Sunday night (May 20) the American Idol Final three performed for YOUR votes. On Monday (May 21) either Caleb Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett or Maddie Poppe will be crowned the NEW American Idol.
Tonight was weird. First, I’m bracing myself for the worst ratings ever. The biggest event of the American Idol season was surely overshadowed by the 2018 Billboard Music Awards.
Additionally, it was the first American Idol finale to feature a Top 3 and that format change certainly had its drawbacks. Sending the kids back to their hometowns during the biggest week of the competition was a mistake. It took them away from the rehearsal room, which is exactly where they needed to be this week, learning new songs. As a result, the performances–particularly the winners singles–were shaky and tentative.
And the judges! Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie suddenly decided to get “honest” with the contestants, after tossing them softballs all through the lives. I felt bad for the contestants who obviously did not see that coming. Being reamed follwing the first round performances literally took the wind out of their sails–Gabby and Caleb in particular. Maybe if the singers were used to some truth telling they would have known how to handle it. I don’t know. The night felt off.
Bobby Bones was back again with even more feel good platitudes for the contestants. He’s pretty useless as a mentor. And how about that surprise appearance by Journey frontman, Steve Perry. He’s retired from singing (mostly) and doesn’t do TV. Who reached out and convinced him to show up at Idol? His guest spot would have felt less like a set up if he hadn’t raved about her how Gabby’s decent but pedestrian cover of his “Don’t Stop Believing” was the Best He’s Ever Heard! Hm.
I thought Maddie had the best night overall. She manages to keep her cool no matter what. While her winners single performance of “Going Going Gone” was lackluster, her gorgeous cover of “Landslide” was the best of the night.
Poor Caleb just seemed completely overwhelmed by the pressure. He made mistakes during his winner’s single performance “Johnny Cash Heart,” and sang a heartfelt, but careful reprise of “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” He finally loosened up and showed a little fire on his last song, “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Gabby, like the others, felt under rehearsed on her winners single “Rivers Deep.” After hearing the live version, I stick by my initial reaction to the song. TOO much going on. The transitions between the gospelly verses and funky pre-choruses are super-awkward. “Little Red Wagon” was upbeat and fun, her best performance of the night. But on finale night, a reprise song shouldn’t be the standout. Gabby’s voice soared on parts of ‘Don’t Stop Believing” but faltered in spots. She seemed out of breath at times, and she wasn’t even moving around that much.
Honestly, I think these kids are just tired.
I would rate tonight:
BONUS VIDEO! Some commenters were chatting about Maddie Poppe’s The Voice season 10 one chair turn. It’s not on Youtube. But shhhhh. I uploaded it here. I actually forgot about it until I watched it again. She got a ton of attention for a singer who didn’t advance. And I have to agree. That rendition of “Dog Days Are Over” did not deserve a turn. Look how awkward her stage presence was. She’s come a long way since then. Ha Adam Levine begged her to come back and audition again. OH WELL!
Time to VOTE for your favorites!
VOTE VOTE VOTE
Favorite Final 3 Overall Performance
Favorite Final 3 Reprise Performance
Favorite Final 3 Hometown Dedication Performance
Favorite Final 3 Winners Single
Grade the Episode
Who Will Win American Idol?
Vote for you YOU think will win it all
Who SHOULD Win