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Posts posted by ScarletDevilCCX

  1. All By Myself - LaToya London, Jasmine Trias, Gina Glocksen, Asia’h Epperson, Pia Toscano, Jordan Sasser, Grace Kinstler

    Georgia on My Mind - Nikko Smith, Kendra Chantelle, DeAndre Brackensick, Clark Beckham, Willie Spence

    Blackbird - Carly Smithson, Chayce Beckham

    I Have Nothing - Trenyce, Leah LaBelle, Jennifer Hudson, Vonzell Solomon, Katharine McPhee, LaKisha Jones, Shannon Magrane, Jessica Sanchez, Sonika Vaid, Gabby Barrett, Grace Kinstler

    A Change is Gonna Come - Gedeon McKinney, Syesha Mercado, Adam Lambert, Lilly Scott, Joshua Ledet, Willie Spence

  2. It's the finale, so we have a guest star leading off. "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, eventually joined by the Final Three. As usual, Katy looks like a new person every week. We've got all sorts of other guests announced, from Fall Out Boy to Leona Lewis to Lindsey Buckingham. Like in Season 17, you can't afford to wait until you've heard all the performances to vote because they're cutting the third-place finisher midway. Which sucks because you have to commit to your votes. You can't unvote, at least on the text side. I guess theoretically it shouldn't matter? Grace Kinstler is leading off with Celine Dion's "All By Myself". Grace, Grace, Grace! This will play fine with casual voters, but to a hardcore Idol fan, this might be one of the worst songs to pick, because you're not only inviting comparisons to a past showstopper, but one belonging to arguably the most robbed contestant ever. You're not going to outsing Pia Toscano on this, and to win with that when she went out in ninth...it's not happening. Also, it wasn't great. 54...oh, hey, wait, this is judges' choice! Looks like someone's got the bus. Willie's up second with Ray Charles's "Georgia on My Mind". It also wasn't his best...a 66, maybe? I'm still hung up on the "All By Myself" busing, because I remembered after writing that that "I'll Stand By You" was actually Pia's showstopper, though she did reach 5 stars with All By Myself. Rather, LaToya London had the showstopper with that song, and after she got ousted in fourth, that group of judges assigned it to Jasmine Trias. Now that it's become the first song to ever be used to bus two separate contestants, "All By Myself" joins the infamous likes of "One" and "Love You Inside Out", both of which ruined perfect games for multiple talented contestants.


    Speaking of inviting comparisons to previous contestants, Chayce Beckham has been assigned the Beatles' "Blackbird". I absolutely loved Carly Smithson's rendition of this song in Season 7. Chayce's version is not quite as good, but still better than the first two contestants. 75. Luke invites Chayce out to go bass fishing with him. Mom disagrees with me and likes Chayce the least, and says he sounded stoned. I ask what the problem with sounding stoned when singing a Beatles song is. :haha:


    Blue Moon Mango Wheat, which I'd forgotten we had because it was buried behind other beers. Hometown dedications are up next. Grace is from Crystal Lake, IL, a suburb of Chicago, and is performing at U.S. Cellular Guaranteed Rate Field. Apparently as a teenager she sang the anthem there. The background music is "Fix You", which wasn't one of her better performances. Now we see her at Crystal Lake Central High School. ...Are you kidding me? "All By Myself" isn't even going to be her highest repeat factor of the night? "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston is the song choice, which means she gets to not even be the best of the ABC era on a song. I'd give this a 64 or so; she didn't screw up but she didn't do much for me.


    Next up is Willie Spence's return to Douglas, GA. He goes to South Georgia State College. His song choice is Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come", because we're apparently not allowed to have any first-time songs in this episode. That said, while I know it has been done on this show before, there's no performance of it that's sticking out in my mind. I think maybe it was best done in Season 8, which I didn't actually watch? This episode continues to underwhelm but this is not bad. 76, I guess; I think it was the best so far, but still can't give it a 5-star rating. Luke says that "we've seen that song on this show a few times before", so maybe it has been done more recently? I don't know.


    Next is Chayce Beckham's return to Apple Valley, CA. We're reminded that he crashed his car while drunk. We first see his co-workers, then his family--oh, yeah, the dog with the Chayce t-shirt! And we finally get a new song, Chris Stapleton's "Fire Away". Also, finally a five-star rating from me. 82. The judges comment on how much confidence he's gained. Chayce is about to walk off the stage when Ryan calls him back to talk to him. We get a message from Lin-Manuel Miranda, promoting his new film "In the Heights", and also to announce that each of the top three's local music programs are receiving a hefty donation. And then the director comes on stage to talk to Ryan for a bit, and then we get an extended actual preview. To be fair, I was already a little interested.


    And now we get the eliminated contestants' duets. Ryan mentions that Mickey Guyton was an American Idol alum too. To be honest, who isn't these days by their definition? So many successful artists have failed to even reach the voting phase. She's teamed with Alyssa Wray, and it's better than most of Alyssa's performances this year. Now Ryan announces the top two. Willie Spence is the first to make it, and he's joined by...Chayce Beckham.


    Oh, now the goofy stuff. Tom McGovern, rejected auditioner who writes jingles, recaps the season in song. And then Graham DeFranco's back with Ryan, introducing the next guest--Fall Out Boy, with "My Songs Know What You Do In the Dark (Light 'Em Up)". That's not a new song! I'm not used to the established artists not using the platform to debut new songs. Oh, right, they need something accessible to the contestants--I see Chayce, Willie, and Hunter, though presumably there are more. What's the cut-off to make the list? Ryan teases that the next set includes Chaka Khan and Leona Lewis, plus a special performance from Willie.


    Chaka's joined on stage by our four highest-finishing females, Grace, Casey, Cassandra, and Alyssa. I'm mad all over again seeing robbed queens Casey and Cassandra. Now another schtick, about how messed up Lionel was not being able to hug contestants during the auditions. Oh, Willie is doing Calum Scott's part of "You Are the Reason", his duet with Leona Lewis.


    Graham DeFranco's back again, joining Sheryl Crow on "If It Makes You Happy". Is he secretly the reason the producers decided to allow any level of past contestant other than winners to come back? ...No, he was eliminated early enough that the last set of rules would've allowed him to come back. And they continue on into "Everyday Is a Winding Road". Ryan says Graham jumped up there at the last minute...he's like the mascot for this season, I think. Oh, right, Ryan mentioned that the judges would each be performing with finalists. Our next segment has "fan favorite" Murphy (okay, I agreed when "Murphy left too soon" was a line in Tom's song), followed by Luke Bryan teaming with Casey Bishop. Not the contestant I would've expected him to team with, but then again, Chayce hasn't been eliminated yet and all the other country singers even as far back as the Top 24 have their issues (including, apparently, Hannah.)


    Yeah, we see that apparently Twitter was up in arms about Murphy's dismissal. He's singing an original called "Am I Still Mine?". It's...not great, honestly. His cover of "Painted Man" is a bit better, though. Katy and Luke both have a residency at Resorts World Las Vegas this summer...and so does Celine Dion...and Carrie Underwood! The latter has a message for this year's contestants. Actually, so does the former, but it's not the same as when it's coming from Idol's most successful alum. And Ryan announces that there's a contest to win a free trip to Vegas for these shows! And then we see Luke's trip to Whisky a Gogo with Casey. Oh, they mentioned a talk box...Luke's the one stepping out of his genre! It's Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer", because this show just can't be subtle. Of course Casey nails the song that produced the lowest WNTS rating ever for an eventual winner.


    Lionel's singing "One World" along with some of the contestants. Which ones? Looks like Willie, Grace, Hunter, Alyssa, Cassandra...is that DeShawn? Oh, and there's Casey...and Chayce. So I guess that's the entire Top Ten, minus Arthur because he was part of the returner gimmick and Caleb because he got thrown out. And now another kitschy bit, with the other judges singing the wrong words to Lionel's songs. And Cassandra Coleman gets to team with Lindsey Buckingham on "Go Your Own Way". Again, it's amazing how a season can be so strong and still be so wrong.


    Grace Kinstler joins with Alessia Cara on "Scars To Your Beautiful". Okay, fair enough. Unfortunately, we're back to "judges butchering each other's lyrics". At least Katy gets to add a stuffed fish to the proceedings. Luke Combs, who I've never heard of, is joined by Chayce Beckham on "Forever After All". I like Chayce better.


    Katy's going to be singing with Hunter, so it's her turn to have her lyrics messed up by her fellow judges, except Luke actually manages to get the correct words to "Hot N Cold". They're singing "Thinking of You", acoustic version...Katy plays acoustic guitar?


    Okay, now this is one of the good parts of the finale--roasting the final two. Chayce is up first, being mocked for his slicked-back hair and for general "country" stuff. He's singing Ed Sheeran's "Afterglow", and it's damn good. 90. Oh, wait this is a reprise round! And now Willie's reprising "Stand Up". Apparently he judges chickens back home...what's Graham doing in this segment too? Willie wins this round, I give this a 94, but it's not enough; Chayce is my pick.


    And Chayce is the winner! I'd say "not surprising given the Final Three", but we had a break after eliminating the third-place finisher for Willie to make a comeback. The credits roll over his performance of his single "23".



    Man, for a season with so much talent, they still managed to rob people left and right. Season 11 was like that too; the Top 7 was incredible, but imo the least talented of the seven won it (though he acquitted himself nicely...honestly he was the best in both Top 3 and the Finale, but he never should've made it that far).

  4. We're now 0 for 5 on getting a song making its Idol debut in this episode.


    Also 0 for 5 on getting this normally generous rater to hand out a five-star score. Though at least they've mostly been four-stars. I don't know, no one's been bad, but no one's been great.

  5. BUS ALERT! I was chewing Grace out in my review for this song choice, saying it would do fine with casual voters but any hardcore Idol fan would not appreciate it because you're not outsinging Pia on that song and with how robbed she was, it would be an affront to the show to win with it. And then Ryan mentioned "Judges Choice".


    ...Except I'm getting my songs confused. Pia did sing "All By Myself", and sang it well, but it wasn't her showstopper; "I'll Stand By You" was. It was one of LaToya's, and it was the exact same song they used to bus Jasmine after she outlasted LaToya. Which is kind of appropriate since Grace is being bussed for exactly the same reason.

  6. I didn't think there could be a shock boot in a field this strong, but this qualifies. Hopefully she still gets signed; the fact that they made the "winner singles" all the way at Top 4 tells me that there's major hype for all of them.

    • Like 1
  7. 1. Willie Spence – “Never Be Alone” (Willie Spence)

    2. Casey Bishop – “wish you were gay” (Billie Eilish)

    3. Casey Bishop - “Live Wire” (Mötley Crüe)

    4. Grace Kinstler - “Father” (Demi Lovato)

    5. Casey Bishop – “Love Me, Leave Me” (Casey Bishop)

    6. Grace Kinstler & Willie Spence w Finneas – “What They’ll Say About Us” (Finneas)

    7. Casey Bishop & Chayce Beckham – “Break My Heart Again” (Finneas)


    8. Willie Spence - “I Was Here” (Beyoncé)


    9. Chayce Beckham – “23” (Chayce Beckham)

    10. Willie Spence – “Glory” (John Legend & Common)

    11. Chayce Beckham - “Wish You Would Leave” (Chris Stapleton)

    12. Chayce Beckham – “Colder Weather” (Zac Brown Band)


    13. Grace Kinstler – “Love Someone” (Grace Kinstler)


    14. Grace Kinstler – “A Moment Like This” (Kelly Clarkson)




    1. Casey Bishop

    2. Willie Spence

    3. Chayce Beckham

    4. Grace Kinstler



  8. Man, Idol is not having a good year with male contestants, are they? First Benson Boone drops out in between being selected to the Top 24 and the airing of the Top 24 reveal, leading to the show only getting to show 23 of the "yes" verdicts and having Anilee List relegated to a Ryan Seacrest voiceover, since she initially wasn't selected. Then Wyatt Pike makes the Top 16 and drops out between performance night and the reveal of which 10 members of the Top 16 America voted into the Top 12. Then it comes out that had Cecil Ray been voted into the Top 16, he probably would've had to be disqualified for, if I was reading correctly, being abusive to his wife (girlfriend? I don't remember if he was actually married, just that he had a newborn baby that was the focus of the producers' pimp segments. Kind of awkward when one of your family values contestants turns out to be an abuser). And now Caleb Kennedy has been disqualified for apparently being part of the Ku Klux Klan Kids. I'd make a joke about a stealth Season 12 situation, but the remaining guys are still really strong and besides they only acknowledge the FOX seasons when it comes to claiming alumni (often dubiously) so their scorecard is 2-1 females for winners.


    I also wonder about how they're going to pace the episode since it was originally specced for five contestants, but Ryan quickly answers by mentioning that the remaining Idols will also be doing a reprise performance, which wasn't on the original schedule. Finneas is the guest mentor. Chayce Beckham leads off with "Colder Weather" by the Zac Brown Band. The judges have nothing but empty platitudes, but then again, there's not much to critique. 75--nothing spectacular, but nothing wrong. Tonight's drink is vodka and cranberry again, by the way--even starting my intro early, it took me most of the way through Chayce's song to finish writing it.


    Casey Bishop is in her element with this guest mentor, since for her personal idol pick, she's going with a Billie Eilish song, "wish you were gay". I almost forgot to not use capital letters when writing that. Special effects department on overdrive again. This performance is, of course, amazing. Well, I shouldn't say "of course"; she has had some off performances, but this certainly isn't one of them. Casey might be my favorite contestant ever. Earlier I was thinking how with Caleb gone, we're likely going to have my favorite winner in quite some time (well, okay, Maddie beats out Grace for sure and maybe Willie, but she's the only one in the last decade), and Casey would certainly challenge for my favorite winner ever. Nope, we're past that. That's a 100, and Casey just dethroned Haley Reinhart as my favorite contestant of all time. Speaking of "all-time", Ryan teases that Grace is going to be doing an iconic song from Idol history and asks us to guess which one. Hopefully it's not one that's been covered a million times, and is instead just one from one particularly memorable performance, but knowing how tapped into their fanbase this show isn't, it's probably an OWS.


    Oh, but first, we've got Season 17 champion Laine Hardy here to perform his new single, "Memorize You"! At least I think he is...nope, he's just there to promote it. And yeah, Ryan says Grace Kinstler is paying tribute to the OG Idol, Kelly Clarkson. I don't know how I guessed it, but I was thinking it'd probably be "A Moment Like This", and it is. That said, this isn't automatically going to be a disaster. ...the segment with Finneas isn't promising, though. ...Okay, it's not bad. She at least doesn't make the mistake of trying to be Kelly. Until she does, but even that kind of works. I'd still only give it a 57, but that's not bad at all. Oh and we actually get some technical talk!


    Willie Spence closes out the first set with "Glory", by John Legend (his choice for Personal Idol) featuring Common. Finneas says that Willie's mild-mannered but with a voice that could stop a train. Willie also pointed out that this could've just as easily been his pick for "Oscar-Winning Songs" night. It is, of course, good, but not as good as when La'Porsha did it in Season 15. 78. Katy's at a loss for words, and Luke says Willie will save people's lives with his voice. Then we get Finneas and Ash...but first, maybe I misunderstood Ryan before, because now he said we've got duets on the slate? Anyway, I could do without Ash. Finneas is pretty good, though. Song's very good. I like it.


    Oh, nope, we do have both reprises and artist singles. They had real record producers team with the contestants, and the singles are already charting. Usually winner singles are for the finale! Chayce is up first with his original song and first single, "23". He mentioned it during his segment with Finneas. It gets an 82 from me. And then Chris Stapleton's "You Should Probably Leave"--oh, it's a double! That's how they're extending it out. Also good; I give it a 76 (I sense myself squeezing numbers because songs I initially rated close to one another, they're going to stick other songs between them.) And Katy prompts Chayce to reveal that "23" is currently #1 on the Country charts--see, we didn't need Caleb! Casey's up next, with her single along with the Motley Crue song from her audition...and we've also got Willie and Grace on a duet. So maybe the reprises were always on the docket, and the duets were the fix? I guess that makes sense; I feel like they've done 3 songs at Top 5 before in the ABC era, and having two songs back-to-back makes it go a bit quicker.


    Casey did initially audition from home via the Idol Across America program, with "Live Wire". But before she reprises it, it's her new single, "Love Me, Leave Me". 98, and then she seamlessly transitions into the harder rock of "Live Wire"...well crap now I have to break the ratings scale again. Not for this...well, okay, for this too, it gets a 101. But I still liked the Billie Eilish song better! So now that gets a 104! I try, I really do. I want to critique, kind as I am, but I can't help but devolve into fanboying when it comes to Casey. Next is Finneas's "What They'll Say About Us", sung by Grace and Willie. It's a good fit for their voices, I give it a 96...I'm not being critical at all tonight, am I? It's tough. This is an extremely strong Final Four. I wrote that "not being critical" comment when I was still planning to give this a 92, but they pulled it up even further. But before we get any more of the contestants, Luke's going to be leading us off out of the next break.


    "Waves" is Luke's new single. As expected from a professional, it's a 100 for me. Yes, that means Casey still beat him out twice. ...Actually, I'll give it a boost for that sick guitar solo. He gets a 102; Casey only beat him once. ...Oh, that's all we get before another commercial break.


    And we've got another alumnus, Season 16's Michael J. Woodard! Ryan's given up on mentioning seasons by number, instead listing them by year. Oh, right, 2017 was the gap year. Michael's got his first single coming out, "Why You Texting Me?". And we get a flashback to Grace's audition. Her single is called "Love Someone", and...it's not great? Not bad; I have to give it a 63 because it was better than her Kelly Clarkson cover. And then her reprise, "Father" by Demi Lovato. Ah, so the flashback to the audition was foreshadowing! Ah, yes, I remember her singing this before and I think I had some feelings. You know, like the ones I'm having right now damnit Grace stop making me cry. ...100? I dunno, don't take my rating too seriously because I'm emotional right now. And we don't get a commercial break before launching into Willie's new single "Never Be Alone". ...Okay yeah my ratings tonight are super-inflated. Based on how I rated Casey's songs, this one gets roughly a 111. His reprise is "I Was Here" by Beyoncé, and it's a 90, which is still "basically a standard Willie Spence performance". In most seasons he'd be a clear favorite for me. We go to commercial with only a duet left, because of course we do. Well, the countdown timer hasn't started so we do officially have word that duets count.


    Casey and Chayce are doing "Break My Heart Again". It's a 95, though it's a very telling one. I missed it at first since I don't always watch the screen, but coming from a musical family, my mom caught something very interesting. Chayce is clearly not suited to duet work; he mouths the parts that he's not singing which is very unprofessional. I mean, I'd do the same, but I'm not a professional, or even a terribly good singer.


    Did Ryan say the finale is three hours? The first person through to the Finale is Chayce Beckham. He's followed by Willie Spence, because this show is still awful at make it suspenseful...wait, what?! I was thinking to myself that they always make the mistake of having the most obvious advancer left on the stage with the obvious elimination, but nope, it's a genuine shock boot. Grace moves on and Casey goes home in 4th place.

  9. Love this analysis! Though I feel like the "funnels" bit can be a double-edged sword in the era of 3-person finales, because the "vote splitting" can actually take hold there. The obvious things to look at are Season 10 vs. Season 16. There's a clear parallel between their respective final threes. Old-school country male, country-pop female, non-country female. In both cases, the two country contestants aren't actually catering to the same fanbase, but there's some overlap. In S10, when Top 3 wasn't the finale, Haley got eliminated. I maintain to this day that this was complacency at work--I was still on the official, FOX-run forums at the time instead of here at IDF, but I remember that a lot of the other Haley fans there felt like her making the Finale was a foregone conclusion after James was eliminated in 4th. And to be fair, that seemed like a logical conclusion given what we'd seen in Season 3's Top 7 and Top 4, and arguably Season 6's Top 4 and Top 3 (though the latter could have also been the same phenomenon I'm about to discuss). Given how on edge we'd been all season when she was one of the only ones getting criticized by the judges and regularly landing in the Bottom 3, I felt like this could be dangerous. And the thing is, country is very polarizing. It's clear that someone who dislikes country would rather see Lauren in the finale than Scotty, though obviously they'd rather see neither. And I feel like what happened might have been that too many people assumed that Haley making it was a foregone conclusion and floated Lauren some votes to try to get her past Scotty, just like how Melinda was easily the best contestant in Season 6 but went out in 3rd place as a result because people saw it as a referendum on who should join her in the finale. In Season 16, on the other hand, Caleb and Gabby just split votes and Maddie won easily. Seeing that Top 3, Gabby being in third was pretty obvious, because Maddie had the advantage of being the only non-country singer and Caleb had the advantage of being the only guy. Taken to its extreme last year, we had a five-person finale with 4 guys and one girl. With little in the way of other vote-splitting factors (Jonny and Francisco were the only two that I'd really consider to share a genre, and Sam herself might've split the "sob story" vote with Dillon but apparently it didn't hurt her), the lone female won.


    As I post this, we're now down to our Final Five. And I'm still not sure which combinations of Final Three are best for each contestant.


    Willie: The obvious best Final Three for him would be going up against the other two guys, Caleb and Chayce. No, they don't really overlap, but they sort of do. Caleb's first performance last night sounded more rock than country to me, and they did both sing originals while playing guitars and being white in Round 2. But he'd also do fine against Casey/Chayce.

    Grace: ...I don't think Grace is going to win. Her best bet is probably against Casey/Chayce since I think they actually have the most overlap in style...at least when Casey is doing rock. Thing is, Casey's also gone off and done classics a number of times. So maybe she's in the best position against Caleb/Chayce, too.

    Casey: Possibly Caleb/Chayce again, since she can outrock both of them or go stand out with the standards. But I'd lean towards Willie/Grace, because they're both belters and Casey can stand out by staying on the rock side.

    Caleb and Chayce: For both of them, it's almost certainly Willie/Grace. Again, I think they've actually got the most overlap, and despite their differing genres technically, they can only benefit from the other being eliminated and leaving them alone in the WGWG category.

  10. Poor look on the freshness factors for Willie and Arthur. And Grace? I was actually looking forward to this topic to jog my memory about who else sang "When We Were Young". I guess that wasn't in a voting round? I feel like it happened just this year.


    Yellow - Alex Preston, Willie Spence

    In My Place - Louis Knight, Arthur Gunn

    Fix You - Majesty Rose, Ashley Hess, Grace Kinstler

    You Are So Beautiful - Taylor Hicks, Danny Gokey, Jessica Sanchez, Rayvon Owen, MacKenzie Bourg, Willie Spence

    Simple Man - Bucky Covington, Lee DeWyze, Trent Harmon, Cade Foehner, Wade Cota, Arthur Gunn

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