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The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 7: "Mama Said"


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The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 7: "Mama Said"


Almost forgot to write this one! Yikes. I've been doing this article for over 15 years without missing an episode so that would have been a hell of a thing.


Anyway, this week was pretty crazy. Two eliminations AND a dismissal leaves us heading into the Top 4 tonight!


Now, let's first discuss our eliminated finalists:


Hunter Metts - I think plenty of us saw this one coming. Hunter needed to have a great night in order to break through the noise, and while he delivered some solid performances, he didn't get that "wow" moment that he desperately needed. He had a great run and likely has good odds at being picked up by an indie label. We shall see! Honestly, I'm not terribly interested in talking about Hunter this week as it just felt so inconsequential to where the end of this season is headed.


Arthur Gunn - Ah! Now that's more like it! What did I tell y'all? What did I literally tell y'all last week? It didn't matter. Arthur wasn't going to be a spoiler this season. He would top out at Top 7 or Top 5. Can we all just take a deep collective breath now and realize how silly we were to react to this dude coming back for a couple of weeks to expand his fanbase? He delivered two very "Arthury" numbers which his fans loved and then he exited the arena. I will say though... after hearing the Idol singles they recorded and will be performing in the Top 4... it felt like Arthur had one of the best ones. Probably the most contemporary and marketable I have heard him.


Caleb Kennedy - Well, Caleb Kennedy WOULD have been in the Top 5 (and deservingly so with the entry of his stirring original, "Mama Said") but, alas, a photo came out with him sitting next to a guy in a Ku Klux Klan mask. You know... just one of those totally normal things we can all relate to. "Mama Said" that he was just a big fan of The StrangersI sequel, which is a guaranteed lie because no one is a fan of The Strangers sequel. But, even if he was? What's the defense? They wore masks in the movie so Caleb also wanted to play around with masks and the only mask they had lying around was someones Klan robes?! How is that better?! Look, I get that Caleb was 12... but what is happening in your life where you just have a friend with a KKK mask on hand? Why did they have that? Whose father or uncle owned it? What's going on?! It's just a very bad, very dark, very sinister picture, and yes, it may have been an innocent moment, but it's 2021... and we just aren't shrugging off emblems of racial murder and hate crimes. Caleb will be FINE. He's a very talented songwriter who has amassed plenty of fans, and most of his conservative ones are going to rally to his defense thinking he has been "cancelled." So, he will have a record deal within a month or so. 


On to the rankings!


7. Chayce Beckham - "Magic"/ "Mama"


I thought this was Chayce at his dullest. Very simple arrangements. Very paint by numbers. He was really just allowing his style to do the work for him and I don't think it did him any favors. He still made the Top 5, but did he gain new friends with those numbers? Eh. Maybe? I thought "Mama" was sweet, but it wasn't a well-written song. So, in my opinion, it just kind of showed me some of his weaknesses. Still, he's got his people!


6. Casey Bishop - "Paradise"/ "Ironic"


This was a step back for Casey. The past few weeks she has really been picking the right tunes and creating mini-moments for herself. These two numbers were fun and light, but didn't have enough gravitas to actually make them memorable. I'm also incredibly confused why "Ironic" was her Mother's Day number, but sure. Still, Casey soared on through! She remains the dark horse in this competition and if she can fix her mistake next week by picking some really relevant and deep tunes, she could find herself in the Finale.


5. Caleb Kennedy - "Violet Hill"/ "Mama Said"


Please see my comments above.


4. Arthur Gunn - "In My Place"/ "Simple Man" ELIMINATED


Please see my comments above.


3. Hunter Metts - "Everglow"/ "The River" ELIMINATED


Please see my comments above.


2. Willie Spence - "Yellow"/ "You Are So Beautiful"


Willie is trucking along. Still! He just gets how to play this game. These two songs may not have been the most creative set list you've ever seen on Idol, but they are big, popular numbers that we will remember. Willie is consistent and that consistency is his greatest weapon. Every week he manages to deliver at least one performance that gets people talking and sharing his social media links. It's working. He's a bright guy. Still very much in this thing as a frontrunner.


1. Grace Kinstler - "Fix You"/ "When We Were Young"


Grace REALLY needed this week. She was my pick for a shock elimination in Top 7, but, luckily for her, she managed to break through the fog and realize she was in a competition. She couldn't just pick songs that spoke to her, she had to pick songs that she could use to connect with the viewers at home. She just blew the others away tonight. It wasn't even close. She won both rounds by connecting with the lyrics, telling a story, and singing her face off. If she does this next week, she may be able to upset Willie for the crown. She's got the momentum again. 



Until next time!



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NGH, if I may make a request... If you're copying and pasting your write-ups into IDF, can you hit the "Post as plain text" thing that'll pop-up? The text is impossible to see on IDF's dark mode currently.

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