Sunday night (May 13) the American Idol Top 5 performed songs from the Carrie Underwood catalog and tunes dedicated to moms. The show aired live across the United States, and after viewers’ real time votes, two singers were sent home.
I am delighted that Maddie Poppe advanced to the Top 3. Her performances over the course of the season have been consistent. She has a firm grasp on who she is as an artist. She puts her personal imprint on everything she sings. In short–she’s an artist. Michael J Woodard is also a singular talent. But he didn’t have a chance to advance. A bit too much of an oddball, there was no way he’d best the country and rock singers remaining in the competition.
So I am content with this Top 3. Cade Foehner came into this week after mediocre performances the week before. But he seemed to redeem himself with an attitude drenched rendition of “Undo It” and the vulnerable “Simple Man.” A few commenters noted that with same night voting, it’s possible viewers are basing their votes on the week before anyway. There’s barely time to register what’s happening on stage in order to make a decision. I’ll be honest, I had my votes for Maddie logged before she even opened her mouth to sing. Maybe at this point, folks have their favorites set in stone and that’s it.
Commenters also noted that Cade went out in fourth place like fellow rockers James Durbin and Chris Daughtry before him. But I think the problem was peaking early. Additionally, he simply was the weakest singer left in the competition. Swagger can only take a contestant so far.
Along with Maddie, there are two country singers in the Top 3–Gabby Barrett and Caleb Lee Hutchinson. While Cade peaked early, Caleb carved out a nice little growth arc for himself. He walked into the Idol auditions this summer a chubby boy. He got to work and lost some weight. He was sleek by the time the live shows started. And all the while he gained confidence on stage. IDOL VOTERS LOVE THAT! He could actually win the show.
But it will probably be Gabby who takes it all. She’s versatile, consistent, an A+ vocalist. Her biggest drawback–she hasn’t really established an artistic identity. Is she a country singer? A soul singer? When she covers artists, her renditions can verge on the karaoke. Yet, she’s popular. There’s no denying her vocal talent and confidence–a potent combo.
The judges got a memo to be more critical tonight, but only Katy seemed able to follow through on that. Lionel let it be known he was not comfortable with the directive. There are a couple of things going on here. These folks have careers that hinge at least partly on being liked. They do not want to piss anyone off. Also, over weeks, they come to know the contestants. They aren’t hobnobbing off stage, but the young singers are familiar faces that evoke their own histories in show business. Some artists are uncomfortable ragging on fellow artists. Unless that musical artist is Clay Aiken, of course.
Time to VOTE for your favorites!
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Favorite Top 5 Performance
Which Eliminated Contestant was robbed?
Carrie Underwood Yay or Nay?
Grade the Episode
Favorite Top 3 Contestant