And so it was that I mostly let things go on Idol over the last few weeks. I’ve talked about it with friends and my spouse, and I talked a bit here without making any new predictions…
And somehow, my very first list has proved to be frighteningly accurate.
Ultimately, I misjudged (kind of, but I’ll come to that) two singers out of 12, which is surprising even to me.
So, let’s talk about who is left:
Hollie: It scares me sometimes just how closely Jimmy and I are in our thought processes, to the point where I’ve started checking my house for microphones. Hollie and Jessica are essentially the same performer… only Jessica is much, much better. This marks the third week that Hollie has given a really weak performance. She needs to go.
Honestly, I feel bad for her, as when she’s on, she’s on. But lately, the only thing she’s been able to nail have been choruses. I suspect she’d have a great career as a chorus-singing backup girl on rap records.
She was one of two people who I misjudged out of the gate, as I felt from the start she should be higher up in the competition. Of course, I said someone might flame out. Looks like it’s her. This is good news for Jessica, as all the people who abandon Hollie will run to Jessica, assuring she stays safe for weeks to come.
Elise: Honestly, I’m still blown away that Elise has gotten this far. Not because she’s bad, but because she was way, way down on the bottom during the opening weeks. She pulled herself out of her pit mightily, and it’s been fun to watch her.
People saying she did a bad job last night? That she picked the wrong song? Nah. I don’t buy it. She made two critical mistakes, though. Sticking to the original Lite FM arrangement, which makes it hard to give the song a peak, was the first. The second was starting the song low so she could do a key change and FAKE a peak was the other.
I suspect if she’d come out and let someone back her up on a solo piano, guitar, or best of all an old Fender Rhodes, there would be less complaints. Regardless, I thought it was nice. Not great, but nice.
Deandre: This is where we stop losing people who had an off week here or there, and start losing people based on good will and whether or not their performances were PERFECT. Not just great, but PERFECT.
Deandre was a save, and he’s divided viewers of the show who alternately love or hate his sweetness and super-high, super-crazy falsetto. He did a great job this week, even managing to convince my wife, who hates his style of music, that he put on a truly great performance. That’s saying something.
All that said, he can’t hold on for very much longer. He’s been close to the bottom, and the shark is coming up to devour him. Still, a great run for someone who was saved in the first place.
Colton: Colton truly is my Hayley this year. I’ve really not enjoyed most of his performances, and I think his biggest problem is that he doesn’t realize what kind of artist he is.
That said, I dug his performance this week. He finally hit his “rock” sweet spot, which is not actual rock, but Coldplay rock. He even did a solid job with Skylar. My wife and I think the two of them should form a Lady Antebellum-style group and go on the road.
Now if he could just figure out where his actual strengths lie, I’d like him a lot more.
Joshua: ‘S funny. The judges love him, and that’s nice, but while Hollie and Jessica are tapped as being the same, no one seems to get that Joshua and Jessica are also the same. But Jessica looks comfortable up there, and Joshua is still talking about his comfort zones. That’ll kill him, and all his voters will move to Jessica.
Phillip: Originally, I had Phillip dropping out a lot earlier, and I can still see it happening. The boy has an attitude problem. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s just a touch too blunt to go all the way. And this week, the judges fawned over him again, and you know what?
He was flat. He was flat for most of the song, trying desperately to scoop his way into higher notes he didn’t have the range for. As a bonus, he didn’t have a range for the low notes either. Which kind of proved something I’ve noticed about the show. If you see a singer having a problem with a song during coaching, 99% of the time they STILL have that problem later.
This week, everyone was all, “Phillip wasn’t quite there when he came in. But we know he’ll get there!” No. He won’t. The song was too high in rehearsal, and Phillip was not going to add two or three notes to his upper range over a few days.
The guy seems to genuinely enjoy performing, to the point where he’s having surgery and then coming in and doing his thing. But he really showed how limited his range is now, and that’s going to haunt him.
Skylar: Skylar took a song that’s pretty much a punch line these days, and sang it so well certain people got tears in their eyes. I told my wife weeks ago that she could really take this thing, being a country-rock girl with an impressive range. And at times like this, I suspect I’m right.
Jessica: Jessica scares me a little bit, with her talk of alternate personalities and her impossibly huge voice. I remember reading not long ago that Whitney Houston was that good at around that age, and then I see how Whitney turned out, and I shudder inside.
She may or may not deserve to win, depending on how you feel about this, but the recent deaths of Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston kind of haunt me on this one.