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The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 12: "Perfection is an illusion."


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The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 12: "Perfection is an illusion."

 

Big week of Idol!

 

We had our first night of the Finals followed by a never-before-done comeback performance twist. I'll speak a bit more on the twist at the end of the article, but for now let's focus on this Top 12.

 

Clearly, we have a lot of strong singers this season. Like... a disgusting amount of strong singers. So, the articles this season will be, more likely than not, focusing on performance and strategic choices, since these contestants are singing at such a high level. Obviously, you can be a great singer but play this game terribly, and I think we saw a few folks eliminated already for that very reason. 

 

Let's first discuss our eliminated finalists:

 

Beane Hepler - Oh, Beane! Why did you get up from that stool? When I first heard that he was going to be singing the song from Dirty Dancing I was like... huh... dumb. Then he sat on stage, with a guitar, and started to flip it to something new and interesting and I was like... huh... smart. Then, he stopped doing that and started to get up and karaoke up the place and I was like... huh... dumb. This was my thought process that night because I was absolutely exhausted. Don't judge me. The point stands though! If you were just saved by the judges you have to go big and bold and make an impression! This wasn't it, so it was no surprise to see him eliminated.

 

Madison Watkins - I actually thought, as per my rankings below, that Madison did the best out of the eliminated contestants. I don't think she really made a strategic mistake. She graced us with a mature, dependable, Idol performance. Nothing wrong with it. So, why was she eliminated? She just didn't have people! She's been an underdog throughout the competition, was luckily saved last week, and returned only to be eliminated. I think we all saw it coming. She should be proud to leave on two strong performances.

 

Ava August - This one pissed me off. No, not because I believe it wasn't warranted; it was. Ava made a class Idol error... she fell for her own press. She had a standout week in the semi-finals where she delivered a one-two punch of "Driver's License" and the Groban duet and then she proceeded to try to build on that press by delivering two very ethereal and divisive performances. Did she sound lovely? Yes. Was she inviting? No. I think a lot of the general audiences just weren't grabbed by the indie pop princess vibe. Ava's fantastic and will be fine, but it was frustrating to watch her fall prey to a pretty obvious trap. 

 

On to the rankings!

 

12. Alyssa Wray - "This Is Me"

 

I'm pretty much done with this song. The Greatest Showman isn't a great musical and this song is incredibly emotionally manipulative. Look, I suppose it was a good choice for Alyssa! She's a dramatic singer performing an overwrought melodramatic tune! I just feel like Alyssa now stands out to me as the most confused contestant remaining. She's just... a lot. The only thing I want to see from Alyssa for the next few weeks is to prove that she can actually do something subtle. She's got a top-notch voice, made for musical theatre, but there has to be something else there otherwise I grow bored very quickly. It's all a bit too paint by numbers. 

 

11. Grace Kinstler - "Happy"

 

Why the hell are we singing "Happy" as a competition song? Grace is, let's put this nicely, not great at song selection. She is very lucky she has one of the strongest voices in this thing because she is not great strategically. It's why I'm way more confident than most that Grace could be a shock elimination in the next week or so. I mean... "Happy?!" This is a contestant whose voice can move mountains and we are picking this type of material? Dumbfounding. 

 

10. Beane Hepler - "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" ELIMINATED

 

Please see my comments above.

 

9. Ava August - "City of Stars" ELIMINATED

 

Please see my comments above.

 

8. Caleb Kennedy - "On The Road Again"

 

We've now reached the "just fine" stage of this weeks rankings. These are the folks who did themselves no harm and maybe even attracted a handful of new fans. Caleb's performance was simple, lacking any real difficulty, but it was solid. This is who he is. He's an authentic country presence and this was a very popular song. He stood there and sang a very respectable karaoke version. No changes, no risks, just enough to move on in the competition. 

 

7. Chayce Beckham - "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"

 

Very similar to Caleb's comments above. Just fine! Solid! No real risks, but no real mistakes! Chayce is sailing through so far because there is, and will always be, a strong component of Idol voters who want to vote for a grit-infused vocal served over the tones of an acoustic guitar. It's an Idol story as old as time! I think Chayce will likely make the Top 5 based on his stability alone, but... there's a potential sign of trouble ahead of him... which we will discuss later on in the article.

 

6. Madison Watkins - "Run To You" ELIMINATED

 

Please see my comments above.

 

5. Deshawn Goncalves - "The Way We Were"

 

Deshawn is continuously surprised that he keeps advancing in this competition and it is endearing as @#$%. He's a really talented vocalist! So much musicality! He is also deceptively good at playing this game. Week after week he trots out some trick or vocal shiny object to get enough of the Idol voters to rally around him and take him to the next round, and... it's been working! Oh, what's that? I'm the underdog? Boom - acapella opening! Still the underdog? Boom - watch me sing acapella BUT NOW WITH A PIANO! Still not a frontrunner? Boom. Streisand classic topped off with ONE SINGLE TEAR DOWN MY CHEEK. He's a player of the game and I respect it.

 

4. Cassandra Coleman - "Writing's On The Wall"

 

First of all - just an epic Bond tune. Second of all - probably my favorite Cassandra performance in weeks. It was confident, it was more precise than usual, and there was legitimate emotion shining through. She was really fighting for it this week and you could tell. There was a point in the middle of her song where she lost herself and went up a whole new level. It was pretty great to watch as I've always been a fan of the tone of her voice. Ava's elimination could pay dividends for Cassandra. We shall see.

 

3. Hunter Metts - "Falling Slowly"

 

Hunter made an oopsie and I was like, "Huh. Wonder if anyone will notice that." Then, he completely fell apart on stage and broke literally every heart in America, and I was like, "Oh. So he's definitely getting the most votes tonight, huh?" It was a television moment you would pray for as an Idol contestant. "You're telling me I can deliver a pitch perfect performance for 99% of my time up there and make a barely noticeable lyric flub in the last three seconds, start sobbing, and immediately get sympathy from millions? Yeah... uh... I'd like to do that, please." Hunter has been on an upward swing lately and this moment will only help him moving forward. Great work, Hunter.

 

2. Casey Bishop - "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

 

We always say, "Oh that person's voice really soars!" But, y'all, Casey Bishop's voice soars higher than any voice in recent memory. The clarity of her upper register and the control of her vibrato is otherworldly. Do I think, for a minute, this fifteen year old has the depth of maturity to deliver standards like this in the way they are meant to? No. Not really. But do I think she can fool the majority of America by singing the song like she wrote it? Yes. Yes I do. Casey's voice is a very powerful weapon. I have yet to see it reach its limit. It's not the same style as Grace Kinstler's, but Casey's range is just as impressive. 

 

1. Willie Spence - "Stand Up"

 

Willie continues to be a triple threat in this competition: he picks the right music, he sings very well, and he is very easy to root for. So, do I still think this is your likely winner? Yes, I do. Saying that... Disney Idol has been... let's say... unpredictable? So, something could always surprise us or change our mind, but it's hard not to look at the amount of chatter about Willie and not assume that he the likely heir to Samantha Diaz. 

 

The Comeback Performances

 

I could have gone with or without this twist. It's fine, I suppose. Like, I'm not angry, but I also just don't care very much. The only contestants we saw that have a shot at getting into the competition are Makayla Phillips, Louis Knight, and Arthur Gunn. So, let's briefly talk about what effect they may have in the competition if they are announced as the contestant rounding out the Top 10.

 

Makayla Phillips - Very little effect. She was eliminated in the Top 11 last season and I just don't know if she has enough strength to contend with the current set of finalists we've been watching for the past few months. I think, like Madison Watkins, she would likely enter the top 10... and then immediately leave the Top 10. 

 

Louis Knight - Some effect. Louis made it a week further than Makayla and is still a fan favorite these days. He writes original tunes and has a lane that would directly compete against Hunter Metts. So, could Louis deliver a great performance in the Top 10 and survive? Yes, I think he could. Could he win the competition? No, I think that would be rather improbable.

 

Arthur Gunn - Great effect. Look, if anyone has a shot at coming back and doing well this season, you would think it would be last season's runner-up. He proved he could get votes. He's got a lot of fans out there, and while he may not have enough to win against Willie, Casey, and a few others, he could definitely make life difficult for one frontrunner: Chayce Beckham. Chayce has really had his own lane lately, and Arthur Gunn could mean trouble for him if he made it into the Top 10. Arthur is that same gritty, Americana vibe... except, he's familiar to us and he almost won last year. 

 

So, let's see what unfolds!

 

Until next time!

 

NGH

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6 hours ago, thenghreport said:

The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 12: "Perfection is an illusion."

 

Big week of Idol!

 

We had our first night of the Finals followed by a never-before-done comeback performance twist. I'll speak a bit more on the twist at the end of the article, but for now let's focus on this Top 12.

 

Clearly, we have a lot of strong singers this season. Like... a disgusting amount of strong singers. So, the articles this season will be, more likely than not, focusing on performance and strategic choices, since these contestants are singing at such a high level. Obviously, you can be a great singer but play this game terribly, and I think we saw a few folks eliminated already for that very reason. 

 

Let's first discuss our eliminated finalists:

 

Beane Hepler - Oh, Beane! Why did you get up from that stool? When I first heard that he was going to be singing the song from Dirty Dancing I was like... huh... dumb. Then he sat on stage, with a guitar, and started to flip it to something new and interesting and I was like... huh... smart. Then, he stopped doing that and started to get up and karaoke up the place and I was like... huh... dumb. This was my thought process that night because I was absolutely exhausted. Don't judge me. The point stands though! If you were just saved by the judges you have to go big and bold and make an impression! This wasn't it, so it was no surprise to see him eliminated.

 

Madison Watkins - I actually thought, as per my rankings below, that Madison did the best out of the eliminated contestants. I don't think she really made a strategic mistake. She graced us with a mature, dependable, Idol performance. Nothing wrong with it. So, why was she eliminated? She just didn't have people! She's been an underdog throughout the competition, was luckily saved last week, and returned only to be eliminated. I think we all saw it coming. She should be proud to leave on two strong performances.

 

Ava August - This one pissed me off. No, not because I believe it wasn't warranted; it was. Ava made a class Idol error... she fell for her own press. She had a standout week in the semi-finals where she delivered a one-two punch of "Driver's License" and the Groban duet and then she proceeded to try to build on that press by delivering two very ethereal and divisive performances. Did she sound lovely? Yes. Was she inviting? No. I think a lot of the general audiences just weren't grabbed by the indie pop princess vibe. Ava's fantastic and will be fine, but it was frustrating to watch her fall prey to a pretty obvious trap. 

 

On to the rankings!

 

12. Alyssa Wray - "This Is Me"

 

I'm pretty much done with this song. The Greatest Showman isn't a great musical and this song is incredibly emotionally manipulative. Look, I suppose it was a good choice for Alyssa! She's a dramatic singer performing an overwrought melodramatic tune! I just feel like Alyssa now stands out to me as the most confused contestant remaining. She's just... a lot. The only thing I want to see from Alyssa for the next few weeks is to prove that she can actually do something subtle. She's got a top-notch voice, made for musical theatre, but there has to be something else there otherwise I grow bored very quickly. It's all a bit too paint by numbers. 

 

11. Grace Kinstler - "Happy"

 

Why the hell are we singing "Happy" as a competition song? Grace is, let's put this nicely, not great at song selection. She is very lucky she has one of the strongest voices in this thing because she is not great strategically. It's why I'm way more confident than most that Grace could be a shock elimination in the next week or so. I mean... "Happy?!" This is a contestant whose voice can move mountains and we are picking this type of material? Dumbfounding. 

 

10. Beane Hepler - "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" ELIMINATED

 

Please see my comments above.

 

9. Ava August - "City of Stars" ELIMINATED

 

Please see my comments above.

 

8. Caleb Kennedy - "On The Road Again"

 

We've now reached the "just fine" stage of this weeks rankings. These are the folks who did themselves no harm and maybe even attracted a handful of new fans. Caleb's performance was simple, lacking any real difficulty, but it was solid. This is who he is. He's an authentic country presence and this was a very popular song. He stood there and sang a very respectable karaoke version. No changes, no risks, just enough to move on in the competition. 

 

7. Chayce Beckham - "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You"

 

Very similar to Caleb's comments above. Just fine! Solid! No real risks, but no real mistakes! Chayce is sailing through so far because there is, and will always be, a strong component of Idol voters who want to vote for a grit-infused vocal served over the tones of an acoustic guitar. It's an Idol story as old as time! I think Chayce will likely make the Top 5 based on his stability alone, but... there's a potential sign of trouble ahead of him... which we will discuss later on in the article.

 

6. Madison Watkins - "Run To You" ELIMINATED

 

Please see my comments above.

 

5. Deshawn Goncalves - "The Way We Were"

 

Deshawn is continuously surprised that he keeps advancing in this competition and it is endearing as @#$%. He's a really talented vocalist! So much musicality! He is also deceptively good at playing this game. Week after week he trots out some trick or vocal shiny object to get enough of the Idol voters to rally around him and take him to the next round, and... it's been working! Oh, what's that? I'm the underdog? Boom - acapella opening! Still the underdog? Boom - watch me sing acapella BUT NOW WITH A PIANO! Still not a frontrunner? Boom. Streisand classic topped off with ONE SINGLE TEAR DOWN MY CHEEK. He's a player of the game and I respect it.

 

4. Cassandra Coleman - "Writing's On The Wall"

 

First of all - just an epic Bond tune. Second of all - probably my favorite Cassandra performance in weeks. It was confident, it was more precise than usual, and there was legitimate emotion shining through. She was really fighting for it this week and you could tell. There was a point in the middle of her song where she lost herself and went up a whole new level. It was pretty great to watch as I've always been a fan of the tone of her voice. Ava's elimination could pay dividends for Cassandra. We shall see.

 

3. Hunter Metts - "Falling Slowly"

 

Hunter made an oopsie and I was like, "Huh. Wonder if anyone will notice that." Then, he completely fell apart on stage and broke literally every heart in America, and I was like, "Oh. So he's definitely getting the most votes tonight, huh?" It was a television moment you would pray for as an Idol contestant. "You're telling me I can deliver a pitch perfect performance for 99% of my time up there and make a barely noticeable lyric flub in the last three seconds, start sobbing, and immediately get sympathy from millions? Yeah... uh... I'd like to do that, please." Hunter has been on an upward swing lately and this moment will only help him moving forward. Great work, Hunter.

 

2. Casey Bishop - "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

 

We always say, "Oh that person's voice really soars!" But, y'all, Casey Bishop's voice soars higher than any voice in recent memory. The clarity of her upper register and the control of her vibrato is otherworldly. Do I think, for a minute, this fifteen year old has the depth of maturity to deliver standards like this in the way they are meant to? No. Not really. But do I think she can fool the majority of America by singing the song like she wrote it? Yes. Yes I do. Casey's voice is a very powerful weapon. I have yet to see it reach its limit. It's not the same style as Grace Kinstler's, but Casey's range is just as impressive. 

 

1. Willie Spence - "Stand Up"

 

Willie continues to be a triple threat in this competition: he picks the right music, he sings very well, and he is very easy to root for. So, do I still think this is your likely winner? Yes, I do. Saying that... Disney Idol has been... let's say... unpredictable? So, something could always surprise us or change our mind, but it's hard not to look at the amount of chatter about Willie and not assume that he the likely heir to Samantha Diaz. 

 

The Comeback Performances

 

I could have gone with or without this twist. It's fine, I suppose. Like, I'm not angry, but I also just don't care very much. The only contestants we saw that have a shot at getting into the competition are Makayla Phillips, Louis Knight, and Arthur Gunn. So, let's briefly talk about what effect they may have in the competition if they are announced as the contestant rounding out the Top 10.

 

Makayla Phillips - Very little effect. She was eliminated in the Top 11 last season and I just don't know if she has enough strength to contend with the current set of finalists we've been watching for the past few months. I think, like Madison Watkins, she would likely enter the top 10... and then immediately leave the Top 10. 

 

Louis Knight - Some effect. Louis made it a week further than Makayla and is still a fan favorite these days. He writes original tunes and has a lane that would directly compete against Hunter Metts. So, could Louis deliver a great performance in the Top 10 and survive? Yes, I think he could. Could he win the competition? No, I think that would be rather improbable.

 

Arthur Gunn - Great effect. Look, if anyone has a shot at coming back and doing well this season, you would think it would be last season's runner-up. He proved he could get votes. He's got a lot of fans out there, and while he may not have enough to win against Willie, Casey, and a few others, he could definitely make life difficult for one frontrunner: Chayce Beckham. Chayce has really had his own lane lately, and Arthur Gunn could mean trouble for him if he made it into the Top 10. Arthur is that same gritty, Americana vibe... except, he's familiar to us and he almost won last year. 

 

So, let's see what unfolds!

 

Until next time!

 

NGH

Casey is 16

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On 4/22/2021 at 5:35 PM, thenghreport said:

there is, and will always be, a strong component of Idol voters who want to vote for a grit-infused vocal served over the tones of an acoustic guitar.

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