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The Buzz with CCX - Season 19 Episode 18


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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.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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