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The NGH Report - American Idol 18's Top 7: "Mother's Day"


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The NGH Report - American Idol 18's Top 7: "Mother's Day"


We are finally into two songs a night! And by finally... I mean, it's been like a week since we had the Top 20... Jeez, this season flew by in such a dizzying pace. What a sad bit of luck for these poor contestants. Well, let's get to it! Like every year with a Disney theme... the performances were fine with a side of lackluster. But the Mother's Day round was much stronger and provided us with a few performances that we may actually remember a few years down the line. I think the result of this season, as you will see in the statistics below, is pretty well baked in by this point: barring a surprise finish, Arthur Gunn is poised to be the 18th American Idol.


And look, I have no problem with that. Personally, I love Arthur. He's my jam. But, I think even if you aren't a fan... it's actually a pretty important first for Idol. Yes, he's another dude who plays a guitar and sings alternative folk... but... that doesn't change the fact that he would be the FIRST male winner of color since Season 2's Ruben Studdard. He would be the FIRST Asian-American winner of American Idol. Also! He would be the first immigrant, or non-American born to win American Idol! So, despite the fact that it all may feel a bit familiar, this would definitely be a first for the show and that's exciting to think about!


Let's take a look at how they handled the week!


7. Louis Knight - "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and "You've Got A Friend"


The verdict is in: Francisco Martin will likely outpace and out compete the more confident Hollywood Round contender, Louis Knight. Louis has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride during the Finals and he struggled to create an identity for himself as a musician. He's pleasing to listen to, but rarely was he able to elevate the material he selected. There just wasn't a solid game plan at play here. His Disney round number was repetitive and never went anywhere and his Mother's Day round was more solid, but still faded into the background immediately after he finished. I feel very confident about this prediction. NOT SAFE.


6. Sam Diaz - "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and "I Turn To You"


I know I'm in the minority around this forum because I hold this opinion, but I can't help it: Sam Diaz is the biggest disappointment for me this season. She started the season with a hell of a story and an incredible ability to connect with the lyrics of a song and squeeze out every bit of emotion to create something wholly original on that stage. Her Hollywood performances were just killer! She was one of my early favorites! But, something about switching to singing at home has just sucked all of the soul out of Sam Diaz. She doesn't seem focused, she can't seem to really dig into a song, and so we are left with solid vocal performances utterly lacking in any magic. It's sad to see, but yet, Sam still seems to have a very solid fanbase out there. Clearly, she won a lot of people over in Hollywood and they have stuck with her, but, to me... it's the story that has got them wrapped up, because vocally... it has been an utter snoozefest. NEVER GOING HOME.


5. Julia Gargano - "Beauty and the Beast" and "Sweetest Devotion"


This was an uneven night for Julia. The reworked Disney tune was odd and unsettling melodically and it did nothing to play to her strengths as a songwriter. It was normal and a bit rote. The Mother's Day round was much stronger and vocally impressive, but it still wasn't strong enough to offset the earlier issues. I think if she was able to sit down at the piano and throw something unique at us she may have had a shot, but I think we likely say good-bye to her next episode. NOT SAFE.


4. Francisco Martin - "You're In My Heart" and "River"


Francisco gets the "most improved" award from me. He has a very solid growth arc and it appears, if I'm looking at the numbers, that audiences are responding well to his growth. Both performances in this episode were very solid. There wasn't anything that made me want to replay over and over again, but it was a strong set with very confident vocal performances. He's infectious and the grandmothers must love him. I feel very good about his making the finals, and I think he's becoming another dark horse in this competition. Also, Luke will most certainly win his best with Katy. NEVER GOING HOME.


3. Dillon James - "Our Town" and "Hang On, Hang On"


I was worried about Dillon after last week's Beatles flub. I thought he was going the way of Sam Diaz, but yet, he found the emotion tonight and dug in to two superbly picked songs to showcase his strengths as a storyteller. He ended the evening with a heartbreaking take about his ups and downs in his relationship with his loved ones and the camera work focusing on his family probably earned him millions of votes. He couldn't have had a better night, but that's the problem. There's a limit to Dillon and he hasn't really been able to break out of it. He's a great storyteller, but vocally... there's a gear we are still missing. NEVER GOING HOME.


2. Arthur Gunn - "Kiss The Girl" and "Hey Ma"


I thought "Kiss The Girl" was playful, solid, and fine, but I thought "Hey Ma" was chill-inducing. There's a magic to his upper register and the alternative folk tune really allowed him to showcase it. He won't be everyone's cup of tea, in the same way Phillip Phillips wasn't, but... it's a singular voice. A singular sound. More often than not... voters gravitate towards contestants who have that quality. He's a consummate musician and I think he still has a quite a bit left in him for next week. NEVER GOING HOME.


1. Jonny West - "Almost There" and "Amazing Grace"


"Almost There" was a smart choice. It was solid and you really get the impression that you could hear his voice singing on a Disney soundtrack someday, but his best performance, and the performance of the evening has to be his original alteration of the classic, "Amazing Grace." Not only did he dedicate a song to his Mother, but he re-wrote it to feature her story. Each lyric was beautifully written, honest, and impeccably placed. It was a stirring moment and one I won't easily forget. We haven't seen this Jonny since he sang his original in his first audition. He's very smart and very good at this. We will see if he makes the Finale, but if he does... I'll be very curious what he concludes his run with. NOT SAFE.


Prediction Statistics


Another very accurate week for our prediction statistics! We said that Arthur, Sam, Jonny, and Julia would be called safe, and they were. So, we are currently sitting at a 90% accuracy rate. Let's see how we do this week.


 The contestants below who are bolded are currently outside of the margin of error and are predicted as being "more likely than not" placed into the Top 5. The contestants in BLUE are contestants who have improved their vote share week over week. The contestants in RED are contestants who have decreased their vote share week over week. Those in BLACK showed no difference week to week. So, where does that leave everyone else? Very much within the margin of error. So, this is predicting 4 out of 5, with another three contests in the margin of error. 


The big story of this week? Significant movement upwards for Francisco and Dillon... but, the trend remains the same: Arthur Gunn is getting stronger week over week and he is currently locking in more than half of the vote. Huge lead. 


Arthur - 59.6%

Sam - 11.6%

Francisco - 8.1%

Dillon - 7.4%

Jonny - 6.1%

Julia - 3.7%

Louis - 3.3%


Who should go home?


Louis and Sam


Who will go home?


Louis and Julia


See you next week!



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been waiting for your recap. and like always don't agree with the ranking. I don't think jonny was the best and I didn't like his second song. arthur and dillon gave the best performances this week and the only to have two great performances while everyone else had mixed night with only 1 good performance. both dillon and arthur were just 2 levels above the others this week.  

Ignoring the top 5 spoilers, though, francisco can have an edge over arthur if he reprises his original from hollywood week and steal the win from him. sam doesn't have any chance at winning.  these are the top 3 vote getters if social media meter is an indication. jonny and dillon are left fighting for the 5th and 4th place. the two leaving are julia and louis just based on their performances this week. they were the weakest.  


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42 minutes ago, thenghreport said:

Personally, I love Arthur. He's my jam. But, I think even if you aren't a fan... it's actually a pretty important first for Idol. Yes, he's another dude who plays a guitar and sings alternative folk... but... that doesn't change the fact that he would be the FIRST male winner of color since Season 2's Ruben Studdard. He would be the FIRST Asian-American winner of American Idol.

It's just arguing semantics at this point, but Laine is half-Korean. His mother's side of the family immigrated from Korea, with her being first-generation American, I believe.

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Im with you about Sam. Her song choices and the way she handled them giving her own spins, plus her connection and poise on stage made her look as a undescovered star. Now, at home, she totally lost it. Uninspiring song choices, lazy vocal aproach and the connection is not there anymore. Only thing that worked for her with this format is the fact that early pimped will move on. But is not about that, specially this year. Its about stand out enough to go somewhere else once they can perform outside and shes not doing It. Hope she gets her mojo back at time to pursue her career outside the show.


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