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Why Tristen Lost


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After the Top 14 was cut to the Top 11, the Top 11 performed and Tristen wound up in the Bottom 2 along with Lady K.  The judges chose to save Lady K., thus eliminating Tristen.  While the Judges' Save is the immediate cause of Tristen's loss, I believe the seeds of his eventual elimination were planted much earlier.  To explain what I mean, we'll look at the rules that American Idol Season 20 contestants ideally should follow in order to see what Tristen did right, what he did wrong (which was a lot), and why Tristen lost.

 

Show Singing and Performing Talent

 

Tristen had enough singing and performing talent to make the Top 24, and showed a lot of performing talent once he got there.  In fact, the Too Fab staff actually preferred it to Lady K.'s performance, praising the amount of energy that he brought to the stage.  However, he had problems showing his singing talent, and not just on this song.  In the Top 24 round, Crisis said that "With a Little Help From My Friends" was too big for his voice, and also criticized his singing in the Top 20 round and the Top 14 round.  In what was Tristen's final performance, Crisis said that his performance was a complete mess.  IDF put Tristen in next-to-last following his Top 14 performance (only the unlamented Dan Marshall got a lower score), and Tristen got the lowest overall rating in the Top 11, with me giving him a 6.5 and outright saying that it was past his time to go.  So while Tristen certainly was able to show his performing talent, he still failed this rule overall since he couldn't show enough singing talent.

 

Song Choice Is Key

 

This was another rule that Tristen failed to follow at times, most notably when he sang an Adam Lambert song in the Top 14 round.  While I have openly mentioned my dislike of Adam Lambert''s tone of voice, even I have admitted that he's a fine singer and if someone wants to take one of his songs on, they need to have the voice for it.  Better yet, they shouldn't even try one of his songs.  His song was too big for Tristen, and the performance suffered accordingly, even if he somehow survived that round.  Thus Tristen also had problems with this rule.

 

Be Consistently Outstanding or Better Yet, Consistently Improve

 

Tristen was consistent.  Unfortunately, he was consistently entertaining, which isn't really what this rule had in mind. Tristen wasn't consistently great, nor did he consistently improve.  Thus he ultimately stumbled on this rule as well.

 

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

 

Tristen was able to stand out by being an entertainer and by being the only real rock singer in the Top 24.  This probably helped him get farther than he should have, especially when compared to Allegra Miles.  Thus, this was the first rule that Tristen succeeded in.

 

Remember, You Are a Package

 

Tristen was able to package himself by being an entertainer and thus followed the fifth rule.  Unfortunately, his package often came at the expense of his vocals, but at least it allowed him to get farther than some others in the game.  Thus Tristen also succeeded in this rule.

 

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

 

Tristen also followed this rule, and he actually followed it before the voting rounds.  In his audition, the judges criticized him by saying that he was overly manic.  He actually took their advice and toned it down in later rounds.  This probably got him a lot farther than he otherwise would have.

 

Gather a Fan Base -- And Sustain It

 

This is the final rule that Tristen had problems with.  He wasn't really able to gather a fan base that was able to help him get into the Top 14 by public vote, and thus he had to be added as a Wildcard.  He was able to skate by in the Top 14 round, but when he wound up in the Bottom 2 along with Lady K. in the Top 11 round, his time was up as Lady K. had gotten into the Top 14 by public vote.  The only chance he might have had to survive was if he was up against fellow Wildcards Jay or Mike, but he wasn't.  Anyway, this was the final rule that Tristen struck out on.

 

Tristen should have been eliminated in the Top 14 round, or maybe even in the Top 20 round, but he survived largely because he was entertaining and because he was a rock singer.  But he was never going to win, because he was one of the weakest vocalists and because he made some very iffy song choices.  He was able to get into the Top 14 by being saved by the judges once, but he didn't have enough fans in the Top 11 round to avoid being in the Bottom 2 and once he was there with Lady K., he was doomed.  And that is why Tristen lost.

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