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Why Eli Lost


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Last Monday, Elli Rowe was one of ten contestants that had to sing to get a precious Judges' Wildcard slot.  However, like Cadence Baker and Cameron Whitcomb, she failed and was eliminated.  What could she have done differently in order to get into the Top 14?  My list of what rules Season 20 contestants should ideally follow in order to get far into the competition can help explain what Elli did right, what she did wrong and why Elli lost.

 

Show Singing and Performing Talent

 

Elli had enough singing and performing talent in order to make the Top 24 and even the Top 20.  But how did she do in the Top 20 round?  Not great.  The Too Fab staff said that she sang like a shy girl who was convinced to go up and perform at a party to show everyone how great she was.  Denton Davidson from GoldDerby liked her more but didn't think that she should have let the band come in so strongly during the second half since it drowned out her delicate voice.  On IDF, Crisis also thought that the band drowned her out and that she was better the week before.  I gave her an 8 but I thought that she could be forgotten by the end.

 

But Elli had a second chance with her performance of "All I Want".  And how did that go?  It didn't go well either.  The Too Fab staff ranked her in eighth out of those who were in the Bottom 10, thinking that she wasn't fully mature as an artist.  Denton Davidson liked her performance more, but was worried because she got a backhanded compliment from Lionel Ritchie.  And Crisis thought that she was vocally great but the performance part was lacking.  Thus Elli stumbled on this rule, mainly with the performance aspects of it.

 

Song Choice Is Key

 

One of the reasons why Elli might have stumbled with the first rule was because she had problems with the second rule, which states that song choice is a key to winning.  Crisis noted that "All I Want" required a certain kind of sadness, and Elli just wasn't able to convey it, while the Too Fab staff noted that when a song demanded a few moments of emphasis, she didn't always have it in her.  Elli should have picked a better song for her Wildcard slot performance, and possibly even chosen a better song for her Top 20 performance.  Thus Elli failed with this rule.

 

Be Consistently Outstanding or Better Yet, Consistently Improve Every Week

 

An American Idol contestant should either be consistently outstanding or consistently improve every week.  This is especially true if you're not focused on much, as Elli was. Unfortunately, she didn't do so well with this rule either.  She did well enough to advance into the Top 20 but too many people put her near the bottom of the Top 20 round, and her Wildcard Slot song wasn't good enough.  Thus she messed up this rule as well.

 

Stand Out By Being Unique or By Being Memorable For Positive Reasons

 

This was probably the main reason for Elli's loss.  She wasn't memorable enough, especially when compared to Allegra Miles, who also sang in a lane similar to Elli and also had to compete for a Wildcard Slot.  I compared Elli's Wildcard Slot performance to Allegra's, and found Allegra to be better, and I clearly wasn't the only one.  Elli was a pretty blonde girl with an ethereal voice, but she wasn't memorable enough to be really featured in the early rounds.  And she wasn't memorable enough for people to vote for her in the Top 20 round or for the judges to keep her.  Thus, she struck out with this rule as well.

 

Remember, You Are a Package

 

This was another rule that Elli failed to do well with.  As I noted earlier, Elli was a pretty blonde girl with an ethereal voice, but that was pretty much it.  She wasn't featured much because she had a vanilla package, and that wasn't going to cut it on this show.  Thus Elli screwed up this rule as well.

 

Never, Ever Argue With the Judges or Respond to Baiting From Ryan

 

Well, at least Elli succeeded with this rule, since she never seemed to argue with them.  Nor did she ignore the advice from mentors (Jimmie Allen in her case), unlike Cameron, whose decision to ignore Bebe Rexha's advice in the Top 24 round probably came back to haunt him when he needed to get a Wildcard slot.  Unfortunately for Elli, that wasn't enough to overcome her other failures, so I'll just move on.

 

Gather a Fan Base -- And Sustain It

 

This was the final rule that Elli failed to follow.  Not all of it was her fault, since she was only montaged during the rounds before the Top 24 performed, which also happened to Allegra.  But she could have overcome it by being more memorable to be focused on, or by being a country singer.  And once she came into the Top 24, she could have done a better job of gathering a fan base.  Unfortunately, her performances weren't good enough to overcome her massive disadvantage and she didn't get into the Top 10 via public voting.  Thus Elli fouled out on this rule as well.

 

Elli had a major disadvantage going into the Top 24.  She wasn't memorable enough to be focused on heavily and thus was behind the 8-ball.  But she could have done better in order to survive.  She could have been a better performer.  And she could have made better song choices.  But she did neither.  And the final straw was the fact that she was in a lane similar to that of another contestant who also had to sing for a Wildcard Slot -- and was more memorable as well as better.  Three strikes, and Elli was out.  That is why Elli lost.

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I think if she would’ve sang something like “A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell, she may have been able to draw people in. She chose unmemorable songs which made her even more forgettable to the voters, which was not good because she had only been shown once prior to the voting rounds. 

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7 minutes ago, Carrie_On said:

I think if she would’ve sang something like “A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell, she may have been able to draw people in. She chose unmemorable songs which made her even more forgettable to the voters, which was not good because she had only been shown once prior to the voting rounds. 

 

I do think that song choice played an important role in Elli's failure.  Allegra was a little better than her in that regard -- while she didn't make the Top 10 in public voting, her rendition of "Free Fallin'" was more memorable, and by choosing to sing one of her original songs for the Wildcard slot, she was able to convince the judges to keep her in.  Elli didn't do so, and was cut accordingly.

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I think on paper Elli was a contender to win, but in the actual execution of it all, she was not. The producers likely saw her as too boring/not memorable enough which is why they gave her a lackluster edit.

 

She reminds me of Cassandra from last season in the aspect that her potential exceded what we actually saw from her.

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1 hour ago, m1key said:

I think on paper Elli was a contender to win, but in the actual execution of it all, she was not. The producers likely saw her as too boring/not memorable enough which is why they gave her a lackluster edit.

 

She reminds me of Cassandra from last season in the aspect that her potential exceded what we actually saw from her.

 

Yeah, she had more potential than actual ability at this point.

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