American Idol 2021: Grace Kinstler turns in a subtle and intimate performance
Tonight, on American Idol, Arthur Gunn and Hunter Metts went home. Hunter really hurt for me. He has been one of my personal favorites from the start and “The River” is a song I fell in love with before his audition too. Caleb Kennedy stayed safe, even with the lowest amount of followers and often the lowest social media hits.
My guess is that the Southern vote, which has always been a strong part of the American Idol base, is keeping him safe. I wonder how far those votes can take him. Now, let me shift the focus to the standout of the night, Grace Kinstler. Yes, Chayce had an emotional moment with his original “Mama.” And Casey shined as she returned to her rock roots. Willie delivered solid vocals, especially the first half of “Yellow.” But Grace really put on a show.
“Fix You” was her first song. Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin, advised her to switch to this song even though Grace hesitated. Chris wanted subtleness and soft moments. But Grace wasn’t so sure. Maybe Chris had Sam Smith’s version in mind, as it is more in Grace’s style. I would’ve liked to see the fun and belty “Hymn For The Weekend” that she almost sang, but this was a moment. I hesitated at “Fix You” as well, as many singing show contestants have performed the song over the years. But Grace delivered here, and it was my favorite of hers to date. I loved the nuances and emotional connection that she brought, that she sometimes lacks. I also noticed the crowd loving this song, and applauding at the start.
Grace Kinstler sings Coldplay’s “Fix You”
Lionel Richie applauded her for her vulnerability. Katy Perry compared the performance to “breaking through a façade” and added that her “vulnerability is a strength and people resonate with that.” Luke said he almost let out a swear word and went on to say that it took him out of what he was doing.
For her second song, Grace sang Adele’s “When We Were Young” with a lot of dynamics built into the arrangement. It started soft and nuanced like “Fix You” but then she let it all out with some gorgeous belts. She sang the first big note a bit flat, but she came back and nailed that final belt on “restless.” Overall, the performance was touching, and a very good display of Grace’s talent.
Grace Kinstler sings Adele’s “When We Were Young”
The judge’s comments do not have a lot of purpose in the live shows. Katy said how proud she was of her. Luke called it “magical” and Lionel used the lyric from the song that “it was just like a movie.” These comments do not describe the performance, but the show’s direction of not critiquing performances often render the comments meaningless. I’ve read multiple comments by fans expressing annoyance over the judges’ lack of substance. I could use more substance, but I know I won’t be getting much anytime soon.
Grace is a contender to win it all. I hope that Casey is as well, but who knows. I am not sure who will be in the top 3, but I’m pretty sure Grace is getting closer and closer to sealing a spot in the finals. Hopefully her original wows like she wowed tonight.