I’ll list all 24 in bullet format:
– Clint Jun Gamboa- He held back most of his song but ended well; didn’t get top 5 or a wild card opportunity. He would have done better in almost any other season.
– Jovany Barreto- Sang to an empty room due to a production glitch, and got a wild card chance out of a sense of fairness. He wasn’t picked.
– Jordan Dorsey- Sang fairly badly, picked the wrong song, and was tossed. He would have had to be the best of the night to have a chance anyway, with the bad press that he got inHollywood.
– Tim Halperin- Sang the wrong song and got tossed with no wild card shot. He deserved better, but it was a tough crowd this season.
– Brett Loewenstern- Sloppy but entertaining, he surprisingly didn’t make the top 5 men or get a wild card opportunity. It was a sudden end for one of the most entertaining contestants all season.
– James Durbin- Sang Judas Priest and moved on easily.
– Robbie Rosen- Randy called him out for his intonation which cost him top 5 status, and then he sang perfectly in the wild card round but was dumped anyway. He was a victim of demographics, I think, and he deserved to be in the final 13.
– Scotty McReery- He was still pretty amateurish at this point, but he sailed on to the next round with the highest vote total of anyone.
– Stefano Langone- He missed a note or two and didn’t get the vote, but he was terrific in the wild card round and moved on.
– Paul McDonald- He reprised “Maggy May” and moved on easily.
– Jacob Lusk- Showed promise of things to come, and moved on easily.
– Casey Abrams- Over the top, but still plenty to move on. He was pretty sick this week from his bowel issues.
– Tatynisa Wilson- Bad, and gone.
– Naima Adedapo- Sang well but didn’t get enough votes. She was terrific in the wild card round and moved on by the skin of her teeth.
– Kendra Chantelle- Sang well but missed some late notes and didn’t get the vote. She sang so well in the wild card round that Slezak is STILL complaining about the fact that she didn’t get a spot.
– Rachel Zevita- Terrible song choice and even worse low notes got her tossed right away.
– Karen Rodriguez- Got the vote and moved on to the finals, but probably by a tiny amount. She wasn’t all that brilliant, and she was listed last by dialidol.com.
– Lauren Turner- Sang great and got tossed without even a wild card opportunity. Bad luck there, kiddo, having the wrong first name this year. Just be grateful that Nigel didn’t actually have you killed.
– Ashthon Jones- A pair of pedestrian performances got her into the finals anyway. Not to be cynical but it’s obvious that she was thrown a demographic bone, in a year when Idol was going to ride a heavily white crop of contestants to the end. She really didn’t deserve the spot by merit.
– Julie Zorilla- Frosting Girl was horrible and got tossed. I was never a fan, but she was better than this.
– Haley Reinhart- Pulled out all the tricks and got enough votes to make the finals.
– Thia Megia- Sang sweetly and got plenty of votes to move on.
– Lauren Alaina- Sang well and moved on easily.
– Pia Toscano- Shocked just about everyone with a dynamic performance that featured several blow us away high notes, and moved on and to the top of the power rankings.
Final Thirteen to the Tour
Ashthon– Gone right off the bat. She was an outlier anyway, not as good as the rest of the contestants though she tried mightily.
Karen– Gone in the second week of the finals. She was one of the weaker contestants anyway, so she went to her Spanish demographic and got a couple of showcases in before she gracefully exited. She was really good in her finale performances.
The rest of the finalists made the tour, since Casey got the save in round of 11 week.
Top Eleven to Top Seven
Naima- Naima was very underrated as a live show contestant. She delivered terrific performances in three of her four chances, only falling short with her “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. She brought new things to the show with her African dancing and her original rap lyrics, as well as her reggae performance of “I’m Still Standing”. The judges were asleep at the switch here and didn’t point these things out, so she got bounced too early to gain traction.
Thia- She went out with Naima, which was about right. She made the tour, and she will be an asset there; not needing to do anything but what she does best: sing the crap out of ballads.
Pia– Several internet gadflies jumped on her back, saying that they knew all along that she was going to get dumped early, but that’s ridiculous. Pia was well situated to compete all the way to the end, and she hadn’t even scratched the surface of what she was capable of.
Paul- Paul got about the right spot for him, finishing eighth. He’s going to be a popular indy artist for years, and I expect that we’ll see him from time to time on Idol down the road as a guest.
Stefano- He never really got traction with the voters, and as a result he sang fairly scared the entire way. He’s a songwriter and a true musician as well as a guy with a terrific voice, so he’ll get some opportunities.
Top Six to The Nokia
Casey- He’s a better singer than Carson Higgins, but he probably wasn’t one of the hundred best pure singers in the competition. He was the best all around artist, though, so his sixth place finish was probably about right. I have no clue whatsoever where we’ll see him again, or what he’ll be doing. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him acting, or combining music and comedy. He has some options, and knowing that he’s not going to be singing with the Three Tenors might focus him some. He has even more tricks up his sleeve than we saw on the show.
Jacob– The poster boy for the simple truth that singing in tune is more important than raw tools. Jacob had the best vocal skill-set this year, even over Pia and James. His persona wasn’t popular, though, and Idol didn’t do him any favors. I’ve seen enough of him outside the show to know that he is sort of an idiot about public relations, and mostly a raw kid with big dreams and an inflated sense of self. He’s going to get spanked, and not in a good way, until he learns some humility and how to project himself to the public. Oh, and he needs to sing in tune, or the cameras will go away for good.
James– JD did a lot of growing on the show, and a lot of good things. He brought the rocker persona out and gave us a lot of high energy performances to counter all the ballads. He was always emotionally honest, maybe to a fault. He had a couple of moments, particularly his “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” which highlighted just how good his voice sounds when he sings a great melody. Idol didn’t help him much. They mostly rode him like a plow horse, taking the money from his entertaining performances and never teaching him to move to another level; a level that could have made him more of a contender. KD didn’t grow an inch as a singer; he might have actually taken a step back, since he lost the ability to use his high range effectively at all by the end. He got too caught up in the theater, and forgot that this is a singing competition. He’ll be fine, I think, and get an album out by early next year. I’ll certainly listen to it. He still has a world class set of pipes, and I find myself really liking him and rooting for him.
Haley– I’ve said so much about Haley already that I’ll just be repeating myself if I say anything more. There are over a dozen contestants I’ll follow closely from this season’s crop. Haley tops the list. She gets the “Allie” and the “Sha-Von” awards (to come in the next article) and she will have another award named after her, for the contestant who improves the most during the season.
Lauren– I’ve been on her back a lot. She makes mistakes that some of the other contestants didn’t make, but wasn’t ever judged for them. As a result, like JD and a couple of others, she didn’t progress like a kid with this much talent would be expected to. That said, once I listened back to her performances I changed my mind about her. She was visually hard to watch at times, which led me to dun her for her singing as well. Listening back, even though she struggled with her movement her vocals were really impressive, in almost every case. She was virtually never out of tune, and when she was anywhere near her comfort zone her voice rang out impressively. She has an amazing tone, and she deserves some credit for being more than a karaoke singer. For one thing, she won’t be old enough to sing in a bar for five years. When she sang in the duets on Thursdays, she was almost always amazing. The only time she wasn’t was when they matched her up with Scotty, who doesn’t have nearly the vocal power that Lauren does. Her duet with Haley, “Gunpowder and Lead”; was one of the best performances in Idol history, let alone this season.
Idol shilled for her endlessly all year, and manipulated to get her to the finale, which was just a dumb thing to do, but we all get carried away when we are scared. Idol must have felt that they needed her in the finale. I have no problems with hammering Nigel and the judges for this, but I stop short of hammering Lauren for it. She was just competing, and doing the best that a young, inexperienced kid can do. She held it together, and never had the fall apart moment that several readers predicted. I am high on her future, but I caution her to make sure that she keeps herself centered and develops her life skills to go with her musical skills.
Scotty– It’s not easy to win Idol from the lead like Scotty did. I don’t believe that anyone had ever won after being the leading vote-getter as early as the semifinals. Scotty led every single week. I was against him competing in the finals, because I knew that he couldn’t be judged by Idol standards. His voice isn’t all that strong, and he can’t sing anything other his own style. His weaknesses were worked around, though, and Idol paved a nice little road to the Nokia for their little Dorothy.
If that bothers you, I understand and at some level I agree. Idol would have been amazing this year, and much more dramatic, without Scotty. The final four might well have been JD, Pia, Haley and Lauren. That’s an amazing final four, isn’t it? I would love to hear any of those four singing three songs a night, for the win. Haley might have gotten some better songs to sing, and had several more moments. Pia, had she survived her ouster, might have grown into a total monster, a moment machine. Lauren, with the producers pushing her to get better instead of just pushing her to make it deep, might have grown into a much better performer herself. JD, surrounded by singers instead of stylists, might have spent more time on his vocals instead of his stage props.
That said, Scotty earned his confetti shower. He got progressively better as the season went on, and he developed some performance chops that will serve him well when he gets out on his own tour. I am sure that he is ready right now to headline his own shows, and he’s going to sell one hell of a lot of albums (ok, nobody sells albums anymore, but you get the gist). He already has three number ones to his credit, a week after the show ended.
As I talked about in my Scotty comments, Idol would have been more dramatic had Scotty simply been given a recording contract and sent toNashville. His dominance took most of the drama away, and rendered the finale performance show an afterthought. I looked up the ratings and they bore this out. The finale performance night was down a bunch from last year, while the finale was way up, coming in with an overall rating of just under 30 million. Nearly 40 million (!!!!) viewers were watching when Scotty was crowned, the highest in several years.