American Idol 2023: Zachariah Smith Shows “Ironic” Softer Side

American Idol 2023 Zachariah Smith
(ABC/Eric McCandless) ZACHARIAH SMITH

American Idol 2023 Top 8: Zachariah Smith is “Ironic,” Shows a Softer Side

While judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie performed for the king’s Coronation Concert in London, Alanis Morissette and Ed Sheeran took their places alongside Luke Bryan on the American Idol judges panel. Katy and Lionel did appear live from London via a live video feed. King Charles and Queen Camila even made a cameo (Read our Recap).

The song choices consisted of solo numbers from Alanis Morissette’s songbook and duets from the catalog of Ed Sheeran. Sunday night’s refreshing theme featured interesting song choices coming from each respective song book. The solo performances were strong, but some of the duets were even stronger. One solo cover that stood out was Zachariah Smith’s cover of one of Alanis’s biggest hits, “Ironic.” It was also one of the singer’s better vocal efforts of the entire competition. The performance felt a bit ironic, as he showed a new side of himself. He rocked out some, but overall, this was a more restrained Zachariah.

Zachariah wanted to let loose with the performance, but wanted to start his body movements at a “2 and 3…not giving it a full 10.” Alanis was in awe during rehearsal, comparing his voice to an “angel.” Fitting to the lyrics of the song, it begins raining as he sings in their outdoor mentoring setting. Alanis notes how beautifully he moves, but also wants him to move freely.

Zachariah shows a restrained side

I’ll admit that I haven’t always enjoyed Zachariah’s performances. He’s a solid vocalist, but I don’t view him as a recording artist. This performance was my favorite of his vocally. I liked this restrained side, in which his vocal still exploded with power in the chorus. His masterful phrasing and nuanced dynamics were needed at this point in the competition to win over non-fans. While he turned it down, he still had more energy than many other contestants. The song choice was perfect for him. Although, at times it did lack some of the connection that Casey Bishop’s cover gave us two seasons ago, the vocal was excellent.

Alanis says, “I saw you being in flow, enjoying yourself, and there was this liquidity that I loved.” Ed says he was “captivated through the whole thing.” Luke jokes that Lionel has never used the word “liquidity.” He notes the dynamics within the performance, saying, “you really had some tender moments in there”.” Zachariah’s bid at vulnerability appeared to pay off here.

Zachariah performed a strong duet with Haven Madison

Later in the evening, Zachariah continued to show a softer side to himself, performing an Ed Sheeran ballad, “Thinking Out Loud” with with Haven Madison who was eliminated at the end of the night. Ed just won his lawsuit over the song, where he was found not liable for copying elements of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” This performance wasn’t as strong as “Ironic” but both singers did a tasteful job on the 2010s smash hit. It was nice to see some ballads from Zachariah as I expect him to bring the energy in next week’s Top 5 Disney week.

A strong night across the board

Both performances allowed for Zachariah to advance to the Top 5 via America’s vote. The standout solo performances of the night other than Zachariah’s “Ironic” were Wé Ani’s chilling version of “Uninvited” and Iam Tongi’s dedication to his mom with “Guardian.” The real standouts came with the duets as both Wé Ani and Warren Peay’s “Perfect” and Oliver Steele and Iam Tongi’s “Photograph” came together beautifully. It was a strong night across the board, so hopefully next week, The top 5 feels inspired by their trip to Disneyland and continue to impress. Maybe, Zachariah can keep surprising and use this momentum to propel him into the finale.

About Blake Busch 272 Articles
I am a graduate of Drake University with a BSBA in marketing and minor in data analytics. My favorite shows to follow are American Idol and The Voice. I also love crime thrillers, Top Chef, and Masterchef. My hobbies include cooking, baking, playing basketball, and watching sports.