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The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 4: "Your voice is going to save someone's life."


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The NGH Report - American Idol 19's Top 4: "Your voice is going to save someone's life."


When we get to the Top 4, it's less about who was the "best singer" of the week than it is about who delivered the "best set."


This was a bit of an odd evening since Idol had to scramble after the shock disqualification of Caleb Kennedy. They added duets, guest artists, etc. It felt a bit chaotic and pieced together, but that didn't prevent the final four contestants from each having a very strong night. When I look at my rankings for this week, it feels a bit odd. Obviously, as you can see, I ranked Chayce last... but it doesn't feel right to me. On average, I think Chayce had a slightly worse night than the others, but I still feel like he had the best "Winner's Single" and had a very nice duet moment.  So, while it all adds up to me on paper, it doesn't quite feel right in practice.


Either way, let's dig in.


Let's first discuss our eliminated finalist:


Casey Bishop - Big fan of Casey. She's got a hell of a voice and a big future ahead of her. So, what happened? I will admit I was pulling for her to make the Finale. I think she earned it, but when you have a Top 4 this well-regarded, anything can happen. I actually think Casey did herself a bit of a disservice tonight by bringing back "Livewire." I think the Idol audience is more impressed with Casey's instrument on more classical material than they are on watching her head bang on stage. It kind of reminds me of Constantine Maroulis' run back in Season 4. He was one of the "rockers" of the season, but after a while... he merged into a completely new lane. He started singing less rock and more emotionally resonant music. It felt like he was really finding his niche, and then... one week he decided to go back and sing another gritty rock tune, and BAM! Gone! So, I think either Casey's new fanbase was less impressed with the rock than her initial group of supporters, or the "wish u were gay" number didn't particularly land with those in middle America. Or, it's just a tough year and there will be moments like this (ha) along the way.


On to the rankings!


4. Chayce Beckham - "Colder Weather"/ "23"/ "You Should Probably Leave"


This was a better week for Chayce than last. I thought "Colder Weather" was a bit dull, but he had a very solid rest of the show, with the highlight being his self-penned Idol single, "23." It's the best tune of the bunch and people ate it up on iTunes. So, will Chayce be the last man standing next week? If you look at Idol statistics, you'd feel pretty comfortable saying "yes." He's the "Idol type." But, if you're using the iTunes chart success as the reason why you think Beckham is going to take the crown... I'd caution you that iTunes purchases aren't necessarily a great piece of data. What does iTunes really tell you? It tells you that of the people who buy music on iTunes AND watch American Idol, Chayce came out on top. But, who are these people? Do they vote? In what numbers? Are they a microcosm of the actual voting population of Idol? We just don't know. Willie Spence had the worst performing single on iTunes, but Willie's style isn't traditionally known to top the charts, so the folks who may want to vote for someone like Willie perhaps aren't the people who purchase their music on iTunes. I'm not saying Chayce can't win... I'm saying if you are looking at iTunes as the evidence that Chayce is unbeatable... I don't necessarily think that's true. But, could he win? Oh, hell yeah, in a walk.


3. Casey Bishop - "wish u were gay"/ "Love Me Leave Me"/ "Livewire" ELIMINATED


Please see my comments above.


2. Grace Kinstler - "A Moment Like This"/ "Love Someone"/ "Father"


It was a bad choice to sing "A Moment Like This." It always is. The only person who can make that song work is Kelly Clarkson. Note: I didn't say the only person who can sing that song is Kelly Clarkson, I said she is the only who can make it work. It's a bit of a dull song and it only works as a piece of musical theatre. It only worked for Kelly because it perfectly captured the moment. It was our very first Idol coronation moment and it was a perfect fit. 20 years later? It can't be reproduced. So, odd choice for Grace there. I think her single was fine. It's not great, it's not terrible. We got about 30 seconds of it. But "Father?" Man, that @#$% was transcendental. She killed that. It was touching and honest and focused and one of the best things Grace has done all season. So, can she win next week? Honestly, out of the Top 3... she's the one I'm least confident about... One thing she has going for her is that she is the only female contestant remaining and, typically, that can help with votes. Some folks out there really prefer a woman's voice to a man's. So, they really only have one option. We shall see!


1. Willie Spence - "Glory"/ "Never Be Alone"/ "I Was Here"


I thought Willie had a hell of a week. "Never Be Alone," his new single, was adequate, but his other two numbers were fire. It was Willie at his finest. I'm not sure what else can be said about Willie Spence. It just feels like he has been the story of the season. But, if you are an Idol fanatic, you know that the "story of the season" contestants don't always win. Adam Lambert didn't win! Sometimes a contestant can sneak up and take it at the very end. It's what makes this show rather exciting at times. After everything I've seen this season, though, I do feel like he has done enough to deserve this win. But will he? Let's see how it all shakes out in a few days!



Until next time!



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