I came into what is, in effect, Idol’s Disney Night semifinal round Sunday night with two vital concerns. First, what would my level of enthusiasm be after spending over eight hours this week watching the world’s greatest music competition – the glorious annual global spectacle that is the Eurovision Song Contest? Idol can’t compare with that.
Second, how will I deal with the existential dread that We´Ani may not make it into next week’s Final, and how will I react if that possibility should occur? You should have seen and heard my outrage and displeasure when Netherlands and Georgia failed to make the Eurovision Final. And why was the public vote so strong for Finland and their song that my Dutch/UK friend referred to as “lightweight escapism”? Could I withstand such agony once again?
Let’s have a look at how the Idolists – and I – did on Sunday night in order of performance. As I was not familiar with most of the songs, it was fun approaching them with no other versions to compare the Idolists’ versions to. I came at them like a professional Eurovision judge (see footnote #2, below) by evaluating vocal skill, stage performance, song production, and overall entertainment/impression (which is what I always do, anyway).
At this point (and probably weeks ago), performances don’t matter much. Viewers picked their favorites some time ago, so now the Idolists are really singing more for our entertainment than our votes. But as I am building a case for post-Idol success in the business – and by the business I mean the industry – a semester of grades is what I build my cases on.
- 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
Wé Ani – Into the Unknown from Frozen II. She slayed everything: stage performance, production, appearance, and overall impression. Looked, acted, and sounded like a star. A
Zachariah – Just Can’t Wait to be King from The Lion King. Always shouty, never subtle. Other than his frenetic energy, there was nothing noteworthy about his stage performance. And the judges were rather lackluster with their comments. Nice shirt, though. C+
Colin – Real Gone from Cars. Great song choice for him. Like the judges, I thought this was his best performance. However, like Zachariah, Colin has only two gears to his voice: loud and louder. B
[note: I’m struck that unlike with We´Ani, the judges implored the audience to vote, vote, vote for Zachariah and Colin. Not sure how to interpret that.]
Megan – Carried Me With You from Onward. WOW. WOW. WOW. A beautifully presented and stunning, self-assured vocal performance. One of the best performances from anybody on this or any season of Idol. I was in awe from start to finish. A+
Iam – Lava from Lava. This was rather perfunctory in all categories: vocal performance and arrangement, production, and overall impression. It was the first time this season he bored me. B-
Wé Ani – The Climb by Miley Cyrus from Hannah Montana: The Movie. Once again, she is in a class by herself. That was an amazing arrangement. The vocal skill she has is impeccable: high, low, soft, loud, slow, fast, whatever it takes to make a unique impression. A+++++++++++++
[The performance of Part of Your World from Little Mermaid by Halle Bailey was the third best of the night after We´and Megan.]
Zachariah – Life is a Highway from Cars. Always shouty, never subtle. Other than his frenetic energy, there was nothing noteworthy about his stage performance. And the judges were rather lackluster with their comments. C+
Colin – Nobody Knows by The Lumineers, from Pete’s Dragon. Meh. His voice was pleasant enough, and his solitary presence was solid, but he breathed nothing into the song. It was a dynamically flat vocal performance. B-
Megan – Carried Me With You by Brandi Carlisle from Onward. A solid but not a particularly impressive performance. That said, Luke nailed it – she does so much with her voice so effortlessly. And Lionel nailed it – her voice is instantly recognizable. B
Iam – Father and Son by Cat Stevens from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Beautiful song choice. That was a better performance than his previous one. And Katy proclaimed him as the next American Idol?? At this point in the contest, a statement like that is quite knowing and intentional.
The results (Tom – Dim the Lights! And Here We Go! And if We´Ani doesn’t make the cut it is a crime against humanity and the gods of Music will be severely displeased.)
In: Colin, Megan, and Iam.
Out: Zachariah (finally) and We´Ani. I am obviously disappointed but I also knew she had no chance from the start. Her too-soon exit was fully anticipated.
I expect that Iam will win.
One more Sunday to go. See you sometime after the Finale as I will be out of town for a family event next weekend. I’ll try to post some thoughts prior to that. For now, I leave you with this gem.
 Tuesday, Thursday, and four-plus wonderful hours on Saturday.
 Each participating country has a jury of judges that are music industry professionals, and their votes have equal value as the public. The multi-point voting – 12 points are given to your first choice, 10 points to your second choice, 8 points to your third choice, etc. – is a great aspect of Eurovision. This year’s winner Sweden won because the professional juries ranked them much higher than the public favorite Finland, who finished second. I’m quite certain Idol results over the years (including, apparently, this one) would have been very different if the votes of music professionals were included with the public vote.
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