability to compete AFTER the show: Simon Says Yes, Simon Says No, and Simon Says Maybe.


  • We´Ani (YES, YES, YES!!!)
  • Malik Heard
  • PJAE


  • Nutsa
  • Michael Williams
  • Zachariah Smith
  • Lucy Love


  • Kaeyra (but leaning YES)
  • Warren Peay
  • Tyson Venegas
  • Haven Madison (but leaning NO)

As always, these evaluations are not my predictions of future results and are constantly subject to re-evaluation under the light of my withering musings. I am right now deeply invested in reevaluating KAEYRA for a potential upgrade and will blog on those reevaluations soon.

See you after Round 2 of Showstoppers: The Final Judgement. Maybe I’ll be feeling less Simon.

[1] A show from the 70’s that featured live performances.

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